Overcoming a cocaine addiction

Cocaine is an addictive, psychoactive stimulant taken as a recreational drug.

Symptoms | Overdose | Cocaine-induced psychosis | Crack cocaine

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
  • Talkativeness
  • Euphoric/Rapid heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sweating

Combined, these effects reduce the user’s need for sleep and food. For this reason, cocaine is sometimes taken so that users can drink more alcohol, for longer without passing out. 

Crack-cocaine is a highly concentrated form of cocaine that has the appearance of small rocks. Street names for cocaine include blow, charlie and coke. The technical-scientific name of cocaine is benzoylmethylecgonine. Other substances used when snorting cocaine include heroin, crack and alcohol.

More about cocaine.

Health and Overdose Risks of Cocaine Use

Long-term drug 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. This phenomenon is often informally referred to as ‘coke flu’.

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.

Cocaine Psychosis: Symptoms and Treatment

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 have been estimated at anywhere between 29% and 55% of users and are 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 dependence 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 Residential Cocaine-Detox and Treatment Programme

Castle Craig has successfully rehabilitated patients suffering from 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 into a comprehensive rehabilitation programme.

Our core treatment for cocaine abuse is made up of specialised addiction group therapy, personal therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT can be particularly effective for treating cocaine abuse. This form of therapy helps the patient to develop new attitudes to both themselves and their addictive behaviour. It teaches them to recognise negative thought patterns and counter them with better coping mechanisms. In addition, we provide family therapy sessions and bereavement therapy where appropriate.

We consider our patients’ spiritual well being as important as their psychological health. To this end, we provide a range of complementary therapies and activities including drumming therapyhyperbaric oxygen therapyartcreative writingequine therapy, and mindfulness meditation.

A crucial component of addiction therapy is the patient’s physical recovery. Prolonged alcohol and drug abuse can take their toll on a patient’s physical health. To begin to reverse these effects, we provide patients with wholesome, balanced meals and a programme of regular exercise. Our secluded, countryside location offers the best environment for patients to begin an effective cocaine recovery process.

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.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression/Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Compulsive and repetitive behaviours
  • Strong cravings for the drug

How does Long Will Cocaine-Detox take?

The duration of a substance-abuse 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. Getting off cocaine should not be done alone or at home.

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. Once cocaine-free, the user can join the treatment programme.

addiction rehab

Dig Deeper

Curiosity, peer pressure, depression, and being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs are common reasons why people try cocaine for the first time. The reasons why they keep going back to it? Well, that varies. More.

More than half of people with a cocaine addiction also have an alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, the combination of these illicit drugs is far more dangerous than either drug alone. Here’s why.