Do I Need Cocaine Rehab?Anna Ciulla
The fact that you’re asking this question suggests you may already be experiencing negative life consequences from using cocaine. These problems may have convinced you that you need to get clean, but have left you wondering whether you can do it on your own or need rehab— in which case, you may also be wondering what cocaine rehab looks like and whether it’s worth your time and investment. This article will help you answer these questions, so that you can make an informed decision about whether cocaine rehab—as in detox and treatment for an addiction to cocaine—is your next best step.
Is Cocaine Addictive?
Commonly sold on the black market as a white powder that can be inhaled, smoked, injected, swallowed—even rubbed into the gums—the stimulant cocaine is highly addictive. So is its cheaper, less pure variant, crack, which is more commonly smoked.
When ingested, the main acting ingredient in crack and cocaine (a potent chemical derivative of the leaves of the coca plant known as “benzoylmethylecgonine”) triggers an explosive surge of dopamine in the brain. (Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends the message, “I feel good!,” to your brain and body.) This creates the drug’s signature euphoric high that keeps many users coming back for more— and that over time actually changes the brain’s makeup and chemistry, giving rise to the diagnosable brain disorder that constitutes “cocaine addiction” and typically requires treatment.
Just How Addictive Is Cocaine?
But just how addictive is cocaine really? To a certain extent, the answer to that question can vary between individuals. Every person’s response to the drug can be different, based on individual physiology and genetic predisposition to addiction.
Other factors that influence cocaine’s addictiveness include:
- Dose and purity of the cocaine you’re using
- Route of administration (inhaling, smoking, injecting, etc.)
- Your level of tolerance for the drug
- Whether you’re using other drugs
- Whether you have an underlying mental disorder
That said, because of the intense euphoria cocaine creates, even first-time cocaine use can hook a user who would seem to have no other known risk factors for addiction. In other words, cocaine really is highly addictive and never worth the gamble for any prospective first-time user. Other people may take longer to nurse a developing habit that only develops into full-blown addiction after repeated use of the drug (over a period of days, weeks or months).
Are You Addicted to Cocaine? Signs of Cocaine Addiction
For anyone wondering whether they need cocaine rehab, the most important and urgent question to answer—and the question that could save their life—is whether they personally are addicted to the drug. On that note, consult a healthcare professional if any of these potential signs of cocaine addiction describe you:
- “Borrowing” money without paying back
- Increased secretiveness, demands for privacy and isolationist tendencies
- Heavy perspiration or chills
- Weight loss and decreased appetite
- Frequent nausea and vomiting
- Muscle spasms
- Excitability and extreme talkativeness
- Sudden and dramatic mood swings
- Dilated pupils
- Frequent runny noses and/or nosebleeds
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Financial or legal problems related to cocaine use
- Loss of interest in former hobbies
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Living with cocaine paraphernalia (razor blades, plastic baggies, etc.) and/or keeping such paraphernalia on your person
Signs of cocaine addiction aren’t always immediately obvious or quickly discernible: people can remain outwardly “normal” for years. What typically stands out as a hallmark are cycles of “revved up” energy alternating with “crashes” into total collapse.
Signs and Dangers of Cocaine Overdose
Another potential sign of cocaine addiction: if you have ever overdosed on the drug or are at risk of doing so.
Besides long-term health risks, cocaine is frequently linked to fatal overdose, especially when used with depressants. Symptoms of overdose can include irregular heartbeat, chest pains and violent muscle spasms. In cases of cocaine overdose, medical responders typically need to administer treatment for heart attack, stroke or seizures.
Other physical and psychological symptoms of overdose can include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Rise in body temperature
- Nausea and vomiting
- Panic/extreme anxiety
Cocaine overdose deaths have risen dramatically in recent years, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This reality should only drive home the point that the risks of overdosing on cocaine are real and nothing to mess around with.
The Dangers of Detoxing from Cocaine on Your Own
It may be tempting to think you can kick a cocaine habit by detoxing on your own at home, but think again. The symptoms of “cocaine withdrawal syndrome” may not kill you, but they can derail an effort to successfully get clean if an addiction (also known as “cocaine use disorder”) is operative. The unwanted outcome can then be that you go right back to using the drug that you know is destroying your health and quality of life and could eventually kill you. For more information about a medically supervised detox and why it is recommended for cocaine addiction, see our Cocaine Detox Guide.
How Cocaine Rehab Can Help You
Where cocaine addiction is suspected, detox should never be delayed. It might well be a matter of life and death. But detox is only the first phase of recovery. That’s because detox alone— without inpatient treatment—is ordinarily insufficient to address the typically complex roots of an addiction.
Your best prospect of long-term recovery will therefore be comprehensive rehab: an intensive daily routine of therapies within a safe, sober living environment, immediately following detox and for a minimum of 35 days.
The goal of rehab is to identify what, in addition to the physical symptoms of cocaine tolerance and withdrawal, is causing your addiction, so that you can process these psychological and behavioral issues with a view to resolving them. In the process, you’ll also develop healthy coping strategies and other indispensable tools for preventing relapse and sustaining long-term recovery. Explore more benefits of inpatient rehab.
For related information, see the following articles: