Cocaine, also known as “blow,” “coke,” “crack,” and “snow” is a stimulant drug that is derived from the processed leaves of a coca plant.  Cocaine it does not produce physical dependence, but cocaine increases the amount of dopamine in the central nervous system.  While users report feelings of supremacy and euphoria, cocaine is a highly dangerous drug, regardless of frequency of use.

Three methods are used to administer cocaine: snorting, injecting, or smoking.  While each leads to addiction, smoking is thought to increase compulsive use.  The intensity and duration of cocaine’s effects are dependent on the method of administration; the faster the cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches the brain, the more powerful the high.

Injecting and smoking cocaine produces an intense high and lasts a short amount of time than snorting where the high is weaker, but the high lasts longer.  Consequently, cocaine is often abused in “binges,” during which repeated, increasingly higher doses are taken in a short period of time.

Cocaine makes the user feel euphoric, energetic, and powerful, but also increases blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate.  Users experience abdominal pain, nausea, aggression, irritability, depression and anxiety.  Cocaine addicts are at an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, respiratory failure, and seizures, all of which can result in sudden death.

Cessation of cocaine use can cause depression, which makes addiction even harder to overcome.  At TLC (The Luminous Care) we understand that the treatment of cocaine addiction is complex and needs to address a variety of emotional, behavioral, and medical problems.  During the beginning stages of cessation antidepressants are often used to counteract the depression experienced during early cessation.