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Coke Addiction

March 22, 2023

Ian Young

Coke Addiction

An estimated 21.5 million people used cocaine in 2020, representing 0.4 per cent of the global population.


World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2020 (UNODC)

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant drug that is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America. The drug is a white crystalline powder that is usually snorted, although it can also be injected, smoked, or taken orally. Cocaine works by increasing the levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates pleasure and reward, in the brain. This leads to feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and decreased appetite.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Long-term use of cocaine can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems, including addiction, cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems, neurological problems, and mental health problems. Cocaine use is illegal in most countries and can lead to legal consequences such as fines and imprisonment.



The Party Drug of Choice

Cocaine is primarily thought of by its recreational users as a party drug, as it serves to give people a sense of energy, euphoria, confidence, enthusiasm and sociability. These are great sensations that many people want to have more of, which is one of the main reasons why cocaine is such a powerfully addictive substance since it gives its users some magnificent emotional lifts and helps us play out fantasies of who we believe we want to be perceived as, for longer and longer periods.  However, sadly the feelings that cocaine produces over time require larger amounts of doses and shorter amounts of time to maintain this sweet spot. This is why it is considered so rapidly addictive. 

Some of the reasons why cocaine is considered a party drug are:

Rapid onset and short duration: Cocaine has a quick onset and short duration of action, which can make it easier for individuals to use it discreetly at parties or social events.
Cocaine affects the brain almost immediately after snorting it and effectively immediately when smoked or injected. It changes our state so rapidly and with such conviction that it has become popular as an artificial way of self-motivating and delivering self-confidence. This is a great tool for parties, although over time users begin compromising their values around this and swiftly begin using it in smaller more private affairs or even alone. Typically, most cocaine addicts try to use it without letting others know and move into more selfish and self-centred behaviours fairly quickly. Because the cocaine feels so good (euphoric) the tolerance increases, but the effectiveness of the cocaine diminishes and people need to begin taking twice as much, twice as often, just to feel the same way they did a few weeks previously. 

Increased energy and stamina: Cocaine is a stimulant, which means it gives us sensations of increased stamina and tells our brains that we’re wide awake and alert. This, in a party setting, is a very desirable state to be experiencing, as it can make us feel like the life and soul of the party and we enjoy the attention it can create for us. At least until it doesn’t any longer and we move into the paranoia stages.

Euphoria and sociability: The euphoric feelings that cocaine induces are incredibly high. There have been very few substances or experiences in history that replicate such a strong emotion. Add to this the loss of anxiety and sensations of being suddenly sociable, fearless and carefree, and it becomes apparent why it’s so popular. It’s like we can become a preferred version of ourselves. Like an avatar.

Increased confidence: One of the reasons for cocaine’s popularity is the self-confidence and fearlessness it gives us. This makes it easier for us to approach others, often strangers, and solicit chatter, dialogue, dancing, drinking, or other sociable activities. This reduction in inhibitions makes for a perfect recipe to believe we’re having a great time. Unfortunately, when observed remotely, the people under the influence of cocaine are often self-indulgent, boorish and unappealing.

Cocaine Use In The Entertainment Industry

Cocaine use has been prevalent in the entertainment industry for decades, and many artists and celebrities have openly discussed their struggles with cocaine addiction. The reasons for cocaine use in the entertainment industry can vary. Still, some possible factors include the pressure to perform and maintain a certain image, the fast-paced and often unpredictable lifestyle, and the availability of drugs in social settings.

Cocaine use in the entertainment industry is not limited to any specific genre or area and has been present in various fields such as music, movies, and television. Some famous musicians and actors have publicly discussed their battles with cocaine addiction, including Whitney Houston, Robert Downey Jr., and Lindsay Lohan.

Cocaine use in the entertainment industry can have serious consequences, both personally and professionally. It can lead to addiction, health problems, and legal issues, and can damage one’s reputation and career. Those in the industry need to recognize the risks associated with cocaine use and seek help if they are struggling with addiction. There are many resources available for those who are looking for support, including addiction treatment programs and support groups.



Common Reasons Young People Take Coke

There are many reasons why young people take cocaine and every person is likely to have their justifications or reasons, but typically it’s linked to the specific effects that cocaine gives them. However, here are some of the common reasons why young people may be finding comfort in cocaine:

Curiosity: Young people are known to be at a certain age where curiosity often leads them down paths they may never have gone down under normal adult life experiences, and yet here we are. Typically young people will try cocaine because they’re curious about it, having heard various stories about how it makes others feel or even seeing how it’s portrayed on TV and they decide they would like the experience this for themselves to discover if it’s real or fantasy.

Peer Pressure: The biggest source of cocaine for new people trying it is almost uniquely friends who are sharing it to spread the understanding of how great it’s made them feel. However, this social pressure isn’t useful and friends will rapidly drop out of the picture once cocaine takes its hold over the individual. They may well want to join in and participate with their friends and avoid any feelings of missing out (FOMO). They may consider this a vital route towards being accepted amongst their friends and contemporaries.

To Cope With Stress: Cocaine serves as a way of managing stress, tension, pressure or deadlines. It gives the user the sensation that they’re achieving things and so it easily becomes a coping mechanism for some of the many trials and tribulations when growing up, particularly for people with underlying emotional, behavioural or mental health challenges.

To Enhance Performance: Many young people use cocaine because they come to believe in its ability to enhance their performances at work, school/college/university, sports, or other creative activities.  Whilst using drugs may sound counterproductive to non-users, to those who’ve tried and experienced the euphoria that comes with cocaine usage, this is no myth. It feels very real to them.

To Party or Have Fun: Cocaine has been portrayed in the media, particularly in Hollywood movies, as a great tool for partying and party culture. Displayed all too often as rendering the user cool, it has created its own identity for young people to associate success and celebrations with its usage, and as a way to enhance their own social life, romantic life and career, particularly from an angle of feeling more energised and confident.


Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Addiction to cocaine, like all other stimulants, is largely psychological, but yet seriously complex and can have major physical, mental, spiritual and social consequences.

Symptoms and signs that may indicate cocaine addiction:

Increased Tolerance: As with most drugs, including alcohol, but probably even more relevant with cocaine (and other stimulants like crystal meth) as a person moves along their cycle of attachment towards the usage of a particular drug, their need for more and more becomes obvious. Their tolerance increases and they begin to crave larger doses, more frequently causing the situation to grow and exasperate even more over time. The same feelings of elation and euphoria require significantly larger doses over shorter periods, which is massively dangerous for the toxicity levels inside someone’s body and leads to an increased risk of overdose.

Withdrawal Symptoms: The efforts by users of cocaine, particularly addicted ones, to stop using or to cut down on their usage becomes tougher and tougher as they become more and more dependent upon the properties of cocaine to lift them emotionally. When we stop we sink into the opposite properties of depression, tiredness, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, self-loathing and even suicide contemplation.

Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: Once someone has crossed the invisible line of addiction to cocaine and become psychologically dependent, they will find themselves in a seriously committed relationship between themselves and the continued sourcing and using of the drug to attempt to maintain a feeling of normalises in their life. Despite challenges including (but not limited to) work, finance, relationships (personal, professional and romantic), or legal/criminal issues, the addicted person can no longer stop themselves from sliding down further into negative consequences. 

Obsessions: Once someone is on the journey of becoming addicted to a substance like cocaine, they begin to have overwhelming thoughts about consuming the narcotic. These thoughts become louder and more powerful inside our minds and typically become so overpowering that eventually, we resign ourselves to using them again. We find it more and more tricky to shut the voices up until eventually we believe the story that this time we will only have just one (line, pipe, hit, etc) to shut the voice down. However, we never really only have “one” because once we’ve had some then the cravings kick in and we cannot stop ourselves from consuming more and more.

Cravings: Once someone has begun consuming cocaine on any given day, it is highly likely that they will continue to use it, as it floods their body to such a state that as the drug begins to wear off, the user craves more and more of the narcotic to attempt to replicate or maintain the sensations. These cravings intensify the more and more we use the drug as our body begins requiring them to reproduce the euphoric feelings and emotions.

Changes In Behaviour: As someone’s path into cocaine addiction continues, they will begin to exhibit changes in their behaviours, attitudes and socialisation, This includes increased secrecy, isolation, dishonesty and deception. As this continues over time, their levels of selfishness and atonement of others become exaggerated.

Physical Symptoms: Cocaine is a dangerous drug to overconsume because of its relationship to our hearts. It elevates our blood pressure and significantly increases our heart rate. Anyone with any sort of heart condition is strongly advised to stay away from cocaine as misadventure could lead to fatalities. Cocaine also decreases our appetite, dilates our pupils, treats insomnia and promotes hyperactivity.

Psychological Symptoms: The damage that cocaine causes its users, particularly hard users, over time is profound. Aside from the euphoria it leads to nervousness, restlessness, agitation, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, and even hallucinations, though to what. the degree depends on each individual and their genetic composition, though no one is immune from these negative consequences over time.

Physical Symptoms of Coke Addiction

Cocaine addiction will have quite a range of physical symptoms and consequences, which will vary depending on the severity and duration of use, crossed with the composition, experience and tolerance of the individual user.

Here are some common physical symptoms of cocaine addiction:

Changes In Appetite: Cocaine user causes significant loss of appetite, leading to weight loss and a gaunt and unhealthy appearance. Some people proactively eat great deals of foods in-between bouts and binges of cocaine, causing unhealthy weight gain. This contrast leads to severe stress on the heart and blood pressure.

Insomnia or Disturbed Sleep: Cocaine is a stimulant and will keep someone awake, even when they’re withdrawing from the highs of the drug. It can be infuriating to be trying to sleep, knowing you have responsibilities coming up, but unable to rest calmly or quietly as your head will be chattering to itself. Sometimes we have physical convulsions and twitches can develop over time, keeping us awake and leading to the insomnia of gigantic proportions. Certainly, sleep is disturbed and unlikely to be healthy.

Increased Heart Rate & Blood Pressure: Cocaine is a stimulant that will significantly increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke. Also, it’s very easy to overdose on cocaine, particularly if you inject it.

Dilated Pupils: The Cocaine high will dilate the pupils in your eyes, which is an obvious sign of intoxication.

Runny Nose or Nosebleeds: Cocaine is often snorted, which can cause irritation and damage to the nasal passages, leading to runny nose or nosebleeds. This is particularly so when the cocaine isn’t good quality or if it hasn’t been crushed into small enough granules when snorting/sniffing.

Dental Problems: Prolonged and continuous cocaine use can cause significant dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Aside from this being impractical in later life, it is also considered very ugly.

Skin Problems: Cocaine is a toxic substance, which means it escorts toxins into your body, especially when it is cut or diluted with other low-grade substances. This can cause visible skin problems such as rashes, infections, acne, blemishes and sores.

Tremors or Seizures: Long-term cocaine use can easily cause significant neurological problems such as tremors or seizures.



Behavioural Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction typically has an impact on the consumer’s daily life and relationships bringing a range of behavioural changes, the symptoms of which can be quite startling.

Here are some common behavioural symptoms of cocaine addiction:

Changes In Mood & Behaviour: Prolonged chronic or even just acute use of cocaine, will have a major impact on the users’ moods and behaviour, such as increased restlessness, irritability, agitation, anxiety, paranoia and increased mood swings. It typically leads people to higher levels of selfishness, self-centeredness, arrogance and aggressiveness.

Neglecting Responsibilities: Cocaine addiction can become an all-encompassing pastime affecting all areas of our focus, away from responsibilities such as work, family, education, friends and other obligations.

Financial Problems: Cocaine is not a cheap drug, and because of its addictiveness it demands the user to purchase more and more, often outside of their means, leading to significant financial problems, including debt, fraudulent activities or borrowing money they cannot return.

Risk-taking Behaviour: Cocaine use can lead to very risky behaviours, including unsafe or promiscuous sex, driving under the influence, gambling, or even criminal activity, especially when more funds are needed to get or remain high.

Social Withdrawal: Cocaine addiction can easily cause social withdrawal and isolation from family and friends, as the love of the drug outweighs the prospect of being amongst people who aren’t high too.

Secretive Behaviour: Cocaine addiction can lead to secretive behaviour such as hiding drug use, lying, cheating, deceiving, or avoiding questions about drug use or other activities engaged in whilst high or whilst sourcing more cocaine.

Relationship Problems: Cocaine addiction can easily cause problems in relationships such as conflicts, mistrust, or breakups. Imagine if your romantic partner is living a secret life alone without you. Curiosity will then lead to jealousy. Or if you both try using together, at some point you may begin not trusting the other person as they appear to hold back on the amount of available cocaine they have to share.



Psychological Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can also have various psychological symptoms that can affect a person’s mental health and well-being.

Psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction:

Depression: Cocaine use can cause depression, which can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. This is especially true in the aftermath of a binge as our brain is no longer in the high state of euphoria created by the cocaine, but now way down low and feeling sorry, regretful and remorseful. Depression is the polar opposite of euphoria and unfortunately, always comes together when cocaine is involved.

Anxiety: Cocaine use can cause anxiety, which can lead to feelings of stress, worry, fear, panic, and even paranoia.

Paranoia: Cocaine use can cause paranoia, which can lead to suspiciousness and a belief that others are out to harm or deceive them. Typically this paranoia is based upon false evidence and has the user creating wild stories and fantasies in their thoughts, often inducing full conspiracy theories.

Mood swings: Cocaine addiction will undoubtedly create significant mood swings, which can lead to sudden changes in emotions, ranging from happiness and elation to anger, bitterness or sadness.

Cognitive impairment: Cocaine use can cause cognitive impairment, including problems with memory, attention, and decision-making. Cocaine is a mind-altering drug which will change the way you think over time.

Psychosis: Long-term cocaine use can cause psychosis, which can involve hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking. Drug-induced psychosis is a serious consequence of any drug, especially cocaine.

Cravings: Cocaine addiction can cause intense cravings for the drug, which can lead to continued use despite negative consequences. This is the very nature of the description of an addict – someone who continues to seek and consume something despite the negative consequences it’s causing. This is also considered “insanity”.



Cocaine Withdrawl and Side Effects

Cocaine withdrawal can be a straightforward but challenging process, as it can cause a range of physical and psychological side effects, not least insomnia and restlessness.

Common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal:

  • Fatigue & Lethargy
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Intense Cravings For Cocaine
  • Insomnia or Disturbed Sleep
  • Agitation and Restlessness
  • Irritability or Mood Swings
  • Difficulty Concentrating or Thinking Clearly
  • Increased Appetite or Weight Gain
  • Tremors or Shaking
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors (in rare cases)



Conclusion – Seek Professional Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Cocaine addiction can have severe physical, emotional, and psychological consequences, and can even be life-threatening. But it is possible to stop and stay stopped. Recovery from cocaine addiction is very achievable if the individual is willing to change.

Some steps you can take to seek treatment for cocaine addiction:

Acknowledge the problem: The first step in seeking treatment for cocaine addiction is to acknowledge that there is a problem. This can be difficult, as many people with addiction may deny or minimize their drug use. It is important, to be honest with yourself and others about the extent of your cocaine use and the impact it is having on your life. Usually a professional can help you and your loved ones see through this cloud of denial and misdirection to realise the truth of the disease of addiction.

Reach out for help: There are many resources available to help individuals struggling with cocaine addiction. You can reach out to a local addiction treatment centre, a therapist or counsellor, or a support group such as Cocaine Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or even Alcoholics Anonymous. You can also speak with your Doctor or a local Practitioner who may be connected to an Addiction Specialist or a treatment program such as Holina Rehab.

Consider detoxification: Cocaine withdrawal can be challenging, and in some cases, dangerous. It is important to seek medical supervision during the detoxification process to ensure your safety and comfort. A detoxification program can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and prepare you for ongoing treatment. Typically a sedative or Benzodiazepine is used during the detox period, though every individual is different and will require a specific detox regime.

Explore treatment options: There are a variety of treatment options available for cocaine addiction, including individual counselling, group therapy, 12 Step Fellowship such as Cocaine Anonymous and residential treatment programs. It is important to trust whichever option you go down to determine which treatment options are best for you. We typically prescribe a full residential treatment program such as Holina Rehab, followed by the 12-Step Program as used by Cocaine Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The Fellowships are a great resource for long-term recovery.

Create a support network: Recovery from cocaine addiction is a journey, and having a strong support network can make all the difference. This can include family and friends, support groups, and addiction recovery coaches. Consider reaching out to others who have gone through similar experiences to find support and guidance. Most people in recovery are very open about their journey and will share their story with you if it helps you recover too.

Remember, seeking treatment for cocaine addiction is a courageous and important step towards a healthier, happier life. With the right support and resources, recovery is possible.

Please contact us at Holina today and we’ll help you make some great choices to get Back To Yourself.

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Ian is also an Author on the Sober Services Website




More About The Author

Ian Young has worked in the addiction treatment industry since 2003 (in personal recovery since 2001) and has been involved in establishing 5 residential rehabs (in the UK and Thailand). He also has his own private practice “Sober-Services” since 2008 – pioneering Sober Companions & Transporters, as well as emerging as one of the world’s leading Addiction Interventionists. Ian is the Founder & Senior Trainer of Sober Academy, (since 2015) which was the first organisation to help Interventionists and Sober Companions become accredited, certified, and able to become insured practitioners, outside of North America. He went on to co-create EARS –European Association of Recovery Specialists with 6 other practitioners from 7 countries across Europe. The author of “It’s Not About Me”, he discloses his life story, whilst exploring practical and spiritual lessons he’s learned along the way and explaining how the 12-step program has worked in his recovery and his life. Ian’s higher purpose is to co-create a green and harmonious world, through laughter and love, one person at a time.

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