What to Know About Cocaine Addiction in Vermont

Cocaine is a commonly-used drug known for its stimulating effects which can include an elevated heart rate, a short-lived sense of energy or alertness, and a brief feeling of mental “sharpness.”

The drug causes these sensations by interacting with the brain to release dopamine, a pleasure chemical, which floods the brain and causes an artificial “high.”

Frequent users of cocaine quickly become tolerant to its effects and must consume higher and higher quantities for the same effect. This cycle can quickly lead to addiction and dependence.

Cocaine is commonly consumed through snorting into the nose, but can also be injected or smoked. The crystalline form of cocaine has been nicknamed “crack” for the noise it makes when smoked.

Unlike some longer-lasting drugs, cocaine’s effects are typically short-lived, ranging from 5 to 30 minutes at most depending upon how it is consumed. This short high can also lead users to take many doses over a short period of time, increasing their risk of an overdose.

Users who take cocaine habitually are subject to a variety of health risks, including:

  • Increased risk of diseases including Hepatitis C and HIV
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, and uncontrollable behavior
  • Damage to the nose, including bleeding or lack of the ability to smell
  • Risk of overdose, which can lead to heart attack or stroke

Long-term cocaine use can also damage the brain and make it more difficult for the body to stabilize and return to normal levels of dopamine production.

How is cocaine addiction treated?

As with most drugs, people who use heavy amounts of cocaine will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer present in their bodies. Cocaine withdrawal is typically not dangerous but can lead to some physical and psychological complications, so it’s important to seek the advice of a physician and a trained withdrawal specialist before attempting to quit habitual cocaine use.

Among the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal includes, but is not limited to:

  • Exhaustion and lethargy
  • Lack of motivation or depression
  • Inability to sleep
  • Difficulty thinking or “clearing your head”

Once a cocaine user has safely transitioned through withdrawal, they will most often enter a licensed and accredited addiction treatment program, where they will undergo a series of therapies and treatments designed to help establish beneficial behaviors and practices for sobriety.

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