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Effective Treatment Options For Those Struggling With Cocaine Addiction

Dec 14

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that falls under the category of stimulants, that can take over the lives of people who consume it. Here’s everything you need to know about cocaine addiction, it's effects, and effective ways an addict can begin treatment; a solid recovery program can reduce the levels of risk of withdrawal with the proper assistance from an accredited addiction treatment center.

While often depicted lightheartedly or nonchalantly in our media & entertainment, whether it be in nightlife, or on a club or college scene, cocaine addiction is a serious & life-threatening problem. It has the potential to cause physical, psychological, and social damage that can last a lifetime. Cocaine addiction can have a negative impact on an individual's life, as well as the lives of those around them.



Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse

Long-term cocaine-use can have a significant impact on an individual’s long-term health. Abuse can affect an individual’s mental and psychological health. Initially, less intrusive health risks will appear. These include:


  • -Heightened anxiety
  • -Car or motorcycle accidents
  • -Behavioral changes
  • -Appetite changes
  • -Insomnia
  • -Impaired memory loss


The longevity of stimulant usage of meth or cocaine (Speed, Crack, Rock, Crystal) can result in psychiatric impairments as well. Although treatment can help manage these symptoms, their effects can last for months, even years after meth usage has stopped. Those who have struggled with meth addiction may experience a sudden reoccurrence in symptoms that can stress-induced. Some extreme long-term health risk of meth abuse include:


  • -Paranoia
  • -Violence (i.e., self or others)
  • -Delusions and Hallucinations
  • -Repetitive motor activities


In correspondence with psychological issues, physical health risks are prevalent among those with long-term meth addiction. These include:


  • -Severe Dental and Mental Problems
  • -Severe weight loss
  • -Bruxism (Teeth grinding and jaw clenching)
  • -Skin sores
  • -Dry mouth & Teeth Grinding
  • -Teeth decay or loss of teeth


Neurological Impairments & Damage Resulting From Cocaine Use

During or after long-term cocaine usage, in the case a deadly overdose does not occur, extremes change in the brain’s chemical structure occur, similarly to a heroin user experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Neuroimaging suggests that meth abuse affects dopamine levels in the brain. The dopamine neurotransmitters that are linked to verbal language and motor skills are severely impaired. Thus, long-term abuse can lead to a significant drop in dopamine. Dopamine deficiency can also cause emotional and mental defects that are long-term. Although abstinence of meth usage can cause dopamine levels to revert to normalcy, the process can be extensive.



Brain Imaging & Findings From Animal Studies

Researchers from the NIH, or National Institute on Drug Abuse have found that animals that were chronically exposed to cocaine resulted in damaging effects and changes in the brains' management of their internal "reward system."

"Use of cocaine, like other drugs of abuse, induces long-term changes in the brain. Animal studies show that cocaine exposure can cause significant neuroadaptations in neurons that release the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Animals chronically exposed to cocaine demonstrate profound changes in glutamate neurotransmission—including how much is released and the level of receptor proteins—in the reward pathway, particularly the nucleus accumbens. The glutamate system may be an opportune target for anti-addiction medication development, with the goal of reversing the cocaine-induced neuroadaptations that contribute to the drive to use the drug." (NIH).


Other areas of the brain are also effected by crack cocaine as well.

This exposure affects many other areas of the brain too. Animal research indicates that cocaine diminishes functioning in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), which appears to underlie the poor decision-making, inability to adapt to negative consequences of drug use, and lack of self-insight shown by people addicted to cocaine.


"A study using optogenetic technology, which uses light to activate specific, genetically-modified neurons, found that stimulating the OFC restores adaptive learning in animals. This intriguing result suggests that strengthening OFC activity may be a good therapeutic approach to improve insight and awareness of the consequences of drug use among people addicted to cocaine." (NIH)


Stress Can Trigger A Relapse For Cocaine Addicts

Although addiction researchers have focused on adaptations in the brain’s reward system, drugs also affect the brain pathways that respond to stress.

Those with substance use disorders, in this case specifically such as cocaine dependence and/or other stimulant substance abuse, also suffering from co-occuring stress related and mental health related disorders such as:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ...
  • Acute stress disorder (ASD). ...
  • Adjustment disorders. ...
  • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD). ...
  • Disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED)

are more at risk for cocaine relapse and brain damage.

"The stress circuits of the brain are distinct from the reward pathway, but research indicates that there are important ways that they overlap. The ventral tegmental area seems to act as a critical integration site in the brain that relays information about both stress and drug cues to other areas of the brain, including ones that drive cocaine seeking. Animals that have received cocaine repeatedly are more likely to seek the drug in response to stress, and the more of the drug they have taken, the more stress affects this behavior. Research suggests that cocaine elevates stress hormones, inducing neuroadaptations that further increase sensitivity to the drug and cues associated with it." (NIH).


Help For Long-Term Cocaine Abuse at a Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center

Despite the long-term effects of cocaine usage, there are many opportunities for improving the health of abusers by admitting to a specialized addiction treatment center. When choosing a treatment center, be sure to find a facility that is credentialed and has a good reputation. One such cocaine addiction treatment program that has a reuptation for success and is trusted as an industry leader is 1 Solution Detox in West Palm Beach. 

1 Solution Detox provides men and women struggling with drug use disorder with the care and compassion they need to both detox and combat long-term risk and outcomes.

This treatment center provides their patients with medicinal and behavioral addiction rehab services designed to help balance their brain chemicals and learn how to cope with the imbalances from addiction. Although recovery from cocaine usage can be a strenuous process, 1 Solution Detox has helped countless addicts get their lives back on track.

To contact 1 Solution Detox or learn more about cocaine addiction or their specialized cocaine addiction recovery program, visit their website at