Many factors contribute to cocaine addiction including the drug itself which is one of the most highly addictive substances. The brain is affected by increased amounts of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Once the body and brain become addicted to cocaine, it is very difficult to stop and nearly impossible without outside help.
The brain and body go through the addiction process together. Both are affected differently with changes focused on areas responsible for judgment, decision making, memory, learning and behavioral control. Some signs a person is addicted to cocaine include:
- Weight loss which is drastic due to appetite changes (usually decreased)
- Isolation from family and friends including additional time spent searching for and using cocaine
- Missing work or lack of ability to hold down a job
- Restless, agitated, depressed and nervous
- Personal hygiene suffers
- Serious addiction can cause people to commit illegal activity such as theft, prostitution (sexually promiscuous acts can also have health implications) or even homicide to obtain more cocaine
Behavioral and pharmaceutical treatments are available for cocaine addiction even though there are no FDA approved medications on the market for treatment. The following are available treatments one might consider.
- Medication: there is no medication used to treat cocaine addiction but Disulfiram (used to treat alcoholism) has proven to be the most effective against cocaine addiction.
- Behavioral: Psychotherapy is an effective and successful way to treat an individual for cocaine addiction. Motivational incentives use a prize/reward based system to motivate them to remain in treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals addicted to cocaine stay sober and clean by teaching them to recognize, cope and avoid triggers which led to drug use in the past and make better choices.
- Addiction: Addiction treatment centers or detox centers are places to receive professional help for cocaine addiction. One to 12 month stays are common with staff equipped to assist individuals with any needs which might arise during treatment. Detox clinics provide medical staff and physicians who monitor and supervise withdrawal from cocaine 24 hours a day on an inpatient basis.
- Mental Health Professionals: clinical psychologists and psychiatrists are available to help address deeply rooted trauma from the past, depression or other issues associated with cocaine withdrawal symptoms. The expertise of trained professionals can only increase chances for a long lasting recovery.
- Cocaine Addiction Support Groups: addiction recovery can not be achieved alone. A recovery group can help build a sense of community and allow individuals to gain perspective and focus on sober living.
- Physician: a doctor can educate on the effects of cocaine abuse but also can offer resources for local clinics and mental health professionals who can provide assistance.
Cocaine addiction is treatable but should not be handled alone. Help and peer support is available as well as professional treatment in licensed facilities with trained staff. Making the choice difficult, but recovery and sober living are well worth the challenge it takes to get there.
If you suspect yourself, a friend or family member needs help overcoming an addiction, contact Hired Power at 800-910-9299. Trained counselors and therapists are available to answer questions and provide support.