Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Cocaine / Crack Addiction treatments we provide in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba

What is cocaine?

Street names: blow, C, coke, crack, flake, freebase, rock, snow,

Cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive short-acting stimulant, that’s synthetically derived from the coca leaf. This plant is native to such South American countries as Peru, Colombia and Bolivia. It is commonly snorted, injected or smoked.

People who become addicted to cocaine lose control over their use of the drug. They feel a strong need for cocaine, even when they know it causes them medical, psychological and social problems. Getting and taking cocaine can become the most important thing in their lives. Cocaine causes intense highs with intense lows and so the users tend to “binge”—take the drug many times in a single session.

When they stop using they experience what is known as a “crash”. When they crash, their mood swings rapidly from feeling high to feeling distressed. This brings powerful cravings for more of the drug. Cocaine use can lead to severe medical consequences related to the heart and the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Cocaine users can also experience severe paranoia, in which they lose touch with reality. Those with serious cocaine and crack additions will usually go to any length to keep using the substance especially smoking crack, with its rapid, intense and short-lived effects, is the most addictive. Many end up in jail and institutions from the crimes committed to continue to use crack cocaine.

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can include exhaustion, extended and restless sleep or sleeplessness, hunger, irritability, depression, suicidal thoughts and intense cravings for more of the drug. The memory of cocaine euphoria is powerful, and brings a strong risk of relapse to drug use. Cocaine is one of the highest relapse substances on the market.

How does it work in the brain?

It increases levels of the brain’s pleasure chemical, dopamine. Typically, dopamine is released in response to potential rewards such as the feelings one gets from eating food, sex or doing other enjoyable activities. After it is released, it is recycled back into the cell that released it. Cocaine prevents the dopamine from being recycled, which amplifies the dopamine signal and interrupts normal brain communication. This flood of dopamine is what causes cocaine’s euphoric high but when people stop using cocaine the reverse happens “depression” because the re-uptake of dopamine is shut down.

After prolonged usage the cocaine user will eventually build up a tolerance and may feel incapable of feeling the same high as they did before from the drug. This heightens the risk for other adverse physical and psychological side effects from using cocaine.

At Aurora Recovery Centre, we are attentive to the recovery needs of every individual using any addictive drug and cocaine addiction is certainly no exception to this. Each person is unique with their addiction progressing at different rates depending upon their usage, physical, emotional and psychological condition.

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