Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal
Cocaine is an extremely addictive substance. This has a great deal to do with the way that cocaine substance abuse alters the way your brain works. Cocaine adjusts the pleasure receptors in your brain so that while you are using it, you feel continuous euphoria. Unfortunately, your brain also builds a tolerance for it, so it need more and more cocaine (increasingly higher doses) in order to get the same effects as before.
Because of the nature of cocaine addiction, it is extremely difficult to overcome. However, it is possible. But first one has to get through withdrawal. And in the case of cocaine, withdrawal symptoms are especially hard to deal with because they, quite literally, almost entirely in one's head.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms
When one stops using alcohol, or drugs like heroin, physical symptoms often exert themselves. Shaking and vomiting are common when one stops abusing other substances. With cocaine, while some people do experience these physical symptoms, they are not very common. Indeed, many victims of cocaine substance abuse withdrawal do not even exhibit noticeable physical withdrawal symptoms. But that doesn't mean they aren't there.
The National Institutes of Health point out that nearly all of the withdrawal symptoms experienced when someone stops using cocaine are connected to mental health. First of all, a rather heavy "crash" is felt. An intense craving for the cocaine follows. The "crash" results as the brain is suddenly emptied of the high level of euphoria it has been exposed to under the influence of the cocaine. The brain almost immediately wants more in order to be stimulated again. These cravings are extremely intense, and very difficult for a cocaine addict to resist.
Other cocaine withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Fatigue. Cocaine provides mental alertness and energy. One becomes dependent upon the cocaine to feel energetic and to "get going." In cocaine withdrawal, the user feels very tired nearly all of the time. High levels of sleepiness are also part of cocaine withdrawal.
- Lack of pleasure. Because the brain has been so stimulated by the cocaine, it is difficult for a cocaine addict to feel pleasure when not on the drug. The brain has become used to the level of euphoria induced by the cocaine, and natural stimulation just doesn't cut it anymore.
- Anxiety. Without cocaine, an addict may feel anxious and nervous.
- Irritability. Mood swings and irritation are further cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Without the influence of the cocaine to provide feelings of pleasure and enjoyment, a person can become angry and upset, since the "normal" feeling of euphoria is gone.
Compounding all of these problems is depression. The crash, the cravings, the fatigue and the mood swings that are a result of cocaine withdrawal can develop into depression, which presents problems of its own.
Treating cocaine withdrawal symptoms
Because it is so difficult to overcome cocaine withdrawal symptoms, a vigorous plan of action is need to help a cocaine addict. Cocaine substance abuse is often treated at residential centers because of the high level of 24 hour care that can be received at such facilities. Stays in a residential treatment center can range from six months to 12 months - or longer if needed.
Most residential treatment facilities provide integrated programs that include pharmacological and behavioral approaches to treating cocaine substance abuse. These techniques are often combined with an extensive support system, and with professionals who can counsel cocaine users and address any medical problems.
Advantages of a residential treatment facility when overcoming cocaine substance abuse:
- Caring professionals. While friends and family may mean well, they may not have the skills necessary to handle the extreme mental health issues that can arise from cocaine substance abuse. A residential treatment center has trained professionals who know how to help people through their issues. Additionally, there is an element of medical and observation at a residential treatment facility.
- 24 hour observation. Because cocaine substance abuse can result in depression, there is a risk of suicide. Most of the time, friends and family can't be there every minute. At a residential treatment facility, those overcoming cocaine substance abuse receive constant care and are almost always watched over.
- Supportive environment. Most residential care facilities have support groups of other addicts who can share their stories and relate to each other. This allows a safe environment of support so that it is more likely that an addict will overcome the abuse problem.
It is not easy to overcome the withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine abuse. It is important to help loved ones find the right help so that they can deal with the unique challenges presented by cocaine substance abuse.