Are you or a loved one possibly suffering from cocaine addiction? Cocaine is extremely addictive as it produces an intense euphoric high. You probably started off taking it recreationally, perhaps dabbling at parties or socially at weekends; maybe going on to binging, and progressing to staying up for nights at a time snorting and smoking the drug. You may even have reached the stage where you need a hit just to get out of bed in the morning and carry out the most basic of functions.
Addiction takes numerous forms from excessive use to binging and constantly topping up. However, if cocaine addiction is affecting you or your loved one, it’s important to know that with the correct treatment recovery is possible.
What Are the Different Types of Cocaine?
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant and a highly addictive drug. Derived from the leaves of the Coca plant in South America. It comes in powder or rock form. The powder form is often referred to as “Coke”. Coke is a white powder that can be snorted or smoked. A gram of Coke in powder form can cost you anything from £60-£80.
In solid form heated on a metal spoon and inhaled, it is referred to as “Freebase”. It can also be made into a liquid, or mixed with heroin and injected. This is known as “Snowballing”.
Crack Cocaine is the rock form of the drug and will produce the most intense high; smoked on a pipe, the effects are quickly delivered to your brain.
A Crack Cocaine rock costs between £5 and £20. The intense high the drug produces quickly wears off and the comedown is very unpleasant.
This is what makes the drug so expensive and addictive, as you will want to stay high for as long as you can afford. It is no exaggeration when we hear of addicts claiming they have lost houses, cars, businesses and thousands of pounds of Cocaine.
Facts about Cocaine Use in the UK
What Is the UK Law on Cocaine?
Cocaine, Freebase and Crack Cocaine are all classified by law as Class A drugs. This means it is illegal to possess, sell or give away the drug. Convictions for possession or intent to supply carry hefty prison sentences.
Driving whilst high or with cocaine still in your system can carry the same penalties as drink driving.
Effects of Cocaine on the Body and Brain
The high produced only lasts a short while; from 5 to 30 minutes on average. Your physical health is important and regular use, binging or addictive use can cause your body serious problems, some of which may be irreversible. Sadly, heart attack from overdosing tends to be the main cause of death in users.
If you are snorting cocaine regularly, you could be damaging the lining of your nasal tissue causing sores, bleeding, dissolving the septum in your nose, and potentially causing your nose bridge to collapse. Inhaling the drug might be damaging your lungs, and could cause emphysema and reduced lung capacity.
If you are injecting you will be causing damage to your veins and arteries, possibly causing blood loss and veins to collapse. Abscesses and gangrene can also develop leading to blood poisoning and loss of limbs.
To help reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting a blood-borne virus such as Hepatitis infections and HIV it is advised to avoid sharing your paraphernalia with other users.
If you are mixing cocaine with alcohol or other drugs you are only increasing the chances of these complications developing, and putting yourself in danger of overdosing and death.
Cocaine is extremely addictive due to its effect on your brain when it works well, you may experience the following:
- Increased sex drive
- Alertness and heightened senses
- Feelings or power and confidence
- Reduced inhibitions
It also produces an insatiable appetite for more, which is what may lead you to daily addictive use or binge for days at a time.
Is Cocaine Safe to Use during Pregnancy?
Absolutely not; using whilst pregnant can lead to premature birth and low birth weight. The more you use, the more damage can be caused to your unborn child.
It could lead to developmental problems both physically and mentally for the child, and a great deal of shame and regret for the mother. If you are in addiction and pregnant it is essential to seek professional help to do the best you can for both yourself and your baby.
What Are the Negative Effects of Cocaine?
Everyone reacts differently. Using coke could become your worst nightmare, aside from the health risks. If you have a bad experience while on cocaine you may experience some or all of the following symptoms; the longer you use, the more prone you are to developing them:
- Anxiety and Panic attacks
- Unable to self-calm
- Acting in an uninhibited/seedy or risk-taking way that you regret when sober
- Anger and agitation
- Violent outbursts
- Paranoia (false beliefs that you are being watched or hunted)
- Hallucinations (auditory and visual)
Sadly, things may get worse for you; the longer you use, the more your body will crave in order to gain the same high as in the beginning. You could advance to using crack and injecting to get a more intense high or resort to mixing with prescription and other drugs.
It is our experience that over time you may become withdrawn, isolating in your using, moody, non-communicative, depressed, lethargic, detached from reality and possibly even suicidal.
Despite all this, you may still be compelled to take the drug, we understand that you could be unable to stop by yourself and might have lost all sense of control. If you find yourself, or a loved one, at this stage urgent intervention may be necessary to survive and overcome addiction.
The comedown from cocaine
This could last for days in some cases; whilst you are coming down you will likely have strong cravings for more of the drug and may experience flu-like symptoms. The severity of the comedown will depend on how much you have been using. If you have been up for days and nights, endlessly binging and not eating or hydrating properly the comedown is very unpleasant; you may feel extremely anxious, agitated and paranoid or be completely exhausted and just want to sleep for a long period of time.
Can you die from using cocaine?
It is a very dangerous drug and carries many risks for your body and state of mind. Many have died from overdosing during a binge; it raises the body temperature, increases blood flow, speeds up the heart rate and can cause convulsions, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. So in short, yes you can die from using cocaine, even if you are otherwise young, fit and healthy.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Am I addicted?
Answer the following questions honestly about yourself. It may help you to identify if you have a problem with cocaine that requires professional help and support:
- Do you use cocaine so you can socialise, feeling unable to do so without it?
- Have you had health warnings about your use but still continue?
- Is it affecting your relationships/finances/work?
- Has it stopped working for you?
- Have others expressed that they feel you have a problem with cocaine?
- Do you continue to use despite it “making you miserable”?
- Has it affected your mental and emotional health?
- Do you find yourself using larger amounts to gain the same effect?
- Are you able to stop after just one or two lines or do you end up on a binge?
- Are you hiding your use from others?
- Is it causing you to feel anxious, paranoid, lethargic, and run down?
- Have you committed a crime whilst under the influence?
- Have you done things whilst high you regret afterwards?
- Have you mixed cocaine with alcohol or other drugs to get a better high?
- Are you unable to stop using once you start and carry on until the money runs out?
- Have you stolen or committed a crime to feed your habit?
- Are you unable to stay away from it, despite swearing off it time and time again?
- Do you use on your own?
- Do you need cocaine to function?
- Do you feel suicidal or like there is no hope or point with or without it in your life?
If you can honestly answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a problem that requires help – you could be suffering from addiction.
Is someone I know addicted?
Are you concerned a family member or loved one may be suffering from cocaine addiction? If so, the following signs and symptoms may help you to decide for yourself if they have a problem:
- Do they disappear for long periods of time and come home looking worse for wear, agitated, anxious and exhausted?
- Do they seem to have a permanent cold, blocked nose, or scabs inside of their nose?
- Are their pupils dilated and do they seem overly excited or aggressive?
- Are they restless and full of energy, unusually chatty and confident?
- Have you found any paraphernalia? E.g. small plastic bags, straws, hollowed-out pens, needles, pipes, gauze, burnt spoons, white powder residue, razor blades, oddly placed credit cards, needles?
- Do they owe large sums of money and never seem to have money of their own?
- Do they frequently disappear into the bathroom or their bedroom?
- Have you spotted white residue around their nostrils or mouth?
- Do they isolate in their rooms for long periods of time at night awake and sleep all day?
- Have money or valuables gone missing?
- Do they have little or no appetite and have lost weight unexpectedly?
- Do they seem anxious and paranoid?
- Are they agitated and quick to anger?
- Have they lost interest in relationships, friends and family?
- Do you suspect they may be sleeping with multiple partners or using escort services?
- Have they stopped doing the things they used to once enjoy?
- Do you recognise them from the person they once used to be?
- Are they depressed and unmotivated, only leaving the house to get cocaine?
- Are they defensive when challenged?
- Do they seem to feel the whole world is against them and everything is someone else’s fault?
Is It Safe to Mix Cocaine and Alcohol?
Together they form a chemical called Cocaethylene, a deadly drug in itself. Cocaethylene is produced in your liver when alcohol and cocaine are present together. This life-threatening chemical is very toxic to your body. It can result in immediate death, or your body shutting down over time.
You could be mixing cocaine with alcohol, unaware of the additional dangers; it is very unsafe and highly addictive to mix the two together. It is potentially a very lethal mix that increases the chances of sudden death by 20%.
You probably find if you mix the two together you can drink more without feeling drunk and the high of the cocaine is intensified. However, you are also gambling with organ damage and failure due to drinking for prolonged periods of time.
Mixing cocaine with any drug will increase your risk of mortality, but you may not realise that by mixing it with alcohol, you are putting your life immediately at risk. You could also be increasing the possibility of developing an alcohol dependency. In this case, you could require a full medical detox in order to safely stop using and drinking.
Is There Free Treatment for Cocaine Addiction?
Sadly there is little help available on the NHS. Free rehab, means applying through your local Drug and Alcohol Team (DAT) for funding from the government. Funding is scarce, takes a long time to secure and is only reserved for exceptional cases. The quickest way to access rehab is through private funding.
Your local DAT can provide groups and key worker one to one sessions. Many have also introduced SMART groups, which are aimed at abstinence and goal setting. Cocaine Anonymous also provides meetings and non-judgemental, compassionate support. They are a self-help organisation, so whilst not professionally run, 12 Step fellowships are proven to be hugely successful in the treatment of addiction.
Professional Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
The level of your addiction will indicate the type and intensity of treatment you may need to successfully establish recovery.
Addiction is an illness of the mind; a chronic relapsing brain disease. It will lead you to have lost the power of choice and be at the mercy of your warped thought patterns and overwhelming compulsions. You may have every good reason to stop, yet cannot. It’s heart-breaking for you and for your loved ones to watch. It is understandable and common for all concerned to feel helpless and hopeless. For these reasons it is important to unearth and address the underlying issues and maladaptive thinking and behaviours.
Addiction requires professional specialist treatment and rehab is definitely the best treatment option. However, if you have a lesser problem, some free community services may be enough to get you back on track.
Each area in the UK has a local DAT; you can self-refer into this service and engage with the treatment on offer. Therapeutic measures are the most successful method of overcoming addiction; this may include counselling and holistic therapies, it is not the drug that is the problem in addiction, but your mind continuing to drive you to use despite mounting consequences.
As the leading authority on rehabs in the UK and overseas, we can advise you of all the available options for access to recovery. We advise on both free and private services. Our addiction experts will carry out a complimentary assessment and help you choose the best course of action. If cocaine addiction is destroying you and your families, we can help.
We work with many established and successful rehab clinics all over the country, as well as abroad. All the rehabs we work with are fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
An intensive therapeutic inpatient treatment programme may be beneficial. Tailored to your physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional needs. Proven addiction treatments are:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
- One To One Counselling and Trauma therapy
- Process Therapy Groups
- 12 Step Therapy
- Educational Workshops and Relapse Prevention
- Holistic Therapies; Mindfulness and Meditation, Music, Art, Equine, Acupuncture, Yoga, Tai Chi and fitness
Rehabs are a safe and caring place, with teams of experienced and qualified doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, addiction counsellors, holistic therapists and recovery support workers. All working together to provide you with a haven away from the madness of addiction.
We recommend a minimum of a 4-8 week inpatient programme for cocaine addiction. Secondary care and sober living options are also advisable. Once rehab has been completed, Addiction Helper will help to ensure a seamless transition back into everyday life. We offer free aftercare with the rehab and can arrange private one-to-one counselling sessions. We will do all we can to ensure you remain healthy and well on returning home. There is no quick fix for any type of addiction and no magic pill to take it away. In order for you or your loved one to recover, changes must be made and continued to maintain sobriety.
Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We are passionate about saving lives and helping addicts and their families break free from the misery, terror and pain of addiction.