Cocaine has been used for centuries in South America as a natural stimulant. People would chew the leaves of the coca plant to regain energy, especially when hiking, working, or traveling at high elevations. Around 100 years ago, the chemical cocaine hydrochloride was isolated from the properties of the plant. Early in the 20th century, cocaine was the primary active ingredient in many elixirs and tonics developed to treat a range of illnesses. It was also found in Coca-Cola beverages for a time and used as a surgical anesthetic before researchers formulated safer alternatives. Over time research showed cocaine is actually a highly addictive and dangerous substance that, when used long-term, can have lasting detrimental effects on the user. In 2017, cocaine was linked to one out of every five drug-related overdose deaths in the United States. 

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug. According to the U.S Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, cocaine is a schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and is highly addictive. Cocaine is manufactured by processing the leaves of the coca plant into a fine white powder. 

Can You Get Addicted to Cocaine? 

Yes. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. For some, experimenting with cocaine only once can lead to problematic use. Depending on how cocaine is introduced to the body, users may feel its effects in as little as a few seconds. As quickly as the effects occur, they begin to wear off. For most, the effects of cocaine diminish within a matter of minutes. This can lead to more frequent and higher doses to maintain a lasting high. Without treatment to overcome dependency, thousands of people lose their lives to cocaine addiction each year. 

Signs of a Cocaine Addiction & How To Get Help

Unlike some addictions, the early signs of cocaine addiction may not be obvious. This is because the initial effects of cocaine use on the body and the brain are mild. However, as use continues and increases, so does the presence of addiction signs and symptoms. It is vital to understand what the early warning signs of cocaine addiction may look like, as early intervention is the most effective way to overcome cocaine

It is not necessary to use cocaine for an extended time to experience significant impacts on one’s physical and psychological health. When someone struggles with a cocaine addiction, there may be certain effects that are visible to others. Common examples include: 

  • Runny nose or “sniffles”
  • Appetite changes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paranoia
  • Abnormally high energy levels
  • Increased happiness or socialization

Most of the above symptoms are short-term, and while they occur immediately after use, they will not last long. In most cases, the high from cocaine wears off in as few as thirty minutes, although it may last a couple of hours for some. Continued cocaine use will lead to harmful and sometimes irreversible effects on the brain and vital organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, and digestive system. Other common signs of cocaine addiction include chills, confusion, sweating, aggressive or violent outbursts, elevated blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, stroke, seizure, heart attack, coma, and death.  

If you or a loved one struggles with cocaine addiction, it is vital to seek treatment in an environment where you can safely and successfully overcome addiction. At a comprehensive treatment program, you can receive support as you progress through detox and therapy on your journey to recovery. At Cal Recovery Center, our staff works with you to design a comprehensive treatment plan that focuses on your unique treatment needs and goals. If you would like to learn more about how to overcome cocaine addiction at Cal Recovery Center, contact us today. 

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