Cocaine detox can prevent the unpleasant symptoms or fatal consequences that may result from the rapid cessation of use and can help the patient to remain abstinent from drugs. Cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug that is derived from the coca plant. It can be inhaled, snorted, or injected into a vein with a hypodermic needle. It presents as a white powder and is highly-addictive because of its immediate euphoric effects.
Regular cocaine users often binge, meaning they use the drug over and over again in a relatively short period in order to maintain a high. Users who are under the influence of cocaine can experience a wide variety of physical and psychological effects, included extreme joy and pleasure, hypersensitivity to the senses, increased alertness, irritability, and possibly, paranoia.
Once addicted, people who use cocaine soon incur many negative symptoms, which may be dangerous and even life-threatening, such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, as well as constricted blood vessels.
With prolonged use, other symptoms may incur depending on the usual method of consumption – for example, those who snort may have reduced sense of smell and regular nosebleeds. Those who inject may be exposed to diseases such as HIV or incur damage to tissue and blood vessels.
Addiction Risk Factors
Anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status can become dependent on cocaine. However, certain factors may put some people at a greater risk of addiction.
Among them is genetics – persons who have a close family member who suffers from addiction is twice as likely of developing a dependence, although it may not involve the same substance.
Another factor is environmental. Persons who suffered from neglect, abuse, other childhood trauma have a greater likelihood of abusing cocaine. Also, people who suffer from a mental illness, such as depression, may use cocaine as a means to self-medicate.
How Cocaine Addiction Develops
Cocaine addiction can develop quickly in some individuals, but slower in others. Some may find themselves developing a dependence after a few uses, while others may be able to maintain recreational use for a long period before a true addiction sets in.
Regardless of how long it takes for the dependence to occur, however, the person will begin to experience an intense need for the drug in order to function. Extended use of cocaine alters brain processes and results in a building of tolerance, a condition in which an ever-increasing amount of the drug is needed to satisfy cravings.
At this point, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will result if the person tries to quit using or cut back.
The Cocaine Detox Process
Once cocaine is removed from a user’s system, the body goes through a period of adjustment that may be quite difficult. Cocaine increases dopamine, and when the drug is absent, withdrawal symptoms typically include those that are the opposite of cocaine’s usual effects :
- agitation and restless behavior
- depressed mood
- general feeling of discomfort
- increased appetite
- vivid and unpleasant dreams
- slowing of thinking and activity
- formication (feelings of bugs crawling on skin)
Prolonged use of cocaine in many people will often result in a rapid onset of withdrawal symptoms, sometimes within just a few hours of their last use. Less-frequent users may wait up to 24 hours before symptoms begin to onset.
While the above symptoms are the most common, the intensity and duration of effects will vary among patients depending on the duration and frequency of use. Once withdrawal symptoms begin, most patients will experience adverse effects for 3-7 days, but possibly longer.
During a cocaine detox, dangerous complications may occur. However, around-the-clock supervision in a professional detox center ensures that the client recovers safely and that he or she remains as comfortable as possible.
It is these unpleasant symptoms that often prompt a cocaine user to relapse and return to drug use. When undergoing a professional detox, however, many of the worst symptoms can be relieved through the use of medication, and reduce feelings depression and anxiety, curb cravings, and prevent psychiatric episodes.
Before a cocaine detox, all clients are subject to a full physical and psychological assessment, and information is gathered regarding home life and family history. Our professional medical and mental health personnel use all available facts about a client to develop a plan for detoxification.
Once a plan is in place, patients are prepared for detox and given all essential information about the process.