Cocaine Addiction Treatment in New Jersey - Garden State Treatment Center

Extremely potent and highly addictive, cocaine is one of the most dangerous substances to abuse. Its long-term impact on health could be devastating or even fatal, which makes treating cocaine addiction an especially pressing matter.

Unfortunately, cocaine is one of the most commonly abused drugs not just in New Jersey, but across the entire US. In 2021, around 5 million people (aged 12 or older) reported using cocaine, and according to SAMHSA, it’s the country’s second-most abused illicit drug.

In our Garden State, the number of admissions for cocaine addiction treatment has been steadily increasing and it doesn’t seem like the problem is going away anytime soon.

Thankfully, overcoming cocaine addiction is possible as long as you seek professional help and take appropriate, supervised steps. If you or someone you know suffers from cocaine addiction, this article is here to help you start your recovery journey.

Our guide to healing begins by explaining the effects of cocaine, its addiction development, the signs/symptoms of cocaine addiction, the withdrawal process, and the available treatment options.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

What Is Cocaine and What Does It Do to the Brain?

Extracted from the coca plant, cocaine belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants. These substances increase the central nervous system’s (CNS) activity to make you more alert and boost your cognitive functions.

Some stimulants –such as Adderall and Ritalin– are legally prescribed as medication for treating a range of disorders (for example, ADHD). However, cocaine remains an illegal drug due to its high potential for addictiveness and severe adverse effects on the mind and body,  particularly when used for a long time.

Cocaine elicits its stimulating effect by blocking the dopamine-regulating system in the brain, preventing the reduction of its concentration when it hits a certain limit. In other words, cocaine increases the dopamine levels in the brain beyond normal values.

Dopamine is responsible for sensing pleasure and satisfaction, so by boosting the concentration of this neurotransmitter, cocaine abusers experience a state of intense euphoria.

Following a similar mechanism, cocaine also raises the levels of norepinephrine in the brain. This neurotransmitter takes credit for the sensations of alertness and excitability, so it’s the culprit behind the characteristic cocaine-triggered state of frenzy.

Why Is Cocaine Addictive?

The effects of cocaine are quite intense, but they’re generally short-lived. However, this is the main reason it’s so addictive.

When an at-risk person uses cocaine and experiences its euphoria only to have it die down after a short while, they resort to repeatedly taking the drug in chase of a longer-lasting “high”.

The ease of developing tolerance to cocaine is another reason for the drug’s high addictiveness.

Tolerance happens when the brain gets accustomed to a certain dose of cocaine, so the person doesn’t experience the same intensity of euphoria with their regular dose and ends up increasing the amount taken to achieve the original high.

How Does Cocaine Addiction Happen?

Since cocaine increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain, people have a range of motives to start abusing it, including:

  • The need to increase their alertness and energy levels
  • The desire to enhance their performance for a certain activity
  • The want to experience the pleasurable sensation of euphoria

Additionally, the causes of cocaine addiction can be related to environmental and genetic factors.

For example, individuals who are under excessive stress at work or school turn to cocaine to improve their performance. The same thing is observed in people with a family history of cocaine abuse who are more likely to develop a cocaine addiction.

As such, the causes of cocaine addiction are better identified as risk factors, which include;

  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Overwhelming demands or too high expectations of a person
  • Constant exposure to high levels of stress
  • Personal history of substance abuse, violence, trauma, or mental illness
  • Family history of drug abuse or psychiatric conditions
  • Exposure to peers who use cocaine or other stimulants
Cocaine Addiction Treatment in New Jersey

What Does Cocaine Addiction Look Like?

So, how can you recognize cocaine addiction in a person? Well, you should first be aware that taking cocaine in any dose is a red flag for potential addiction as this drug is highly addictive and has no significant use in modern medicine.

That said, the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction can be behavioral, physical, and psychological. They can also differ depending on the length of abuse.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

  • Erratic behavior accompanied by easy excitability and instability
  • A noticeable tendency for aggression and risk-taking
  • Higher sensitivity to lights and sounds
  • Secretive behavior and changing social circles
  • Talkativeness and sudden shuffling of  topics
  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Developing sleep disorders
  • Excessive borrowing and possible stealing
  • Poor hygiene

Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

  • Agitation and tremors
  • Dilatation of the pupil
  • Runny nose and inflamed sinuses (caused by snorting)
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lack of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased heart rates
  • Elevated breathing rates

Dangers of Cocaine Addiction

  • High blood pressure
  • Nosebleeds and severe nasal infections
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Increased risk of blood clots, strokes, and tears in blood vessels
  • Increase in heart size, which can cause heart failure
  • Lower productivity and compromised work ethics, leading to unemployment and/or dropping out of school
  • Developing mental illnesses like anxiety depression, paranoia, and panic attacks
  • Suicidal and homicidal thoughts

What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?

Stopping the use of cocaine is almost immediately followed by a range of severe withdrawal symptoms, which make successful recovery practically impossible without professional intervention.

Initial cocaine withdrawal symptoms last for three to five days, followed by about two months of prolonged symptoms.

Acute cocaine withdrawal symptoms include;

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Excessive sleep
  • A general feeling of unease and discomfort (dysphoria)
  • Slowed physical and mental activities
  • Unpleasant and vivid dreams

Prolonged cocaine withdrawal symptoms include;

  • Strong cravings for cocaine
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy
  • Mood changes
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
group therapy

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

Treating cocaine addiction may be challenging, but not impossible. The following are the most common treatment options to consider:

Medical Detoxification

Detox is the process of gradually decreasing the cocaine dose for the patient until they’re no longer taking the drug. This is the primary step of treatment where medications are often administered to help ease the withdrawal symptoms.

The duration of this process ranges between 3 weeks to 8 weeks, depending on the severity of the addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Some medications can help alleviate cocaine withdrawal symptoms. They can decrease cravings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, but they must be administered under medical supervision to avoid complications.

Examples of such medications include Bupropion, Disulfiram, Modafinil, Topiramate, and Dextroamphetamine.

Behavioral Therapy

This aspect of treatment is crucial for maintaining long-term recovery and preventing relapse. It involves working on controlling negative behaviors and impulses.

Behavioral therapy includes the following types of treatment:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: Helps patients struggling with cocaine addiction process their thoughts/emotions and understand the underlying reasons for their addiction. It  aims to identify and correct addictive patterns.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy: A type of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on pinpointing triggers are controlling impulses.
  • Contingency management: Helps patients find actionable motives to rectify negative behaviors.
  • Motivational interviewing: aims to find and boost motivation for maintaining recovery and change. It builds upon principles of empathy, adaptation, and understanding.

Support Groups

To ensure that patients suffering from cocaine addiction stay on the recovery track, the treatment plan must incorporate counseling and aftercare approaches.

These include 12-step support programs similar to AA (alcoholics anonymous) as well as non-12-step support programs, such as;

  • Individual counseling, which helps patients develop a better understanding of their inner emotions and work through root psychological problems.
  • Group therapy, which allows patients to build connections with other individuals facing similar challenges.
  • Family therapy, which addresses the impact of cocaine addiction on family relationships and establishes healthy communication routes.
  • Holistic therapy, such as meditation, physical exercise, nature, and massage therapy to promote overall well-being.
group therapy

Conclusion: Getting Help

Cocaine abuse in New Jersey is a persistent problem in New Jersey with potentially fatal consequences.

As one of the most potent stimulant drugs that’s widely regarded as a performance enhancer, overcoming cocaine addiction can be a tough challenge.

If you or anyone you know shows symptoms/signs of cocaine addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us immediately.

Our team at Garden State Detox can guide you through your recovery journey with a personalized addiction treatment plan that’ll help you take back control of your life and realize your better self.

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Published on: 2024-02-29
Updated on: 2024-04-07