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About Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug actively used in the United States and across the world. It is atop most drug administrations’ lists of most serious and problematic drugs in circulation. 1 In a 2016 Global Drug Study (GDS) cocaine was second only to cannabis for the most used drugs in the world. Cocaine is a system stimulant and as such is used for the desirable effects of increasing a user’s focus and energy in the short-term; however, cocaine use produces harmful and often life-threatening effects that can happen at any time during its use. Below is a more detailed list of the most popular stimulants however, we will focus specifically on cocaine and the addiction treatment plan associated with this harmful drug.

Other Common Stimulants:

  • Adderall
  • Caffeine
  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine
  • Focalin
  • Khat
  • Metadate
  • Methamphetamine (otherwise known as ‘meth’)
  • Methylin
  • Nicotine
  • Ritalin
  • Vyvanse

Cocaine itself is an intense, euphoria-producing stimulant drug with strong addictive potential, but the process all starts from nature. Derived from coca leaves grown in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, cocaine is manufactured in remote labs, undergoing several chemical transformations until the final product is created in the form of a powder-like substance. While these other originating countries are known to manufacture cocaine, 90 percent is produced in Colombia, with most of the drug entering the United States through the Mexican border.

2The effects of cocaine differ based on how the drug is used. When smoked or injected (a product known as ‘crack cocaine’) the drug stimulates the brain in seconds, with a rapid-onset of intense euphoric effects. By contrast, when snorting cocaine, the effects have a slower buildup in the brain but eventually reach the same stimulating rush of alertness, excitation, as well as restlessness, irritability and anxiety.

With such excitable effects, cocaine is often used in combination with other substances to counteract those side effects. A person may drink alcohol, use opioids, or benzodiazepines to calm their body down and manage the anxiety accompanied by active cocaine use. The combination of multiple substances being abused at once can make it difficult when seeking treatment, but the goal to reach full recovery and patient sobriety will remain the same.


How Long Island Center for Recovery (LICR) Treats Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction treatment would begin at LICR with medically assisted treatment and detoxification. Many individuals believe (or have been told) that there is no medical detox protocol for cocaine addiction, however, despite there being no FDA approved medications to treat cocaine addiction, the physical separation from stimulants like cocaine can be just as demanding as other addictive substances. This leads to detoxification and medications to assist with withdrawal symptoms as the first line of approach.

Following a detoxification period of one week, we ease the client into integrated forms of counseling that help to enhance motivation for sobriety, address underlying issues contributing to their addiction, cope with cravings, and manage any lasting effects of their chronic use. The most pivotal of these during their inpatient addiction treatment would be the coping effects from their addiction. These programs place an emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) to recognize patterns of thoughts that lead to the behavior associated with an individual’s drug use, and a plan to disrupt that process. The programs listed below are but a few which could help a client through the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine while strengthening their end goal of sobriety:

These programs at LICR, along with individual and group therapies will prepare clients for sobriety outside of treatment, however the effects of long-term cocaine use can lead to an increase in depression, anxiety, PTSD, paranoia, and psychosis. Therefore, we strongly recommend continuing with outpatient treatment after becoming stabilized and building the foundation of recovery in an inpatient setting.

Frequently asked questions from clients seeking cocaine addiction treatment at Long Island Center for Recovery

How Do I Know If I Need To Seek Inpatient Treatment?

Many of our clients have been told that cocaine is not addictive like other substances, but this is often a label of social history from habitual use in white-collar professionals, and people “only on the weekends.” To determine if you have a problem, think about if your substance use has caused negative consequences in your life as a standard for seeking treatment.

If Cocaine Is My Problem, Can I Still Drink Alcohol?

Oftentimes, cocaine use is accompanied by alcohol use, however, while people may be able to recognize an issue with cocaine abuse, they may not associate the same stigma with alcohol. The best approach would be total abstinence, especially as most cocaine users use drinking alcohol as a trigger, leading the person to relapsing on cocaine.

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