People who experience a cocaine addiction often cannot kick their drug habit without assistance. Whether they are hurting from the addiction along with a mental health condition or just the addiction alone, it is going to take more than willpower to stop using the substance each day.

Cocaine: What it is and how it is used

Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows predominantly in South America. This drug is present in very small amounts in numbing medications such as lidocaine. Currently, cocaine is used by drug abusers — either as a powder or as a rock crystal — to induce a powerful, short-lived “high.”

Users usually inhale the powder through their noses. Once it has been snorted, it will be absorbed into the bloodstream via the nasal tissues, according to information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the National Institutes of Health. The powder can also be dissolved in water then drawn up into a syringe and injected into the person’s veins. The person using crack cocaine will smoke it in a special pipe.

How cocaine addiction develops

As an illicit substance, cocaine works efficiently within the brain to induce highs by increasing levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a “feel-good” brain chemical that affects the circuits in the brain that influence good feelings, as reported by NIDA.

The effects of cocaine can be intense and highly pleasurable to the person using it, depending on how it is used. If injected, the cocaine reaches the bloodstream and brain much more quickly, giving a much stronger high.

What are the symptoms of cocaine addiction?

Why is cocaine so addictive? One answer rests in how it affects users psychologically. Its main addictive effect is psychological, with the user beginning to depend on it more and more as time goes on.

Along with needing to ingest cocaine more frequently, users may also begin using more in a single hit. Users often binge, using the drug several times a day for several days in a row, as found in research gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When they run out, they crash, having to sleep for numerous days.

Treatment must be ongoing

Cocaine addiction is complex and cannot be “cured” in a short time period. Users experience strong cravings leading them to seek out the drug. They must enter treatment for several months to address the craving, psychological addiction. “Oh, but I can quit any time I want to.” Over time, addicts will realize they can’t do so — that they need outside help to begin to control their addiction, the NIDA claimed.

Once addicts know where to get help for cocaine addiction, they will participate in group and individual therapies so they learn how to change their thinking about drug use. Cocaine addiction rehabilitation isn’t easy to achieve. Users may need to enter treatment more than once before they are able to control their addiction.

Finding the right addiction treatment specialists with a Los Angeles drug rehab or mental health facilities in California can be a challenge. Nevertheless, legitimate drug addiction rehabs do exist in Southern California and deserve a look.