Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is one of society’s greatest problems today. Individuals addicted to cocaine will do almost anything to get the drug. It has penetrated all levels of our society infecting the rich, poor and everyone in between. Family members connected to individuals with a cocaine addiction live in chaos and confusion because they do not understand the underlying mechanics of cocaine addiction. Users will often not seek cocaine rehab treatment until it has become a real problem. Cocaine has tremendous addictive potential, in part because its “high” or euphoria typically lasts no more than an hour before the user craves to use it again, leading to periods of bingeing during which the user might stay awake for a few days or more. This is often followed by a “come down”, a period of acute dysphoria and depression. This is what often leads to the cocaine addiction.

How widespread is cocaine addiction?

In 1997, there were approximately 1.5 million regular cocaine abusers.

  • One-tenth of the population (over 22 million people) has tried cocaine.
  • Each day 5,000 more people will experiment with cocaine.
  • Cocaine is a $35 billion illicit industry now exceeding Columbia’s #1 export, coffee.
  • One in 10 workers say they know someone who uses cocaine on the job.
  • The annual number of new cocaine users has generally increased over time. In 1975, there were 30,000 new users. The number increased from 300,000 in 1986 to 361,000 in 2000.
  • The average age of cocaine initiates rose from 17.2 years old in 1967 to 23.8 years old in 1991 and subsequently declined to approximately 20 years old from 1997 to 2000.
  • Cocaine addiction was responsible for 14 percent of the 1.6 million admissions in 1999 to publicly funded drug addiction facilities.

Adults 18 to 25 years old have a higher rate of current cocaine use than those in any other age group. Overall, men have a higher rate of current cocaine use than do women. Also, according to the 1997 NHSDA, rates of current cocaine use were 1.4 percent for African Americans, 0.8 percent for Hispanics, and 0.6 percent for Caucasians.

Cocaine addiction can occur very quickly and can be very difficult to break. Researchers have found that cocaine stimulates the brain’s reward system inducing an even greater feeling of pleasure than natural functions. In turn, its influence on the reward circuit can lead a user to bypass survival activities and repeat drug use. Chronic cocaine use can lead to a cocaine addiction and in some cases damage the brain and other organs. An addict will continue to use cocaine even when faced with adverse consequences. Dependency can develop in less than two weeks. Some research indicates that a psychological dependency may develop after a single dose of high-potency cocaine. As the person develops a tolerance to cocaine, higher and higher doses are needed to produce the same level of euphoria.

Physical Signs of Cocaine Abuse:

There are some physical signs of cocaine abuse that often to lead to addiction, and these signs are key to know in order to spot the addictive behavior. The physical warning signs of cocaine abuse can vary, depending on the person.Cocaine addict in pain.

  • Eyes: Quite often the eyes are a good indicator of cocaine use. A person will appear wide and or bloodshot eyes and the pupils are dilated.
  • Heart: Stimulants, like cocaine, increase heart rate and blood pressure so heart irregularities can be a warning sign.
  • Speech: Cocaine users often have an elevated speech pattern so speech irregularities are a warning sign.
  • Appetite: Cocaine is an appetite suppressant so people that use cocaine regularly will often lose weight or are not hungry at meal time.
  • Sleep Patterns: Because cocaine is powerful stimulant, people who use cocaine often will have a difficult time falling asleep or suffer from disruptive, inconsistent sleep.

Continued signs of addiction to cocaine include cardiac problems, neglect of family responsibilities, social isolation, mood swings, neglect of body needs and hygiene and ignoring job demands. The effects of cocaine are immediate, extremely pleasurable, and brief. Cocaine produces intense but short-lived euphoria and can make users feel more energetic. Like caffeine, cocaine produces wakefulness and reduces hunger. Psychological effects include feelings of well-being and a grandiose sense of power and ability mixed with anxiety and restlessness. As the drug wears off, these temporary sensations of mastery are replaced by an intense depression. The drug abuser will then “crash”, becoming lethargic and typically sleeping for several days. (see cocaine withdrawal.)

Addiction is very serious and not easily predicted. It is safe to be aware of the physical signs of cocaine use that can lead to addiction. If you or someone you know needs help with a cocaine addiction, we are here to help. Please call our toll free number. We are here to answer your questions on cocaine treatment and recovery.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email