Cocaine dependence is a psychological need to constantly use cocaine drug and an increased use indicates cocaine dependence. The intense need to depend on the drug indicates increased appetite, cravings and fatigue. People who are accustomed to regular intake of cocaine are tolerant to the euphoric effects of the drug, to an extent that there is a change in personality. The user will find comfort in cocaine than any other activity considered enjoyable. Addicts are also particular about keeping sufficient cocaine.
Increased intake of cocaine causes a person to enter into a euphoric state and it changes the emotional characteristic and thought process of a person. It takes fifteen minutes for the user to remain in a euphoric state and it results in the feeling of intense pleasure and this causes a person to become addicted. Such a reaction affects the central nervous system and brain, and the addiction results in increased social awareness and confidence and the user becomes more talkative.
Effect of withdrawal symptom:
Once addicted, what happens in the process of being less used to cocaine, the effect of less severe cocaine dependence is based on reduced euphoric effect of the drug and the person becomes depressed, tired and feels low, and this is called a cocaine crash. Once a person who is addicted to cocaine stops taking it, he/she experiences a low point caused by unexplained anger, lack of energy and anxiety. These are the physical withdrawal symptoms, and it can last for a short period of time. Users experience psychological withdrawal symptoms as well, where the brain is used to cocaine as a trigger point to experience intense pleasure. The affected person also believes cocaine is the focus to enjoy the pleasures of life such as become highly sociable or get attracted to the opposite sex.
Understanding and dealing with cravings:
It takes time for a user to come out of cocaine addiction, it is however possible to enter into complete recovery. The urge to think of or use the drug even after stoppage of usage results in cravings and it occurs when a person relives past moments and connects to the environment where drug intake was high. The brain adapts to these memories resulting in strong urges to use the drug.
To really determine if a person is experiencing cocaine cravings, watch out for these physical and mental symptoms:
Increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increase in sweat gland activities, increased anticipation, increased energy levels, increased awareness, mild to severe levels of euphoria, more clarity in thought process, increased mood levels, increased irritability, insomnia, increase in body temperature, increased breathing pattern and lack of appetite.
The occurrence of cravings can occur few hours after discontinuation of the drug or after many days or weeks. An important point to remember is it is normal to experience cravings. The average high from inhaling cocaine lasts for 15 to 30 minutes, this is because the drug takes longer to enter the blood stream when inhaled. However, in cases of smoking cocaine, the timeframe of the drug being absorbed into the blood stream is faster, and hence the euphoric feeling lasts for five to ten minutes. After such a short span of intense pressure, the user enters a state of crashing low and craves for more cocaine in larger doses.
The transformation of cocaine use into addiction is not easy to break, it is a common case for a user to be broke after getting his/her paycheck. The following week starts with feeling of anxiety and depression due to reduced dopamine levels. The addict may consume less amounts of cocaine through the week, and once weekend starts the binge-high resumes.
Why does a person get addicted:
Cocaine is a stimulant and when consumed the brain is flooded with chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. In a brain that is not subjected to cocaine use these chemicals are produced and recycled, but in the brain of a cocaine addict these chemicals remain and this is the reason why people experience short euphoric feelings and they just crave for more finding it difficult to quit. Cocaine now becomes the main focus of everyday life and other regular activities like relationships and work take a backseat.
Risk factors that could break the cycle of recovery:
Recovery from cocaine addiction is treated through medication and psychotherapy, it is important to seek help from a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. However it is also essential for an addict to control his/her own thought process. There are factors that will compel a person who is in total recovery to get back to addiction such as
Stress: Research has proven that stress is directly related to increase in cocaine cravings. Researchers from University of Michigan have discovered that there is a drastic increase in adult brain’s sensitivity towards addictive effects of cocaine caused from stress based changes in glucocorticoid receptors during early growth and development.
Environment: Being in an environment where the person took the drug for the first time or often can result in increased cocaine cravings or relapse.
Believing that taking in a little cocaine will not lead to relapse: People are of the view that they can control cocaine addiction and will ingest only small amount of cocaine. This is a risk and little intake can lead to relapse.
Not having a proper preventive plan: Not having an effective prevention plan can urge a person to get into relapse, particularly when his/her thoughts are flooded with stress, guilt and denial emotions.
How to remain calm and stay in the complete recovery phase:
Ponder upon the circumstances that is stressful or sad and work towards finding peace and positivity and gradually work on these aspects.
Whenever you get into a blank state or feeling of boredom and worthlessness, try to do an activity that is enjoyable such as your favorite hobbies or meet up with friends and family or decorate your house.
Try to stay around people who provide you with support, positivity and happiness than negative people.
Maintain a diary and write down your prevention plan and tick the goals achieved.
Pamper yourself with a new outfit, jewelry or perfume.
Browse through positive quotes.
Find inspiration through developing a new passion or hobby.
It takes just self-worth and determination to get over cocaine addiction and live in a happy and positive world.