Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can take hold quickly and deeply impact one’s life. Recognizing the signs of addiction is the first step toward seeking treatment and recovery. Here are six common signs that indicate cocaine use has become an addiction:

1. Increased Tolerance

One of the first signs of cocaine addiction is needing more and more of the drug to get the same intense high as before. As tolerance rapidly increases, the user will take larger and larger amounts of cocaine more frequently throughout the day or night. Cocaine creates an initial sense of confidence, euphoria, and energy by flooding the brain with the neurotransmitter dopamine. However, this ultra-pleasurable high is very short-lived, usually only 5 to 15 minutes. An addicted person will go on extended binges, snorting or smoking hit after hit of cocaine just to try to maintain the high. This frequent pattern of use at higher doses leads the person to ingest dangerous amounts of cocaine that can overwhelm the cardiovascular system.

2. Withdrawal Symptoms

When not actively using cocaine, an addicted person will start to experience very unpleasant cocaine withdrawal symptoms like depression, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, and incredibly strong cocaine cravings. These feelings drive the user to urgently take cocaine again and again just to avoid the intense crash. Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine addiction can linger for months after finally stopping heavy use, putting the recovering addict at high risk for relapse during early sobriety. This is where cocaine addiction and rehab can be a good match.

3. Loss of Control

An addicted cocaine user completely loses control over their usage. In the beginning, they may firmly intend to only use a little bit of cocaine for partying or studying. However, once they take the first doses, nearly all control is lost. Cocaine powerfully raises levels of dopamine in the brain’s reward centers, causing intense pleasure and reinforcement of continued addictive behaviors. Even knowing the great harm cocaine abuse causes for their health, relationships and finances, an addicted person feels unable to resist the strong psychological and physical draw towards using more cocaine.

4. Neglecting Responsibilities

As the cocaine addiction progresses, getting and using cocaine becomes the top priority in the addict’s life. Therefore, other important areas of life get completely neglected. A user may chronically miss work, flunk out of school, or totally abandon family functions and responsibilities to use cocaine. Relationships with loved ones often deteriorate and fall apart as the addict becomes increasingly unreliable and secretive about their worsening problem. A formerly productive person will abandon previously enjoyed hobbies, sports, and social activities during addiction.

5. Risky Use

Cocaine addiction brings with it a willingness to overlook serious risks and engage in unsafe behaviors while intoxicated. For example, the addicted user continues snorting or smoking toxic amounts of cocaine despite experiencing headaches, nausea, anxiety, chest pain and other physical warning signs. They often use cocaine alone without anyone else around or in other isolated places where medical help is not available if an overdose occurs. The cocaine addict frequently alternates between extended substance binges of using cocaine and then crashing into withdrawal. Financial problems, accidents, injuries, and legal issues also commonly result from continued risky cocaine abuse.

6. Obsession

Cocaine becomes an obsessive behavior that completely takes over the addict’s thoughts, time, and energy. Much time is spent obsessively thinking about how to get more cocaine, meticulously planning the next binge, using more and more cocaine, and then recovering and craving from its effects before the cycle starts again. An addict will compulsively crave and seek out the drug at any cost, despite it causing severely negative consequences to their well-being and life. Cocaine addiction profoundly alters brain chemistry and dominates the addict’s motivations, focus and behavior.

Recognizing these common signs of cocaine addiction early is vital for getting treatment and support. With appropriate professional treatment and recovery support, overcoming addiction is possible. Detoxification, counseling, 12-step programs, medications and residential rehab provide proven methods for recovering from cocaine addiction. Addressing the underlying causes driving the addiction substantially increases the chances for lasting sobriety.

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