Cocaine Dependence

Cocaine dependence is a serious problem that has psychiatric and psychological implications. Cocaine dependence, also known as addiction, is much more severe and serious than cocaine use or abuse. Dependence is a maladaptive behavior that, over a three-month period, has caused the affected individual to experience tolerance for and withdrawal symptoms from cocaine. Dependence comes with a lot of other problems that negatively affect all aspects of life from health, to personal relationships, to the ability to keep a job, and so on. It can also cause heart, brain, and nerve damage and a variety of serious mood disorders.

Symptoms of Cocaine Dependence

  • ” Compulsive seeking and usage of cocaine
  • ” Increased tolerance to its effects
  • ” Symptoms of withdrawal upon quitting
  • Depression
  • ” Irritability and agitation
  • ” Lack of motivation
  • Sleeping problems
  • ” Anxiety and panic attacks
  • ” Hallucinations
  • ” Psychosis
  • ” Drastic personality changes
  • ” Violent or criminal behavior

Causes of Cocaine Dependence

Researchers are not absolutely positive why some people become dependent upon cocaine and others can use it or even abuse it without becoming addicted. However, there are risk factors that increase the probability of becoming addicted. Repeated use is dangerous because the user will tend to need more cocaine to achieve the effects they desire. Upon coming down or “crashing” from the cocaine-induced high, a user can feel moody, anxious or depressed, and will seek to use more to get back to the high. This is a vicious cycle that can lead to addiction. Peer pressure, especially in high school and college students, is also a major cause for initially trying the drug, which can lead to dependence.

Treatment of Cocaine Dependence

Cocaine dependence may need various components of treatment to be successful. Depending on the severity, medical intervention such as detoxification or rehabilitation could be necessary. Cocaine dependence certainly requires psychological intervention, which can come in the form of one-on-one therapy, or even in a support group. In one-on-one psychotherapy, a trained professional will help you to learn new behaviors, understand the reasons for your current behaviors, and help you to make changes. Cocaine dependence does not only negatively affect your physical health, but your mental health as well. It’s vital to seek mental help from a therapist or a support group as there are many people who understand you and want to help you overcome the addiction. Some people need a combination of these treatments, or even just one form. It’s important to speak with a professional to decide what’s best for you.

What Should You Do?

If you or someone you know is suffering from cocaine dependence, please seek help immediately. The risks to your health and personal life are much too great to continue the use of this destructive substance. You can talk to your regular health care provider for help, speak with a school counselor who can recommend what you should do next, or find a local therapist you feel comfortable with who can help implement treatment for you. No matter what method of treatment you choose, it’s important to seek help and find answers as soon as possible. Taking the courageous step to find more information is a great start to a healthier and happier life.

View Resources

  • Wikipedia – Wikipeda page for cocaine dependence, including risk and treatment.
  • – Information for cocaine dependence, including symptoms, causes and treatments.
  • – Information from a Ph. D. from the Scripps Institute about cocaine dependence and withdrawal.
  • – Information about various treatments for cocaine addiction.

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