Cracking Cocaine Addiction | Ambrosia Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center
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Cocaine

Most people start using a drug like cocaine in a party setting or to get an extra boost to finish up work. After the first “bump” or “line” of cocaine, many feel the need to continue doing more to sustain their energy. Regular use of cocaine eventually leads to higher tolerance, when individuals must use more of the substance to get the same feeling they originally had. The mental obsession to use develops quickly into a full-fledged addiction, making cocaine and crack some of the most dangerous drugs in existence.

COMMERCIAL NAMES
STREET NAMES
COMMON FORMS
COMMON WAYS TAKEN
COMMERCIAL NAMES
Cocaine Hydrochloride Topical Solution (an anesthetic rarely used in medical procedures)
STREET NAMES
Blow, Bump, C, Candy, Fishscale, Coke, Crack, Hard, Rock & Base
COMMON FORMS
White powder or Whitish Rock Crystal
COMMON WAYS TAKEN
Snorted, Smoked or Injected

Health Effects

When cocaine is combined with other drugs (poly-drug use), the complications can be far more severe. Cocaine is a potent central nervous system stimulant that produces short-term euphoria, energy and rapid speech in addition to dangerous physical effects like rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure.

  • Dilates pupils
  • Increases body temperature & blood pressure
  • Constricts blood vessels
  • Increases heart rate
  • Decreases appetite
  • Causes loss smell
  • Gangrene
  • HIV infections
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack (cardiac arrest)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Irritability, restlessness & anxiety
  • Paranoia/Psychosis
  • Overdose
  • Death

The Cycle of Cocaine Addiction

Like any drug, the tolerance for cocaine gradually builds after repeated use, altering the user’s mood and lifestyle. After awhile, the drug takes over. Whenever they are not on cocaine, they feel the physical and mental repercussions. They feel the need to use to feel normal again. This is the beginning of the cycle of addiction. Because of the short-lived high and availability, cocaine and crack are both extremely addictive.

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Aches
  • Pain, chills, and tremors
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness

The Demographics


Although not as prevalent as in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the drug is still common throughout the U.S. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates 1.9 million cocaine addicts in the country, with nearly half a million users visiting the ER for complications.

Studies have shown that free-base cocaine (crack) is found most in poor, minority communities within major cities, while the powder is seen in all socioeconomic statuses.

Further, 71% of all those seeking treatment for cocaine enter with additional addictions as well (poly-substance abuse).

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Ambrosia Treatment Center
Bryce C.
Treatment Center
Crack took everything I had and then some. I used cocaine recreationally for years, occasionally having some run-ins with the law and family issues. As soon as I started doing crack, these problems multiplied. I was broke, homeless, and abandoned by my family within months. Every once in a while, I will think about picking up again, but now I have tools that I can use to help me through the urges.
5 5
Ambrosia Treatment Center
Mary S.
Treatment Center
I always felt different growing up, but I didn't even pick up drugs until I was 20. It was all downhill from there. I moved out with a boyfriend who shot cocaine, and he brought me right into the lifestyle. I fit in right away. When the courts sent me to treatment six years ago, I never thought it would stick. But something changed while I was in treatment, I knew I had to do the right thing. Recovery has given me a relationship with my kids and a life worth living. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way.
5 5
Ambrosia Treatment Center
Jack B.
Treatment Center
The thing that attracted me most to cocaine more than any other drug was the lifestyle. I was young, and everyone that was doing it was having a great time. But as I started to get older, more of my friends quit for one reason or another. There I was, continuing to use despite having no one to use with. I would quit for a while, but every time I found myself reminiscing about the good old days, I was right back to get some more. My counselor helped me realize why someone like me will always lose when it comes to trying it “one more time.”
5 5
Ambrosia Treatment Center
Anna S.
Treatment Center
I first started getting into coke in high school. I was under a lot of pressure from my parents to succeed academically, and doing a line made me feel energetic and interested. At first, my grades improved, but by the time I got to college I was fully addicted. I began to lose weight rapidly and felt sick all the time, but no one seemed to notice, or at least that’s what I thought. Now that I’m sober, I feel stable and present. I’m not always looking for my next fix, which is truly a blessing.
5 5

More About Cocaine Addiction

How long does cocaine withdrawal last?

Withdrawal from cocaine comes in three stages. The initial crash can last a few hours to a few days. During the crash, the individual will feel groggy and tired, as well as depressed and easily irritated. After that, users typically go through acute withdrawal, which is characterized by insomnia, fatigue and depression. This period lasts about two weeks. Lingering symptoms can continue for several months after stopping cocaine use. Also known as the extinction period, this is the body adjusting to regular flows of dopamine and is usually comprised of sadness, irritability and uneasiness.

How do I know if someone is using cocaine?

Depending on the severity of their addiction, a cocaine user can be hard to spot. Typically people are very animated and lively when they are high on cocaine or crack. They usually have more energy than even the most energetic sober person, and look restless and uncomfortable when they are not using or withdrawing. Keep an eye out for mood swings, and extremes in energy level. While some people are just naturally peppy, someone on cocaine or crack is often manic and sometimes paranoid. These symptoms can look like stress or anxiety to the untrained eye but are the best indicator of a cocaine habit.

Why is cocaine so addictive?

Cocaine affects the user by releasing a huge surge of dopamine in the user’s brain. This chemical is associated with the euphoric, rush type feeling cocaine provides.

What is Crack?

Crack is a form of smokeable cocaine that is more intense as well as cheaper and easier to buy. The high is similar to the feeling of cocaine, but is shorter in duration, making it incredibly addictive and dangerous. Crack is made with cocaine and other ingredients such as baking soda or ammonia, and cooked into a “rock.”

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