Even with substances like bath salts and MDMA gaining publicity in recent years for ballooning rates of abuse, it’s tends to be the more familiar drugs that continue to pose the biggest threats. For example, alcohol — a substance that’s legal to purchase and consume so long as you meet the legal age requirement — remains the most widely abused substance with the highest rates of addiction. Similarly, recent years have seen opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers become highly publicized for massive spikes in addiction rates. However, in spite of varying substances being at the center of periodic trends, cocaine is a substance that has remained largely consistent in terms of having high levels of abuse and addiction. In fact, cocaine has recently been identified as the street drug with the second-highest rates of use, behind only cannabis.
Fortunately, individuals who suffer from cocaine abuse benefit from having a wide variety of rehabilitative resources at their disposal. Whether they’re seeking an outpatient program or a cocaine detox treatment program, Just Believe Recovery can help with overcoming cocaine addiction.
Compared to many other addictive substances that have become popular among recreational drug users, cocaine is unique in that there are only very rare instances of the substance being available legally or used for legal purposes, and the majority of these instances are historical. Derived from the coca plant that’s indigenous to South America, the substance has played a prominent role in many native South American cultures who have used cocaine recreationally by chewing on the leaves of the coca plant. Later, the coca plant was discovered by Europeans who, upon discovering that cocaine had the peculiar ability to provide numbness when applied to the skin, were able to extract the cocaine and begin using it as a local anesthetic before surgical procedures.
Today, we know cocaine as a powerful and addictive stimulant drug that has remained quite popular since it first began to see widespread recreational use in the 1960s and 1970s. Upon seeing its potential for abuse, the drug was made illegal, and many efforts were made by law enforcement and public officials to prevent the drug’s important into the United States.
There are two main forms in which cocaine commonly comes: the typical powdered form and a freebase form colloquially called “crack cocaine.” The main difference between the two is the route of administration; powdered cocaine is typically insufflated (i.e. inhaled through the nose) while the freebase form is smoked using a special apparatus.
Compared to many of the substances that are commonly abused today, the effects of cocaine are quite different. While substances like alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines act as depressants, meaning they slow or “depress” bodily functioning, cocaine is a stimulant that accelerates bodily functioning. So while someone who abuses opioids would exhibit drowsiness and lethargy, a person using cocaine would seem to be immensely energetic and talkative.
As for the euphoria or “high” associated with cocaine, it’s largely the result of a surge of neurochemicals that’s triggered when the drug enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the brain. When a person consumes cocaine, the drug enters the brain and triggers a flood of “feel good” neurochemicals, particularly dopamine and serotonin. In turn, the individual experiences a sense of happiness and pleasure as well as a burst of energy that’s akin to drinking a dozen energy drinks at once. Depending on the route of administration, the high can last between a few minutes and half an hour with smoking the drug producing the fastest and most intense effects despite these intense effects being shorter-lived than “snorting” the powdered version.
Just like with other drugs, abuse of cocaine frequently over a prolonged period of time results in certain neurological changes associated with chemical dependence. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of cocaine in the body and the resulting floor of serotonin and dopamine, resulting in the brain producing less serotonin and dopamine on its own. Although studies have suggested habitual cocaine abuse doesn’t result in quite as intense an addiction as with other mind-altering substances, the fact remains that the frequent use of cocaine will cause the brain to change how it produces certain neurochemicals, resulting in a level of physiological dependence associated with addiction.
With many mind-altering substances — i.e. alcohol, heroin, benzodiazepines, etc. — habitual abuse of the drug over an extended period of time causes addiction and warrants an intensive treatment program. Depending on the substance in question, it may even be necessary for the individual to complete an initial detox treatment program. However, cocaine is a bit different from other substances for a number of key reasons.
Though cocaine detoxification treatment exists and is available, it’s not usually a requirement. Granted, cocaine detox treatment is undoubtedly beneficial to anyone who suffers from cocaine dependency, the nature of cocaine addiction doesn’t make this form of treatment necessary. Instead, cocaine detox treatment would simple give a patient better chances of being able to achieve stable, lasting sobriety while completing an inpatient or outpatient program.
Recovery is a journey that’s highly individualized and personalizable. In fact, the reason why there are so many forms of treatment available is so that individuals suffering from addiction can choose the forms of care that best correspond to their recovery needs.
Ultimately, while completing a cocaine detox program would undoubtedly be beneficial, it’s difficult to say whether it would be vital to one’s success in recovery because cocaine addiction is quite different from other forms of addiction. If you’re trying to decide whether cocaine detox treatment is right for you, you might consider asking yourself some key questions, including how long you’ve been in active cocaine addiction and whether there have been previous attempts at sobriety.
To learn more about our cocaine detox treatment or any of the other resources we offer, call Just Believe Recovery today at 888-380-0667.