Cocaine addiction treatment centres are under more pressure than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic makes the North American opioid problem worse.
Drug overdose rates have increased by 13 per cent in the first half of 2020 with around 130 people dying drug related deaths. Only 17% of people with an addiction are seeking drug addiction treatment.
Cocaine is a stimulant – increasing a person’s alertness and energy. When a person takes cocaine, it increases the amount of dopamine released to the brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the happy chemical and it gives people a feeling of euphoria.
It is a highly addictive illegal drug and even after trying it just a few times the body starts to crave it. Some people physically crave the drug and other’s mentally need the high that the drug gives them. Apparently 15% of Americans have tried cocaine.
The drug is made from cocoa plants that are native to South America. On the street it has many names – coke, crack, snow, blow, Charlie, white and flake are just a few. There are different ways to take it – inhaled through the nose (many people use a rolled-up bank note) or injected into a vein. It can also be smoked once it has been processed into a form of the drug called crack cocaine. It can even be consumed via genital or rectal routes.
People who take cocaine often report not needing as much sleep and many find themselves with a reduced appetite. The more users take cocaine the more immune to the effects the body gets. This means that addicts have to take more and more cocaine to get the effects they are craving. This is the spiral to addiction that so many people encounter that can lead to physical and mental health problems.
Some of the effects of cocaine addiction include paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, aggression, and irritability. There are also physical effects that include unhealthy weight loss, headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, chest pains, and even heart attacks, seizures and stroke. Addiction to cocaine is also related to other serious health conditions like respiratory disease, weakened immune system and hepatitis.
There is support available to help people beat their addiction, but only 17% seek help through drug rehabilitation services.
Cocaine addiction treatment can help people to escape withdrawal of the drug and get their lives back on track. There are lots of different types of addiction treatment and many will depend upon the person and the level of their addiction.
Some people might choose to use a rehabilitation centre, others might use behaviour treatments, others will use drugs to support some of the side effects that arise as a result of cocaine abuse and some people get on better with alternative treatments.
Cocaine addiction is a complex illness and it requires intervention from professionals and often dealing with recovery in a controlled environment is the only answer.
Addiction treatment centres offer cocaine addicts seeking help a safe place to recover under the supervision of trained professionals.
There is a process to the treatment in these centres. It starts with withdrawal from the drugs using a medical detox. This helps to adjust the body to life without cocaine. It is important that this is done under the supervision of doctors and nurses as drug withdrawal can be life threatening if not handled correctly.
Addicts going through withdrawal could suffer from depression, anxiety, fatigue, poor concentration, increased hunger, cravings, nightmares, chills and muscle aches. Cocaine addiction can lead to serious changes to the way the brain works, so mental health support through medication and counseling is a key part of the recovery process.
Some people who are in addiction rehabilitation centres will use methadone as a way to ease their bodies off cocaine. Methadone is an opioid that acts on the same part of the brain as drugs like cocaine, but it doesn’t get you high. Doctors will use this to help prevent withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings and decrease people’s reliance for the drug gradually and over time. Medical intervention is crucial for this approach to ensure the right dosage and use of this method.
The drug Buprenorphine hits the same receptors in the brain as cocaine, but not as strongly. This can also be used to help wean people off narcotics.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, family counseling and other therapies can help with the long-term recovery from cocaine addiction. It is often family relationships, influential friends or environmental and situational factors that cause drug addiction relapses. It is regular therapy sessions that can help to work through these situations and help people to learn how to handle triggers without resorting to drugs to get through them. It is therapy that helps them to cope with day to day life without drugs. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps addicts to recognize situations, thoughts and moods that can lead to drug use and then how to replace the negative thoughts that come with those situations with positive actions and thoughts.
Psychotherapy might be needed to address mental health problems that have arisen as a result of drug addiction.
Some people might opt for contingency management therapy. This is when patients are rewarded for staying clean, but there is some skepticism around what happens when the incentivization stops.
Family therapy is a huge part of rehabilitation as it is the friends and family support group that will help an addict with the recovery. Without that support, the process is so much harder. Sessions with family helps them to understand what is going to happen and how they can help throughout the whole process.
Some people use alternative therapies to help with their cocaine addiction treatment. This can include nutrition, herbal medicine, supplementation, yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture and Reiki.
There are so many different types of approaches for drug addiction support that it is important the person finds the right approach for them. Every treatment plan must be tailored to the specific person.