Cocaine is highly addictive. Every long-term cocaine user will become addicted sooner or later. Cocaine addiction is a serious disease requiring addiction help, without which it can even be fatal. Find out more about cocaine abuse and how we can help you – or a loved one – stop using cocaine.
Cocaine Addiction Facts and Figures
- An estimated 15.6 million Europeans have tried cocaine.
- In Europe, cocaine is the second most used illicit drug after cannabis, and the most commonly used stimulant drug.
- About 2.3 million young adults aged 15 to 34 (1.9 % of this age group) used cocaine in 2014.
- Spain and the United Kingdom were among the few European countries reporting cocaine use prevalence among young adults of over 3% in 2014.
- The average age at which someone starts to consume cocaine is just 16.4 years old.
- In Spain, 120,000 men and women suffer from cocaine dependence.
- In both the United Kingdom and Spain, cocaine use has remained stable or has been declining since 2008. In Spain, problematic use of cocaine is now at a historic low since 2005 (when a specific prevention programme was launched).
* Source: State of the drugs problem in Europe, Annual report 2015, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
Bespoke Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Everyone deserves a meaningful life. We offer proven and highly effective private cocaine addiction treatment to help you stop using cocaine and stay clean. Our unique, holistic approach, includes a successful combination of medical and psychological treatments, in group sessions or through personal coaching.
From the moment you register with us you are never alone. Our professional, dedicated team is here to help you to take back control, in a pleasant environment where you do not need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. We strongly believe in working together – loved ones can also be involved in the process through our relationship and family counselling.
Our residential treatment for cocaine abuse takes place in the peaceful surroundings of our modern, private clinics in Marbella, Spain. Treatment can be provided in English or Spanish. We look forward to helping you start a new and fulfilling life without cocaine.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is an extremely addictive stimulant drug. It is made from the leaves of the coca plant native to the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia, where native peoples have chewed and ingested the leaves to combat cold, hunger and fatigue for thousands of years. The purified chemical was first isolated from the plant over a century ago and initially used for medicinal purposes. It was even one of the ingredients in early Coca Cola, until it was banned.
As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white powder. Expensive, it is known by many names including coke gold dust, status stimulant and the yuppie drug. It is not uncommon for high-level executives to use the drug on social occasions, or as a stimulant to remain alert while working long hours.
How is cocaine taken?
Cocaine is most commonly snorted through the nose, and rubbed on the gums. The white powder can also be dissolved in water and injected. Cocaine can also be processed to make rock crystals known as freebase cocaine, or crack. In this form it can be heated and inhaled.
When snorted, the user feels the effect within minutes. The ‘high’ peaks and then diminishes after 30-60 minutes. Injecting or inhaling it results in more immediate effects, which also wear off faster. Many users binge on cocaine, taking it repeatedly to feel the same effect since it wears off so quickly. The initial high is followed by a ‘crash’ with feelings of depression, exhaustion, and cravings for more.
What are the main effects of taking cocaine?
Coke, or cocaine is an “upper”– it stimulates the central nervous system, leading to an initial “high”. It can make you feel:
- Active and with increased energy
- Wide awake, alert and clear-headed
However, it can also lead to:
- Erratic, bizarre behaviour
- Reckless and risky behaviour
- Violent behaviour
What is cocaine abuse?
Repeated use of cocaine will eventually lead to cocaine addiction, or cocaine dependence. Someone who is addicted to cocaine becomes both physically and psychologically addicted to the drug. They can become unrecognisable to friends and family, becoming tense, irritated and self-centred. Cocaine addiction puts personal relationships under huge emotional strain, and can have extreme financial consequences. Continued use of cocaine or an overdose can also be fatal.
Why is cocaine addictive?
Taking cocaine causes the brain to release more of the neurotransmitter that controls pleasure and movement called dopamine, than normal. Increased amounts of dopamine lead to an elevated feeling of pleasure. However, if someone continues to take cocaine, the brain will try to balance things out again and produce less dopamine. This means that you have to take more cocaine to get the same effect, or to recover from cocaine addiction withdrawal symptoms.
Why is cocaine dangerous?
Taking cocaine can be fatal. Taking it together with other drugs or alcohol greatly increases the risks. One of the most psychologically addictive drugs, the craving for more cocaine or to alleviate withdrawal symptoms can lead a user to take an overdose.
What causes cocaine addiction?
Cocaine addiction can be caused by a combination of various biological (genetic), psychological and social factors. These include peer pressure, easy availability of drugs, or an adverse upbringing. It is not necessary to understand the cause of cocaine abuse before treating the condition – a fire has to be put out even though the cause is unknown.
“To me, addiction has to do with feeling secure and safe. That may sound contradictory, because the result of my actions… what I do during my active addiction… isolates me completely, so I don’t get any security or safety anymore. So it’s contradictory, but the need is there. If I can satisfy that need in a healthy way, my life will become better. That’s also a good point of departure… Am I willing, today, to spend the same kind of time and effort on my recovery?”
Cocaine addiction symptoms
Taking cocaine may seem enjoyable at first – it can make you feel on top of the world, as if you can do or achieve anything you want. However, since cocaine is highly addictive, if you keep taking cocaine over the long-term, you will eventually become addicted. Most people are not aware of just how severe the consequences can be. Stopping with cocaine can be difficult and requires professional cocaine addiction treatment to help overcome the withdrawal symptoms.
What are the main signs of cocaine addiction?
The main signs of cocaine addiction symptoms include changes in mood and behaviour, physical symptoms and social withdrawal.
- You want to stop taking cocaine but cannot.
- You take cocaine in larger quantities or more often than intended.
- You spend a lot of time getting, taking or recovering from taking cocaine.
- You have cravings and urges for cocaine.
- You can no longer manage at work, home or with studies because of cocaine.
- You take cocaine again and again, even when it puts you or others in danger.
- You develop physical or emotional withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop.
What are the main side effects of cocaine addiction?
The initial intense feeling of euphoria is followed by edginess, depression and a craving for more. People who use cocaine often do not sleep or eat well.
Short-term physical effects of cocaine use are:
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
- Increased rate of breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Erratic behaviour
- Anxiety and paranoia
Long-term physical and mental side effects of cocaine abuse include:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Increased risk of stroke
- High blood pressure and heart problems
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Destruction of nasal cavity tissues leading to a loss of the sense of smell
- Weight loss and malnourishment resulting from a loss of appetite, or an increase in weight as a result of hunger and overeating, depending on the pattern of use
- Anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia even leading to psychosis.
How does cocaine addiction affect families?
Cocaine addiction causes emotional trauma, financial distress and has a range of long-term effects for families and loved ones. The financial consequences can be extreme. An average income cannot pay for a cocaine habit. Continuing to abuse cocaine results in impossible costs to finance the habit. Eventually cocaine addicts may lose everything they own, with many going on to commit crimes.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be intense. A person’s level of cocaine abuse determines the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. If you have not used so much cocaine or taken it so often, the withdrawal symptoms will probably be less severe than for someone who has seriously abused cocaine.
“It’s an obsession, a desire that overwhelms everything. To use drugs anyway, to get that one kick, that one high. That I probably felt the first time, but I never found again. That’s the twisted part, in my head. I want to feel that first kick, that first high again. Because it was such a great feeling. But I’m fooling myself enormously. I’m very dishonest to myself if I do that.”
Chris experienced many of the typical cocaine withdrawal symptoms but now leads a happy and productive life, free from cocaine.
Typical cocaine withdrawal symptoms
During the crash that follows the initial “high” that cocaine produces, a cocaine user will have severe cravings for more cocaine to again experience the same high. When someone stops taking cocaine, they will most probably feel empty, despondent, lethargic or exhausted and may have mood swings. They might also have trouble concentrating or remembering things. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are worst in the first five days of stopping with cocaine.
Typical cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks.
What are the dangers of concurrent addictions?
During an active addiction, someone addicted to cocaine may try to alleviate their symptoms by taking other substances such as alcohol, sedatives or medication. Cocaine abusers may also abuse other drugs. Taking alcohol together with cocaine is particularly dangerous. The risk of sudden death for someone using both cocaine and alcohol has been reported to be 20 times higher than someone taking cocaine alone (Kinney, 2009). Similarly if taken together with alcohol, an overdose can be fatal at one tenth the level of cocaine known to be fatal if taken alone (Perrine, 1996). Find out more about the symptoms and side effects of taking cocaine and alcohol.
How can we help you cope with cocaine withdrawal symptoms?
Quitting cocaine is not easy. We would stress that in cases of serious abuse, professional addiction treatment is almost always essential. Depression, paranoia and even suicidal thoughts can result, so anyone who decides to quit cocaine should be monitored for their own safety during the initial period.
At our rehab in Marbella, we help you cope with these and other cocaine withdrawal symptoms, together with any other concurrent addictions such as alcoholism. We focus not only on detox but also treatment after becoming clean, providing short residential alcohol and cocaine detox treatment for less serious cases. We provide 24/7 supervision and medical treatment, including prescriptions and medication related to addiction treatment.
Patients also find that our healthy menu helps on the road to recovery and a life free from cocaine. Our cocaine rehab centres also have fully equipped gym facilities, and swimming pools. Inpatient care includes a regular exercise programme to help you return to a healthy lifestyle.