There are several things that most people will agree on when it comes to cocaine, the first of which being it is a stimulant and the second of which being it is highly addictive. And for good measure, most will also agree that the drug, which resembles fine, white, crystal powder, has negatively impacted the lives of many people in America. And this grim reality is substantiated in a study published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Of the estimated 20 million Americans who admit to having a substance use disorder, over 960,000 struggle with cocaine specifically, according to researchers involved in the study. Although such findings are unsettling, there is some good news worth mentioning. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), since 2009, millions of people have sought treatment at rehab facilities all across the U.S. to help them overcome an addiction, cocaine being one of them.
Why Is Cocaine So Addictive?
Like many other illicit substances, cocaine can be both physically and psychologically addictive. Because achieving short and long-term sobriety hinges on overcoming both, many people find breaking the cycle of addiction quite challenging. As a result, some people tend to relapse soon after quitting. And on the other end of the spectrum, some won’t even bother trying at all. Of course, this only partly reveals what makes cocaine so addictive. Those who have been there themselves will agree that the way cocaine impacts the brain is what keeps them coming back to the drug. Multiple studies show that cocaine increases dopamine levels in the brain. For those not aware, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. It also plays an integral role in memory, focus, and movement. When individuals use cocaine, it triggers an uptick in dopamine production. This higher volume of dopamine interacts strongly with the brain’s reward center. And for many people, this interaction is what causes them to become dependent on the drug.
Combining Cocaine With Other Drugs
Studies show that individuals who engage in polydrug use involving cocaine and another drug of choice will usually find addiction recovery much harder. For reference, one of the drugs commonly paired with cocaine is heroin, and those who take both of these drugs at the same time usually do so to achieve an even more intense euphoric high. But what many fail to realize is that polydrug use involving cocaine can increase tolerance, meaning they will need to consume even more of both substances to achieve the same high. For many people, such behavior often leads to a fatal overdose.
What to Expect While Detoxing From Cocaine?
Breaking the cycle of addiction when it comes to cocaine requires much more than just being strong-willed, say many physicians and addiction experts. And this is because of the withdrawal symptoms that individuals face when they stop using, some of which include the following:
- Anxiety and depression
- Feeling dehydrated
- Feeling agitated
- Body aches and chills
- Muscle aches
- Motor impairment
- Mood swings and feeling paranoid
- An inability to focus
It is worth noting that these symptoms do not all present themselves as soon as an individual stops using. Instead, they come in three phases, with the first wave starting within hours of them taking their last dose of the powerful stimulant. The first phase, known as the crash phase, is characterized by fatigue, hunger, and intense cravings. Some people also report feeling anxious, depressed, and irritable during this phase as well. All in all, the crash phase can last anywhere from just a few hours to a couple of days. The onset, duration, and timeframe of phases two and three are as follows:
Phase 2 – Also known as the craving phase, phase 2, as the name might suggest, is marked by intense cocaine craving. However, it does not end there. This phase, which begins about a week after an individual stops using and can last for as long as 10 weeks, is marked by the following: lethargy, irritability, lack of focus, and an inability to concentrate.
Phase 3 – This phase is considered by many to be the home stretch and runs from week 10 through week 30. During phase 3, cocaine cravings are much milder. Further, many of the symptoms synonymous with phases 1 and 2 are all but gone at this point. Even after 30 or more weeks of being clean, however, some people continue to struggle with lingering psychological aspects of addiction that can put them at risk of suffering a relapse. The best way to keep the threat of relapse at bay, especially after making it this far, is to schedule an appointment with an addiction therapist as needed.
Final Thoughts on Detoxing From Cocaine
Unlike alcohol or opioids, there is no official FDA-approved medication to help ease the process of detoxing from cocaine. However, most rehab facilities will provide pain medications, antiemetics, sleep aids, and other drugs as an unofficial treatment to those who need them. To learn more about these treatments, consider speaking with one of our associates today. Call us today at 833-820-2922.