Cocaine is currently the most abused major stimulant in America. Cocaine is both a stimulant of the central nervous system as well as an appetite suppressant. It has been recently reported that it is the drug most frequently involved in emergency room visits. Cocaine is often used as an upper/downer combination with other drugs such as alcohol, valium, and heroin. Common street names for cocaine are blow, snow, flake, and nose candy. Although cocaine lacks the same physical withdrawal symptoms seen in alcohol, it has one of the most psychological addictive properties of any drug.
Cocaine addiction is characterized by compulsive and uncontrollable drug craving and seeking, despite negative consequences. Although the mental aspect of cocaine use becomes addictive, a large part of cocaine addiction is the result of prolonged drug use on brain functioning. People who frequently use cocaine experience both long term and short-term effects of this drug. The effects of cocaine can last anywhere from twenty minutes to several hours, depending on the dosage of cocaine taken.
The physical signs of cocaine use vary depending on the person. Common warning signs include; bloodshot eyes, eye pupils wide open, anxiety, nose bleeds, elevated speech patterns, weight loss, insomnia, irregular heart beat, relationship problems and job loss. The more frequently a person uses cocaine, the higher one’s tolerance becomes for this drug. Long-term cocaine effects often lead to medical complications and health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, and gastrointestinal problems. Like many addicts, cocaine users often become so preoccupied with getting and using cocaine that they neglect every other aspect of their life.
Cocaine addiction is a vicious cycle; people often use this drug to simply avoid facing withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from cocaine produces symptoms such as depression, agitation, intense craving, extreme fatigue, anxiety, lack of motivation, nausea, shaking, disturbed sleep, muscle pain and irritability.
The widespread use of cocaine has resulted in many treatment programs focusing on cocaine addiction. In addition to traditional treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy has also been effective in treating cocaine abuse. It is important to research the variety of cocaine treatment options available and choose a program that works with each individual’s personal needs.