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Managing withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction

Managing withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction

30 December | 0 Comments | By Rachael

The natives of South America have been using cocaine, derived from the leaves of the coca plant, as a stimulant for thousands of years. It became a popular drug in the Western culture only after 1855. Through 1880 to 1915, many Americans were taking cocaine in the form of medicines and tonics. It was also an active ingredient in the original Coca-Cola formula until the federal government passed laws that regulated addictive drugs.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2013, it was found that cocaine was the third most abused substance after marijuana and prescription drugs. Needless to say, cocaine still remains a serious public health concern in the United States with 1.5 million Americans aged 12 or older having met the criteria for dependence or abuse of cocaine in 2013.

Cocaine and its effect on the brain

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that is usually available in two forms:

  1. Powder cocaine: It is a white powder called hydrochloride salt. On the streets, it is often mixed with other substances like cornstarch, talcum powder or sugar. It is also mixed with active drugs like procaine, a local anesthetic, and other stimulants like amphetamines.
  2. Crack cocaine: It is a form of cocaine prepared from a rock crystal. The term crack comes from the fact that it makes a cracking noise when these crystals are heated.

Similar to the effect of most other drugs, it can change the way the brain works by altering the functions of the nerve cells called neurons which are responsible for sending messages by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters.

The neurotransmitters merge with molecules on neurons called receptors. Dopamine is one such neurotransmitter that is associated with making a person feel good when they engage in activities that they enjoy. Cocaine prevents the dopamine from being reabsorbed back into the neurons. This causes an abnormality of building up of neurotransmitters, resulting in intense pleasure and increased energy.

Regular use of cocaine can affect the normal balance of dopamine in the brain. It can also deteriorate an individual’s ability to feel pleasure. Most often, the person develops a tolerance to the drug which forces the user to take higher doses to experience the same effect.

Withdrawal symptoms

Abrupt discontinuation after prolonged abuse of cocaine can lead to withdrawal symptoms which are more psychological than physiological in nature. Some of the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are:

  1. agitation and restless behavior
  2. depressed mood
  3. fatigue
  4. discomfort
  5. increased appetite
  6. vivid and unpleasant dreams
  7. languidness and slowing of activity
  8. difficulty concentrating
  9. inability to feel pleasure
  10. increased craving for cocaine
  11. physical symptoms like pain, tremor and chills

Withdrawal can pave the way for strong cravings and depression that can continue for months. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms may be linked with suicidal thoughts. The high from cocaine becomes less and less pleasant over time. Even though the cravings are powerful and intense, facing a relapse and resuming cocaine abuse can generate fear and extreme suspicion rather than euphoria

Scope of recovery

Individuals undergoing cocaine withdrawal often abuse alcohol, sedatives and psychiatric medications to treat their symptoms. It is advisable to seek professional help to manage the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction. The treatment usually starts with detoxification under expert medical guidance. Detoxification helps the body get ready for further treatment processes that can be done either at an inpatient facility or an outpatient facility.

If you or a loved one is struggling with any form of substance abuse such as cocaine, it is imperative to seek help. Contact the Detox Facilities Texas to get information on detox centers in Texas. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-4308 or chat online to connect with the best rapid detox centers in Texas.