You may be wondering if cocaine is addictive. The short answer is yes, and battling an addiction to cocaine is literally a war between the body and the mind. The way cocaine attacks your loved one’s senses, enticing them with promises of euphoria but leaving them feeling bruised and beaten down, is symptomatic of the drug’s deceptive allure. The beginning of their substance use probably started innocently enough, but has now turned into a perpetual compulsion driven by physical need and leading to psychological destruction. Unfortunately, cocaine is an extremely addictive drug that takes most users by surprise. Understanding why this is and learning more about cocaine addiction can help you get your loved one the treatment they need.

How Cocaine Attracts New Users

The neurological factors that cause cocaine addiction are well researched and documented, but there is a simpler factor influencing its prevalence: the perpetual party. Cocaine is notoriously popular among crowds and individuals looking to keep the party going. Wherever, whenever, with whoever – just as long as the party does not stop.

This misconception and the mystique of the atmosphere created by cocaine abusers leads many people to try the drug just to get a taste of the lifestyle. Unfortunately, this taste often leads to a dark and sinister addiction.

Ask anyone who is battling a cocaine addiction and, more often than not, their response will be: I never thought it would get this bad. Chances are your loved one is facing the same situation.

Is Cocaine Addictive After One Use?

Physically speaking, cocaine can become addictive after one use depending on the person using the drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that cocaine stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, which facilitates the development of addiction and drives compulsive, addictive behaviors.

This neurological manipulation can drive a person to chase after that initial feeling, even after one use. This causes them to spiral out of control quickly to achieve that euphoric sensation that cocaine brings.

Considering that nearly six million Americans over the age of 12 admitted to using cocaine in 2017, the potential for your loved one to find themselves lost in the depths of a cocaine addiction rather quickly is not hard to imagine. Additionally, the actual number of people addicted to cocaine continues to increase annually, with an average of one million people using cocaine for the first time every year.

What Makes Cocaine So Addictive?

As a central nervous system stimulant, cocaine elevates vital bodily functions, such as body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. People abusing cocaine will generally experience specific physical traits, including:

  • Dopamine Release: Cocaine works by increasing the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, in the brain. Normally, dopamine is released in response to a rewarding stimulus (like eating or social interactions), and then it’s recycled back into the cell that released it. Cocaine prevents this reuptake, causing a build-up of dopamine in the brain. This results in intense feelings of euphoria or a ‘high’.
  • Rapid Effect and Short Duration: Cocaine acts quickly and its effects are intense but short-lived. This rapid onset and short duration of action can lead to repeated use in a short period of time, as the individual chases the high.
  • Tolerance Development: Over time, with repeated use, the brain starts to adapt to the excess dopamine. This means that the user will need more cocaine to achieve the same level of high, leading to higher doses and increased frequency of use.
  • Changes in the Brain: Prolonged cocaine use can alter the brain’s reward system and other brain systems, which can lead to addiction. These changes in the brain can persist even after stopping the use of cocaine, which can make recovery challenging.
  • Psychological Dependence: Cocaine can also create a strong psychological dependence. The intense euphoria and other desirable effects (like increased energy and confidence) make the user want to repeat the experience.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Stopping cocaine after frequent use can lead to withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, depression, increased appetite, insomnia, vivid and unpleasant dreams, slowed thinking, and restlessness. These symptoms can drive individuals to use cocaine again to relieve the withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine Addiction Can Come to An End with Real, Expert Help

While the grip of a cocaine addiction can be both rapidly impactful and significantly destructive, getting your loved one the help they need to face their substance use disorder and overcome the disease can be achieved.

Finding a treatment center that provides comprehensive diagnostic assessment and proper detoxification protocols are imperative to make sure your loved one’s addiction is properly diagnosed and their symptoms appropriately monitored as they detox.

Fortunately, there are qualified clinical treatment programs available that can guide them through the process and back into a healthy existence. At a treatment center like Ranch Creek Recovery, your loved one will be able to face their addiction and begin their recovery journey with the help and support of those around them.

Individualized, Holistic Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your loved one’s addiction can stop forever, and they can regain their life. With a highly experienced and acclaimed cocaine treatment team, we help addicts quit all forms of cocaine use.

Learn about our cocaine addiction treatment program or contact us today. We’re here to help in any way we can.