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What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug native to South America. It is made from the coca plant. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 15% of Americans use cocaine yearly.

Cocaine is a form of anesthetic which was used for medical purposes in the 20th century.

Cocaine is also a powerful stimulant. When taken repeatedly, it is addictive and mind-altering. Other street names for cocaine include coke, snow, and flake.

Cocaine can be taken into the body by

  • Injection
  • Orally
  • Smoking
  • Inhalation through the nose
  • Through the rectum or genital

The mode of taking it does not make it any less addictive.

Is it illegal to Take Cocaine?

Generally, the possession of cocaine without a prescription is considered illegal in the US. Depending on your status and state, this may warrant a fine, jail time, or both.

What Does Cocaine Do to a Person?

A person who takes cocaine will feel its effect almost immediately. The effects usually last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.

Cocaine dramatically increases the dopamine levels in the body. Dopamine is a hormone or neurotransmitter. It sends messages to various parts of the body including the brain and spinal cord.

It is also responsible for feelings of pleasure. So, people who take cocaine experience very high levels of euphoria and pleasure. The levels are so high that users usually want to experience it again.

This builds up the tolerance levels in people. So, they need to take more doses to experience the same level of pleasure. It also slowly makes them addicted to this feeling.

Is Crack Still Cocaine?

Cocaine comes in two forms. These are powder and rock. Cocaine is usually in powder form while crack is in rock form.

Cocaine is made up of hydrochloride salt. However, crack is a combination of water and baking soda. In summary, crack is still cocaine. A person who takes crack can become addicted to it.

What is the Cause of Cocaine Addiction?

As earlier stated, the use of cocaine increases dopamine levels in the body. When the body repeatedly takes in cocaine, it adapts to it. So, the body’s tolerance levels increase.

When this happens, the effects that cocaine brings reduces. By this time, the user is always addicted to the pleasurable experience. When the same amount no longer has the same effect, they are inclined to take more.

It becomes a vicious cycle. The body keeps on adapting and the user keeps taking more cocaine to get the same feeling.

What are the Risk Factors for Cocaine Addiction?

  • Gender – Males are more likely to abuse drugs and other substances. This also includes cocaine.
  • Mental Health Issues – Those suffering from mental illness have a higher risk. For example, those who have depression or anxiety disorder.
  • Family History – You are at greater risk if one of your close family members abuse cocaine.
  • History of Abusing other substances – If you abuse alcohol or other drugs, there’s a chance that you will abuse cocaine.

What are the Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction/Abuse?

  • Climbing tolerance or craving for cocaine
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Making reckless decisions in pursuit of cocaine
  • You cannot stop taking the drug even if you tried
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Overly talkative
  • Weight loss
  • Overly energetic

What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse?

Long term side effects can be divided into physical and mental problems.

Physical Side-Effects
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory disease
  • Hepatitis
Mental/Psychological Side-Effects
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Unexplained aggression
  • irritability

How is Cocaine Abuse/Addiction Diagnosed?

Cocaine abuse or addiction is usually diagnosed by a healthcare professional. They might ask questions to ascertain your condition.

A diagnosis is usually based on health history and current status. Recommended treatment is determined by the length and severity of the abuse.

What are the Likely Treatment For Cocaine Addiction?

Before undergoing any treatment, a diagnosis must be made. Afterward, some of the following treatment options might be recommended.


There are no medications for cocaine addiction. However, antidepressants might be prescribed by your doctor to cope with withdrawal symptoms.


People suffering from addiction will normally have to use a medical facility. Depending on the particular case, this can be a rehabilitation residential program or a day program.

For residential programs, treatment can range from a few weeks to months. Most residential programs also come with counseling and support groups.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies such as getting enough sleep, working out, and meditating also helps. Acupuncture is also be something you should consider. Before engaging in any alternative therapies, contact your doctor.


Most therapies will include cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy focuses on helping the user learn new habits and thinking pattern. This can help prevent a relapse during recovery.

This therapy might be part of your rehab program or outpatient treatment.

How Can You Help Someone Addicted to Cocaine?

Dealing with a loved one who’s addicted to cocaine can be tough. Try to be very understanding. Do not try to discriminate or blame them for their condition.

If they have sought help, try to follow up on their recovery without overdoing it. If they have not gotten medical help, urge them to do so.

Someone who is addicted to cocaine might feel that their addiction is not a problem. They might even pretend that it does not exist. Gently remind them of the consequences of their actions. If they still refuse to seek medical help, give them time. Nagging them about it will not help.

Always keep the channel of communication open.

Is Cocaine Addiction Curable?

With treatment and commitment, most people make a full recovery from cocaine addiction. While there is always a risk of relapse, most people go on to live normal lives.

When Should You Contact Your Doctor?

Contact your doctor immediately if you have abused cocaine or experience any related symptoms.

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