The neurobiology of cocaine addiction

Medications can treat the symptoms related to cocaine withdrawal, but there is no substitute drug that can effectively help a patient recover from a cocaine dependency. Research indicates that cocaine use can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Some studies have shown that those who inject or smoke cocaine have a greater risk of complications than individuals who snort it.

cocaine addiction

In a 2021 national survey, about 4.8 million people in the U.S. ages 12 or older said they had used cocaine in the past year. The rate was highest in the age group (1.2 million people or 3.5%), followed by those over age 26 (3.6 million or 1.6%). When you heat the rock crystal and breathe the smoke into your lungs, you get a high that’s almost as fast and strong as when you inject it.

Cocaine Addiction: How to Quit Cocaine

Cocaine, also known as coke, is a powerful stimulant derived from the coca plant. It is abused by several methods, including snorting it through the nose, smoking it, and injecting it intravenously. The only way to prevent cocaine intoxication and overdose is to avoid using cocaine altogether.

Cocaine also blocks sodium channels, thereby interfering with the propagation of action potentials;[113][72] thus, like lignocaine and novocaine, it acts as a local anesthetic. In addition to this, cocaine has some target binding to the site of the cocaine addiction treatment κ-opioid receptor.[114] Cocaine also causes vasoconstriction, thus reducing bleeding during minor surgical procedures. Recent research points to an important role of circadian mechanisms[115] and clock genes[116] in behavioral actions of cocaine.

Who uses cocaine?

Help from your health care provider, family, friends, support groups or an organized treatment program can help you overcome your drug addiction and stay drug-free. However, completing detox is just the first step in the road to recovery. However, if you or someone you love is struggling with cocaine addiction, you’re not alone.

cocaine addiction

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) available for either cocaine detoxification or longer-term treatment of cocaine use disorders. Thus, the primary treatment for cocaine misuse comes in the form of behavioral interventions. However, medications may be prescribed to help with cravings or withdrawal symptoms.

Mental symptoms

When stimulated by dopamine, cells in the NAc produce feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. The natural function of this response is to help keep us focused on activities that promote the basic biological goals of survival and reproduction. When a thirsty person drinks or someone has an orgasm, for example, dopaminergic cells flood the NAc with dopamine molecules. The receiving cells’ response makes us feel good and want to repeat the activity and reexperience that pleasure. Thus, if you or a loved one are concerned about withdrawal symptoms from cocaine use, contact a healthcare professional for guidance. Medical supervision throughout a cocaine detox can facilitate the monitoring of symptoms and help keep you as safe and comfortable as possible during withdrawal.

Regular use of cocaine can cause someone to become tolerant to the drug, and higher doses must be taken in order to continue to feel the effects that are desired. More and more time may be spent trying to obtain the drug, using it, and then recovering from using cocaine as control over drug use becomes harder. Other duties such as schoolwork, familial obligations, or workplace responsibilities may be overlooked or neglected completely. It may be difficult to rely on people who are addicted to cocaine, and they may withdraw from loved ones and peers, and stop participating in activities or events that they used to enjoy. There are many addiction treatment options available to help people struggling with cocaine addiction.


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