Cocaine is an addictive, psychoactive stimulant that is generally used recreationally. Cocaine increases the concentration of neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, as well as exciting the central nervous system, resulting in effects such as:
- Increased alertness
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
Combined, these effects reduce the user’s need for sleep and food. For this reason, cocaine is sometimes taken as a performance enhancing drug because it allows people to work for longer.
Crack is a highly concentrated form of cocaine which has the appearance of small rocks. Street names for cocaine include charlie and coke.
Health Risks of Cocaine Use
Long-term cocaine use can lead to a number of serious mental and physical health consequences. Chronic users frequently suffer from depression, anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks. On days following heavy cocaine use, the user may feel down, and exhibit some flu-like symptoms.
A cocaine overdose can result in heart attacks, convulsions and even death. Over time, the drug’s physical effects (increased heart rate and body temperature) can cause long term damage to the user’s vital organs.
Like other drugs, cocaine can produce a wide range of psychiatric symptoms in users. Prevalence estimates of psychosis including hallucinations and delusions in cocaine users has been estimated at anywhere between 29% and 55% of users, and is most common when the substance is smoked in the form of crack. Some studies have suggested that psychosis underpins a large number of the violent and criminal episodes that take place within the context of cocaine use.
Psychosis resulting from cocaine intoxication is not in and of itself distinguishable from other kinds of psychosis. Within the context of other symptoms of cocaine use, cocaine-induced psychosis may be more likely to have unpleasant, frightening, violent, agitated, or vengeful content than other drug-induced psychosis; however, hallucinations of this type are by no means exclusively the result of cocaine use.
Paranoia is also a frequent and pronounced result for persons under the influence of cocaine, and subsequent hallucinations are more likely to be associated with paranoid fixations.
People suffering from cocaine addiction and experiencing cocaine-related psychosis need specialised dual-diagnosis treatment. Dual-diagnosis patients require complex care, integrated in a comprehensive rehabilitation programme. Castle Craig provides such treatment in its Extended Care Unit.
Castle Craig’s Cocaine Detox and Treatment Programme
Castle Craig Addiction Clinic has successfully rehabilitated patients suffering with addiction problems for over 30 years. Our cocaine addiction treatment is personalised to each patient depending on factors such as their pattern of use, the length of their addiction, and other relevant lifestyle factors. Cocaine addicts who are experiencing cocaine-related psychosis need specialized, complex dual-diagnosis treatment which is integrated in a comprehensive rehabilitation programme.
Our treatment programme is based on the principles of the 12 Steps approach, which considers abstinence the only way to treat addiction. Therefore, at the beginning of their treatment, we assist patients in detoxing from all drugs and alcohol. This means that they are in the ideal physical and mental state to begin their recovery from addiction.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine can include:
- Compulsive and repetitive behaviours
- Strong cravings for the drug
How Long Will Cocaine Detox Take?
The duration of the detox period will depend on how long, and how heavily, the patient was using cocaine, and whether they were using any other drugs or alcohol at the same time. Depending on the patient’s physical and psychological state during the detox period, they may be offered medication to ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Throughout the detox period, the patient is supervised by our kind and competent medical team. A safe and controlled environment is of the utmost importance when attempting to detox. For this reason, it is not advisable to do so without medical assistance.
We consider our patients’ spiritual well being as important as their psychological health. To this end, we provide a range of complementary therapies including drumming therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, art therapy, creative writing therapy, equine therapy, and mindfulness meditation.
After they have completed their treatment, we continue to support patients by providing a two year continuing care plan, weekly drop-in therapy sessions, and teletherapy. We encourage them to become involved with local peer support groups, such as Cocaine Anonymous.