Like many drugs, repeated cocaine use alters the brain’s reward system, increasing the risk of addiction. About 6% of people seeking help for drug addiction use cocaine. The addiction specialists at 2nd Chance Treatment Center offer a comprehensive outpatient program to help you recover from your cocaine addiction. To learn more about the program, contact the office in Phoenix, Glendale, or Gilbert, Arizona, by phone or online today.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug made from the coca plant. It’s an addictive stimulant that speeds up your whole body, creating high energy, excitement, and happiness. However, the drug can also make you feel angry, nervous, or afraid.

People who use cocaine may snort or inject the drug. The illegal drug can also be made into hard, crystalline rocks that are smoked, referred to as crack cocaine. 

Cocaine may be mixed with other substances, such as cornstarch, flour, or talcum powder. However, the illegal drug may also contain other dangerous and addictive substances, such as amphetamine or fentanyl. The combination of cocaine and fentanyl can lead to an overdose.  

How is cocaine addictive?

Cocaine increases dopamine levels in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. It also helps you think and focus. 

Under normal circumstances, your brain returns dopamine back into the nerve cell that sent it out. With cocaine, dopamine can’t be returned to the nerve cell, resulting in large amounts of dopamine in your brain’s reward system. This increases your brain’s desire for the drug. Over time, your brain’s reward system adapts, and you need to use more cocaine to get the same effects. 

What are cocaine health complications?

Use of cocaine has short- and long-term effects on your health. Initially, the illegal drug constricts your blood vessels, alters your heart rate, and raises your blood pressure. Long-term health consequences of cocaine use may depend on how you use the drug.

Snorting cocaine may lead to nose bleeds and difficulty swallowing, as well as loss of your sense of smell. Smoking cocaine may increase your risk of respiratory issues such as pneumonia. If you inject cocaine and share needles, you’re at risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C.

How is cocaine addiction treated?

The team at 2nd Chance Treatment Center takes an individualized approach to treating cocaine use and addiction. It’s not uncommon for someone who abuses cocaine to also use other drugs. Your treatment plan may include behavioral therapy to learn healthier coping skills and medication to control cravings and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine is an extremely addictive drug that can be challenging to stop. For expert care to help you get over your cocaine addiction, contact the specialists at 2nd Chance Treatment Center by phone or online today.

Sana Khan

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