Whether you or a loved one is battling cocaine addiction, you may be worried about the thought of packing your bags and heading to rehab.
If so, there’s some good news. While there is a lack of research into the treatment of all forms of stimulant use disorder like cocaine addiction and no FDA-approved medications to ease withdrawal, you don’t need to continue suffering alone.
Although there are no medications for the treatment of cocaine use disorder, there are several science-backed therapies that can be delivered in either inpatient or outpatient treatment centers, depending on the severity of your cocaine addiction. Due to the psychologically addictive nature of stimulants like cocaine, treatment will focus primarily on behavioral interventions.
Is Cocaine Addictive?
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive narcotic derived from the leaves of the coca plant.
According to estimates from NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse), 15% of adults in the United States have tried cocaine at least once. Fortunately, cocaine abuse is declining. Each year, SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) publishes data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). NSDUH 2019 showed there were almost 2 million active cocaine users in the US, down to 1.8 million active cocaine users in NSDUH 2020.
Regardless of the form cocaine comes in or the route of delivery, addiction can quickly develop. This can be a physical addiction, a psychological addiction, or both. Habitual cocaine use will cause you to crave the euphoric effects of the drug and to feel compelled to use more cocaine.
As tolerance to cocaine builds, you will need more of the drug to deliver the same effects. Sustained cocaine abuse will cause changes to the function and structure of your brain, making it more challenging to resist cravings for cocaine.
For most people abusing cocaine, psychological dependence on the drug becomes more problematic than any symptoms of physical withdrawal.
How, then, can you determine if you or a loved one is abusing cocaine to the point of addiction?
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction signs can be categorized as follows:
- Physical Symptoms
- Psychological Symptoms
- Behavioral Symptoms
- Raised body temperature
- High energy levels
- Excessive sweating
- Runny nose
- Persistent nosebleeds
- Dilated pupils
- Pronounced weight loss
- Diminished appetite
- Breathing problems
- Blacking out
- Cognitive impairment
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Tolerance to cocaine
- Heart attack
- Fleeting euphoria
- Mood swings
- Excessive confidence
- Impaired decision-making
- Talking excessively
- Excessive porn viewing
- Stealing money
- Trying to borrow money
- Dishonesty regarding activities
- Impulsive behavior
- Engaging in reckless behaviors
- Inability to stop or moderate cocaine use
- Socializing with friends who use cocaine
- Excessive time spent using cocaine
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing interest in hobbies or interests
- Using other drugs in addition to cocaine
- Continuing to use cocaine despite adverse outcomes
How to Tell if My Friend is Addicted to Cocaine
If you are concerned that a friend or family member may be a cocaine addict, witnessing any of the above signs should be a cause for concern.
Beyond these red flags for cocaine addiction, you should also keep an eye out for the following changes in a loved one:
- Dramatic mood swings: After first taking cocaine, someone may be intensely social and chatty. As the effects of cocaine start to wear off, though, the person’s mood will change. They could become less willing to engage in conversation and could even become hostile.
- Mental health issues: Many cocaine or crack users experience ongoing mental health issues due to the sustained use of this substance. Depression, anxiety, and paranoia can all develop, even when the person is not using cocaine. Resultantly, many cocaine users benefit from dual diagnosis treatment to unpack both of these issues simultaneously.
- Physical changes: The sustained use of cocaine can lead to runny nose and chronic nosebleeds. You may notice your loved one’s standards of hygiene and appearance start to slide. Your loved one may also appear emotionally flat when not using cocaine.
- Financial problems: Cocaine is an expensive drug, often triggering financial problems. Someone using large amounts of cocaine regularly will also likely struggle to hold down a job, further inflaming the financial stress caused by cocaine abuse.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are predominantly psychological. The most common symptoms include fatigue, depression, insomnia, irritability, and cravings. The intensity of these withdrawal symptoms is such that a medical detox is a safest and most supportive way to detox from cocaine.
Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction symptoms are listed in the latest edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5.
Cocaine addiction, also known as stimulant use disorder, is diagnosed based on your response to versions of the following eleven symptoms:
- Has tolerance to cocaine built so you need more of the drug to achieve the same effect?
- Have you tried and failed to moderate or discontinue cocaine use?
- Have you taken more cocaine than planned or used cocaine for longer than intended?
- Are you spending lots of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of cocaine?
- Have you given up social engagements or regular activities in favor of using cocaine?
- Do you experience cravings for cocaine?
- Are you failing to meet commitments at home, work, or school due to your use of cocaine?
- Have you used cocaine in dangerous situations – when driving, for instance?
- Are you still using cocaine despite inflaming an existing physical or psychological issue?
- Do you continue to use cocaine despite your drug use causing problems in your relationships?
- Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms in the absence of cocaine?
Stimulant use disorder is diagnosed as follows:
- Mild stimulant use disorder: 2 to 3 symptoms
- Moderate stimulant use disorder: 4 to 5 symptoms
- Severe stimulant use disorder: 6 or more symptoms
Cocaine Addiction Stats
- According to data from NSDUH 2020, over 5 million people in the United States used cocaine over the previous year.
- This SAMHSA data shows that around 15% of the US population has used cocaine at least once, with 2% reporting past year’s cocaine use.
- According to NIDA’s 2021 Monitoring the Future Survey, 1.2% of 12th graders, 0.6% of 10the graders, and 0.2% of 8th graders reported past year cocaine use.
- The same NSDUH 2020 data from SAMHSA shows that 1.3 million people in the United States meet the criteria of a cocaine use disorder, also known as stimulant use disorder.
- Drug overdose deaths involving cocaine have increased steadily, from 5,419 cocaine-related fatalities in 2014 to almost 20,000 in 2020.
Cocaine Addiction Help at The District Recovery Center
In most cases of cocaine withdrawal, symptoms can be most effectively managed in a medical detox center. We can connect you with a suitable medical detox center near you, allowing you to purge the toxins and toxic by-products from your system with around-the-clock clinical care.
Although there are no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of cocaine addiction, research in this area is ongoing. If you are ready to commit to sober living instead of using cocaine, we can help you achieve this at TRDC.
At The District Recovery Center, we specialize in the outpatient treatment of stimulant use disorders like cocaine addiction. We can also provide dual diagnosis treatment programs for those with co-occurring mental health disorders.
Studies show that most mild or moderate addictions respond equally favorably to intensive outpatient treatment as residential rehab. Engage with an IOP (intensive outpatient program) here at The District or opt for an even more intensive PHP (partial hospitalization program) if you require more support.
Through a personalized array of individual counseling, group counseling, psychotherapy, and contingency management, you can reclaim your life from cocaine addiction, even if there are no medications to help you.
Reach out to the friendly team today at 949.570.7600 to kickstart your recovery.