Cocaine is a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system; depending on the method of administration and the amount taken, the side effects of the drug can last up to several hours. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and is one of the most abused substances in the United States. It was originally used as a topical analgesic in medicine when performing specific types of surgeries, but the medicinal usage of cocaine has since declined.
When initially taken, the side effects of cocaine include increased energy levels and mental alertness, which can make identifying cocaine abusers difficult. After an individual becomes addicted to the drug and begins taking larger doses in order to achieve the original “euphoric” feeling, side effects worsen dramatically, and continued abuse can ultimately lead to depression, paranoia, hallucinations, respiratory failure, and death. Chronic cocaine use actually affects the brain’s cells and neurotransmitters, causing detrimental mental complications.
Treatment for cocaine addiction is essential for the abuser to recover from the physical and psychological trauma of substance abuse. Treatment programs need to address all aspects of the addiction, while simultaneously managing and treating the withdrawal symptoms. The first step in the treatment process for cocaine addiction is usually a detoxification process. Due to the potential for life threatening withdrawal symptoms, detox should be supervised by a medical professional. This aspect of the treatment process is necessary in order to remove the drug from the addict’s system and address the body’s physical dependence on cocaine. The detox process can be physically challenging and painful.
After the detox is complete, the addict generally follows steps to uncover and resolve the underlying mental issues that led to the addiction; in this way, the individual can fully recover from the substance abuse disorder. Treatment programs for cocaine abuse can be completed in inpatient or outpatient centers. Numerous types of centers are available throughout the United States, with treatment programs ranging from faith-based programs to holistic recovery centers. Each of these types of centers may offer different ways for the user to address his or her addiction: one-on-one counseling sessions, group therapy, adventure therapy, meditation, and more. Despite the variety of treatment programs available for cocaine addiction, the goal of the treatment remains the same: to help the addict regain control of his or her psychological state and to fully address all lingering maladies in order to prevent further drug use.