Cocaine Treatment in Atlanta, GA
Introduction to Cocaine
Cocaine is considered a substance with a high potential for misuse and severe psychological or physical dependence. One-time cocaine use can quickly evolve into a pattern of abuse, leading to addiction. As the effects of cocaine are very intense yet short-lived, people often take more to re-experience the high they remember from their first use, dramatically increasing the risk of dangerous side effects, including fatal overdose. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, contact Atlanta Recovery Place to learn more about our cocaine rehab in Georgia.
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What Causes Cocaine Addiction?
When someone uses cocaine, they experience an almost immediate high lasting for about ten minutes. Because the effects fade quickly, this high is often followed by immediate cravings for more drugs. Cocaine increases levels of the chemical dopamine in the brain, which is directly related to the reward system in the brain. Because users eventually adapt to higher dopamine levels and do not feel the same high, they begin to take more significant doses in an attempt to feel the same high, leading to addiction.
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Cocaine Abuse Statistics
Cocaine is a very addictive drug, and addiction often occurs very quickly. Studies indicated more than six million Americans struggled with problematic cocaine use in 2018, and approximately 15% of Americans have tried cocaine at least once.
Studies by the CDC show that nearly 16,000 people lost their lives to cocaine overdose in 2019 alone. The intense effects of cocaine among those who struggle with an addiction to the drug continue to lead to an ongoing rise in use and overdose.
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How Does Cocaine Impact the Body?
The impacts of ongoing cocaine use spread to all vital body systems. The physical effects of cocaine can be highly detrimental to the body’s internal systems. Some short-term physical effects such as nausea, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, increased body temperature, and enlarged pupils that occur in the minutes after use often resolve or subside quickly. However, there are long-term and potentially life-threatening effects of cocaine addiction that last much longer.
Your Respiratory System
Those who snort cocaine may experience frequent nosebleeds and runny nose. This is why they often appear to have “the sniffles.” Snorting cocaine can cause permanent damage to a person’s sense of smell in addition to damaging the structure of the nose. Snorting cocaine can also lead to difficulties swallowing and changes to the vocal cords. In extreme cases, it can damage the roof of the mouth, complicating everyday tasks such as eating.
Smoking crack cocaine can cause damage to the lungs. Also, users who have preexisting asthma may experience worsening in their condition. Smoking crack can also lead to cough, respiratory infection, and pneumonia, or other similar illnesses.
Your Stomach and Bowels
Cocaine use can damage many parts of the body, some of which are more unexpected than others. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain after using cocaine. These side effects can start in as little as one hour or up to 48 hours after using. Cocaine use can also cause intestinal damage, intestinal death, perforated bowel, and stomach bleeding, all of which can be fatal.
Your Cardiovascular System
In addition to the effects on your heart and blood pressure, cocaine can also cause long-term impacts on the cardiovascular system. Chronic cocaine abuse can result in chest pain, often prompting users to go to the emergency room as they believe they are having a heart attack. However, cocaine can also trigger an actual heart attack; therefore, any chest pains or other heart-related issues must be taken very seriously. Cocaine use is also associated with aortic rupture, elevated risk of stroke, inflammation of the heart muscles, heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
Your Kidneys and Renal Systems
The liver and kidneys act as filters in the body. Consequently, when substances like cocaine are introduced into various body systems, it is up to the kidneys and liver to filter them out. When the liver and kidneys are exposed to cocaine, it can lead to long-term disease processes such as liver infections, Hepatitis, end-stage renal disease, renal failure, and decreased kidney function.
Your Reproductive System
Although cocaine has a reputation for enhancing sexual performance, research has shown this belief is inaccurate. Chronic cocaine use can lead to several reproductive and sexual problems, including irregular menstrual cycles, sexual function, and decreased sexual response across all genders.
Frequent and long-term cocaine use can cause permanent alterations to the brain. Eventually, the brain’s reward pathways are affected, and tolerance builds up, causing individuals to need more and more cocaine to produce the same effects they felt when they first used. Consequently, the user may become dependent on cocaine, and when they stop using it develop symptoms of withdrawal and other mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.
Regular cocaine use can also lead to increased sensitivity to the drug itself. This means lower and lower doses of cocaine can provoke some of the drug’s unpleasant side effects, such as convulsions or anxiety. When combined with increased tolerance to the pleasurable effects of cocaine, the decreasing tolerance to the undesirable effects can heighten the risk of overdose.
Bleeding in the brain or bulging blood vessels are also side effects of cocaine use. These side effects, as well as the use of cocaine alone, can heighten the risk of seizures and stroke. Long-term cocaine use may also increase one’s risks of developing Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
How to Treat Cocaine Addiction?
Treatment for cocaine addiction typically involves detox and therapy in a residential inpatient treatment program. These programs significantly increase the chances of a successful recovery from the physical and psychological addiction to cocaine. At a Georgia cocaine rehab center, like Atlanta Recovery Place, highly trained, compassionate therapists and medical professionals use evidence-based treatments to help a recovering addict learn how to live a healthy life without relying on cocaine. A typical Georgia rehab program includes counseling, support groups, relapse prevention education, and aftercare planning. Some treatment programs also offer alternative therapies such as equine therapy, art therapy, music therapy, meditation, massage, and yoga.