Cocaine is an addictive alkaloid extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. Used most commonly in powder form, cocaine can also be injected, or smoked in the rock form of crack cocaine. One in every four Americans age 24-35 have used cocaine at least once in their life. Cocaine is a dangerous substance, as its potential for addiction is high. According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice, about twenty eight percent of those incarcerated in the United States were regular cocaine or crack users. Cocaine is used across all demographics, from teenagers to high-end socialites, and the risk of its use is often severely underestimated.
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, the addiction rate for first time users of cocaine is about five percent. This means that statistically one out of every twenty users who tries cocaine becomes addicted their first time. One reason that people become addicted to cocaine quickly is the relatively short-lived effects. Snorting cocaine results in effects that generally last fifteen to thirty minutes. Although the stimulating effects and the euphoria created are strong, the short duration of the high often drives people to use cocaine as a binge drug. As an expensive and short lasting drug, many cocaine users eventually turn to crack cocaine. As an expensive addiction to support, cocaine addicts may steal and manipulate their way into obtaining the drug. Signs of cocaine addiction include weight loss, insomnia, paranoia, and rapid talking and acting.
The first step of dealing with cocaine addiction is a controlled detox. Although cocaine withdrawal does not produce visible physical symptoms, the psychological symptoms can be quite strenuous. The most common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are fatigue, irritability, paranoia, lack of pleasure, and intense cravings. Since cocaine does not produce physical symptoms during detox, many underestimate its power. However, doctors and addiction specialists agree that the psychological aspect of cocaine withdrawal is as bad or worse than that of most any other substances. In a cocaine detox, a medical facility is not necessary, but the controlled environment with addiction specialists helps provide support to make the detox process as easy as possible.
After detox, a treatment center is the next suggested step in cocaine rehab. At a cocaine rehab center, an individual participates in activities to help them learn to maintain their sobriety. Through conventional methods such as individual and family therapy, group counseling, relapse prevention education, and possibly twelve step meetings, the addict begins to find the root cause of their drug abuse. Some residential treatment centers employ a holistic style of treatment in which every aspect of the person is treated. Holistic centers may have acupuncture, massage therapy, equine therapy, and meditation or yoga.
There are both residential treatment centers and outpatient treatment centers, and both carry risks and benefits. Residential treatment centers offer a secure environment that is free of drugs. The individual must be able to leave their life on the outside for a certain period of time. Outpatient programs allow more freedom for those who have daily obligations such as work or children that they cannot take a break from, but the patient risks being exposed to triggers and substances.
The final part of cocaine rehab is continuing care. Transitional living houses are a popular form of continuing care, as they provide a house in which the residents are newly sober addicts who are also trying to recover from their addiction. Every transitional living is different, and some have strict rules while others permit total freedom. Some people choose to go to group or individual therapy to continue their progress of self-understanding. Others may find peace in a twelve step group such as Cocaine Anonymous.