Cocaine triggers one of the strongest psychological dependencies in users, second only to methamphetamine. This makes it one of the most highly addictive drugs in existence.
How Does Drug Addiction Develop?
Drug addiction, whether to cocaine or another addictive drug, develops with repeated use. As the drug causes the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, the brain may stop naturally releasing them as frequently, so addicts may develop a dependence on the drug to attain a chemical balance in the brain.
Once a dependence on a drug has formed, the addict is likely to have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on how much of the drug the addict was taking and for how long.
Withdrawal symptoms of cocaine include:
- Trouble focusing
- Slower thinking and physical activity
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Feelings of restlessness
- Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
- Inability to become sexually aroused
- Vivid nightmares
- Larger appetite
- Greater cocaine craving
- Muscle aches
- Nerve pain
Understanding Cocaine Addiction
When someone takes cocaine, it stops a neurotransmitter called dopamine from reabsorbing into the brain. This means that it stays in the brain, creating a strong feeling of euphoria. When the cocaine leaves the user’s system, however, the brain will be drained, inhibiting it from producing dopamine on its own. This can lead to feelings of exhaustion, depression, and mood swings. To avoid these negative effects, the user may be inclined to take more cocaine, creating an addictive cycle.
People who take cocaine often start to crave both its physical and mental effects. Cocaine creates higher energy levels, greater self-confidence, and a feeling of accomplishment. Some addicts may even desire the suppressed appetite that cocaine provides, which can cause extreme weight loss.
One of the dangers of cocaine is that the body can quickly become tolerant of it. This means that addicts will struggle to get a comparable “high” from the same amount of cocaine, prompting them to use progressively higher amounts of it.
If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction, contact Dream Life Treatment Center today to learn about our addiction treatment options.