Scottsdale, like most areas across the United States, is plagued by an addiction epidemic, with some addicts turning to cocaine. Cocaine is a dangerous stimulant that saw its heyday of use in the 1980s. Though the popularity of this drug has decreased over the past few decades, cocaine remains one of the most dangerous and potently addictive drugs in the world. If you are addicted to cocaine, it's not your fault. Addiction is a powerful disease that requires treatment.
Cocaine Addiction: The Basics
Cocaine comes in two forms, both with powerful stimulant effects. Powder cocaine is the more expensive and potent version. Because of the high cost of the drug and its intensely stimulating effects, powder cocaine is more popular among the middle and upper classes. In the 1980s, cocaine was commonly used by white-collar professionals to propel and increase productivity and energy. Though its popularity has waned somewhat, this stimulant still remains a popular “performance-enhancing drug,” in spite of research suggesting that cocaine actually causes performance to deteriorate.
Another form of cocaine, crack-cocaine, is a free-base form of cocaine that can be smoked. Crack wreaked havoc on the inner cities in the 1980s and 1990s, tearing families apart and destroying countless lives. Because of the drug's low costs compared to cocaine, users can quickly gain access to more of the drug, thereby increasing their odds of developing a serious and life-threatening cocaine addiction.
Both forms of cocaine remain popular among teens and young adults. Between four and seven percent of adolescents admit to using cocaine at least once, and at any given time, between three and five percent of the young adult population struggles with cocaine addiction.
How Cocaine Affects the Body
Cocaine is a central nervous stimulant, which means it speeds up activity in your brain and spinal cord. The effect is faster reactions, more energy, hyperactivity, and even mania. At first, cocaine can make you feel invincible, highly productive, and euphoric. As you develop a tolerance, though, the stimulating effects wane. Over time, cocaine use depletes your energy and motivation, making you dependent on cocaine to keep going.
Using cocaine for an extended period of time almost inevitably leads to addiction. You also face a number of serious health risks, though the specific ways in which cocaine affects you are partially dependent on your use, age, overall health, and other factors. Common long-term effects of cocaine addiction include:
- Brain damage and mental illness
- Paradoxical effects whereby, instead, of giving you energy, cocaine makes you sluggish and
- Sudden death
- Organ failure
- Cardiovascular health problems
- Relationship problems
- Incarceration, lawsuits, and other legal problems
- Financial difficulties
- Unexplained aches and pains
Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction isn't a fluke, a moral failing, or a choice. When you use cocaine for extended periods, it changes the behavior of your brain and body. This leads to tolerance and, eventually, dependence. Dependence causes your body to panic when you attempt to quit using, giving rise to intensely painful physical and psychological symptoms. This withdrawal is a hallmark of addiction, but other common symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
- Consistently needing more cocaine to get the same results you once got with a lower dose.
- Legal, health, financial, or relationship problems due to cocaine use.
- Lying to yourself or to others about your drug use.
- Structuring your day around getting high.
- Needing cocaine to feel “normal.”
- Being unable to concentrate without cocaine.
- Depression, anxiety, and mood swings when you can't use cocaine.
- Doing things you regret while under the influence of cocaine.
- Hearing from loved ones that you should seek help for your cocaine use.
- Feeling hopeless or out of control.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Rehab is the gold standard in cocaine addiction treatment because it offers comprehensive, round-the-clock care in a safe and sober living environment. If you're unsure about your ability to get clean, then, rehab is your best option. You'll have access to the following services in rehab, but can also opt to pursue these services on your own if you're not yet ready to try addiction treatment:
- Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. These popular 12-step programs are highly effective at getting participants sober. By working the steps, you'll steadily regain control over your life, get the peer support you need, and eventually be confident in your ability to remain sober.
- Therapy with a trained addiction counselor. Through therapy, you'll explore the origins of your addiction, assess why you continue using, and develop strategies for resisting the temptation to continue using. If you have an underlying mental health condition, your therapist will also help you develop strategies for coping with it.
- Medical care under the supervision of a physician who specializes in addiction medicine. Your doctor will ensure you are safe during the detox process, and may even prescribe medications to reduce the symptoms and severity of detox. If you have an underlying mental or physical health problem, your doctor can prescribe medications to treat these conditions as well.