Since then, doctors have learned that this addictive substance can adversely affect brain structure and function. Doctors may still use it, though, as an anesthetic for certain surgeries involving the eyes, ears, and throat.
Cocaine is a street drug and is often seen in a white, powdery form that can be smoked, snorted or injected. It’s referred to as coke, snow, powder, and blow and can be diluted (cut) with cornstarch, talcum, flour, or baking soda. It may also be altered with other drugs such as procaine, amphetamines, and heroin. Increasingly, fentanyl is being added to cocaine, which can lead to a deadly fentanyl overdose.
Cocaine is a stimulant and gives the user a boost of energy and alertness. When someone uses cocaine, their brain increases dopamine levels, a natural chemical messenger that controls the brain’s pleasure center. This can create feelings of energy and alertness, often referred to as a “high”. Cocaine is addictive because of the physical and psychological effects on the brain. It is reported that over 25% of users develop an addiction to this drug.
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The physical addiction to cocaine occurs when the body becomes dependent on it to function normally. Without cocaine, the body begins to undergo withdrawal, which may be painful. Cocaine fulfills psychological needs, such as feeling more comfortable in social settings and overcoming feelings of depression.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
When seeking treatment for cocaine addiction, it may be necessary to seek an inpatient rehab. This provides an opportunity to work with a therapist or addiction professional to address the behaviors and thought processes that contributed to substance use.
Most inpatient treatment facilities have medical detox centers that treat the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction. Though there are no currently approved medicines for cocaine addiction, an individual will receive around the clock medical supervision and care to ease their symptoms. Below is a list of common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal:
Cocaine Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms