Once considered a wealthy person’s drug, cocaine is now used by people of any social or economic status, and the symptoms of cocaine addiction go unheeded by most of the people who have fallen under its spell. It is estimated that over 1.5 million Americans use cocaine at least once a month, with those in the age group of 18 to 25 being the highest percent of regular cocaine users.
Why are so many people using cocaine? One reason stems from the fact that many people still believe cocaine to be a safe, recreational drug that is non-addictive. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Statistics from hospitals, law enforcement and treatment providers prove that cocaine is involved in crime, accidents, health problems, and needless deaths just as any other drug.
Another reason so many people use cocaine could be the result of music and movies that promote cocaine and other drugs as an acceptable form of entertainment today. The number of songs and movies that portray this type of activity as the “normal” way to socialize is astonishing.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, only three of the following symptoms of cocaine addiction must be present to arrive at a diagnosis of cocaine dependence: 
- Increased tolerance to the euphoric effects, requiring more of the drug to get the desired high.
- Withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, sleeplessness, agitation, or depression appear when cocaine is withheld.
- When cocaine is available they use it all, unable to save some for later.
- Cannot successfully reduce the amount of cocaine being used.
- Spends most of their time obtaining and using cocaine.
- Isolation from friends or family.
- Stealing, shoplifting, burglary or homicide to gain money for cocaine.
- Increased absences from work or school, job loss, failing grades, dropouts.
- Continuing to use cocaine despite knowledge about the mental and physical consequences.
As with any other drug, the initial use of cocaine is a voluntary choice, however, compulsive use frequently follows, and professional treatment will be necessary for successfully overcoming the effects of the drug and discontinuing use permanently.
What Do the Effects of Cocaine Feel Like?
Cocaine not only affects the pleasure centers of the brain, it also stimulates other systems in the body that control survival, mood, appetite, arousal, and sleep. The user feels dramatic energy increases and elevated self-worth, and usually thinks they are the life of the party. Regardless of these intense pleasurable feelings, a person can also feel some of the following uncomfortable or disturbing sensations:
- violence, homicide
- suicidal thoughts
Considering the above facts, it isn’t plausible to consider this a safe drug that a person can simply stop using anytime they choose. When a drug produces energy, pleasure, joy, and freedom from pain all at the same time, it is not difficult to understand why no one wants to voluntarily give it up. Sadly, when pursuing these pleasurable benefits, the user eventually feels cheated when they fail to re-create that first initial high. At this point it is no longer fun and this is when the problems truly begin.
When It Stops Being Fun
When cocaine abuse progresses to the point that your family life, social activities, mental stability, physical health, or occupation are adversely affected, what you need to do is seek professional treatment right away. At this point, your cocaine use is no longer providing the fun it once did, and now you need it simply to feel normal. If you were able to stop using cocaine on your own, you would probably already have done so. Clearly, you need the expertise of addiction specialists to help you safely and effectively overcome the physical dependence. Once that is accomplished you should enter a rehabilitation program in order to learn how to function in daily life without cocaine present.
Rehabilitation programs are designed to teach you proven methods for preventing relapse while also helping you repair the emotional and spiritual damage that took place during the drug abuse. Lasting recovery is entirely dependent on your level of commitment, confidence, and attitude. During rehab, you participate in various activities, classes, and counseling sessions designed to rebuild your self-esteem, improve your physical health, and help you look deep inside yourself to understand the root causes of the addiction. You will then be able to deal with life in a more productive manner, and make some of the dreams come true that you abandoned during your cocaine use.
What Effects Does This Drug Have on Society?
When cocaine addiction prevents a person from being a productive member of society, everyone is affected due to increased crime, costs for treatment and law enforcement, decreased productivity in workplaces, more homelessness, and far too many needless deaths every day. The following facts help put it into perspective:
- Cocaine is the second most popular illegal drug worldwide.
- National surveys reveal that 35.3 million Americans over the age of 12 report using cocaine.
- Over 8.6 million people report using crack cocaine.
- More than 8% of twelfth graders admit to having used cocaine at least once.
- Nearly 500,000 ER visits involved cocaine in one year.
After losing everything to cocaine, the addict becomes dependent on the state or federal government for treatment, incarceration, or burial. The increased crime rates due to cocaine-seeking behavior puts a financial and physical burden on local law enforcement as they track down dealers and respond to various break-ins, murders, etc. related to drug seeking behavior. Average citizens are affected when they become victims of these crimes, or as they walk in fear of wondering when it might happen.
Making an Informed Choice for Rehab
If the symptoms of cocaine addiction are obvious, and using the drug is no longer a choice, you are probably on a dangerous path. The first thing to do is break out of denial and admit that you have a problem. Your next step is to choose a treatment facility that is experienced in treating cocaine addiction. There are a number of methods for determining which facility best suits your needs such as:
- contact the facility by phone or in person
- talk to other recovered addicts
- referral services, privately owned or state sponsored
- online searches for websites of various facilities
You also need to know what to look for and what to expect in rehab. When considering a program, you should make sure they are experienced in treating cocaine addiction and that they can tailor a treatment approach that encompasses all your specific needs. You will find many facilities that have a basic treatment approach that they expect to be sufficient regardless of the drug involved or the condition of the individual at the time. These types of programs rarely achieve lasting results for their clients, so it is best that you do some research and select a facility that cares about you as an individual. Some other attributes to consider are:
- they are accredited by the state they are located in
- they can provide facts about their success rates
- the program includes an aftercare service
- the staff is licensed and credentialed
- you have options for choosing your own path to recovery such as holistic, faith-based, traditional, or Native American approaches
- they offer financial arrangements or accept insurance
- the location is suitable for you depending on whether you prefer being close to home or not
The important thing is that you do this right away and get into treatment before your situation worsens.
If you are in need of professional help for cocaine abuse or would like more information about the symptoms of cocaine addiction, contact us today and one of our knowledgeable representatives can provide the answers you need and can recommend a program based on your unique needs.