Those struggling with cocaine addiction typically start using cocaine often see quick progression in a way that becomes compulsive. Cocaine use results in experiencing almost immediate dependency to the substance, most people addicted to cocaine continue their use/abuse despite consequences. While addiction is a chronic disease, it is treatable and recovery is possible for those caught in the vicious cycle of chronic cocaine use.
Cocaine addiction and misuse can be caused by how it affects the dopamine neurotransmitter system in the brain. Dopamine is associated with ‘happy’ emotions, the regulation of movement, and the processing of the reward center of the brain. While people using cocaine may feel these highs for a short time, once the drug begins to leave the system, they may experience adverse reactions, including irritability, anxiety, disorientation, and restlessness. This quickly leads to agitation that is again then subsided by another dose of cocaine. Hence the vicious cycle.
As mentioned above these negative effects are often why people regularly use cocaine. It is common to attempt to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which may drive the development of tolerance. High tolerance levels to any substance are dangerous and only lead to a progression in substance use disorders
Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
The below criteria was taken from the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5). If someone meets two or more of the above criteria, there may be a cocaine abuse disorder present.
- Cocaine is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control cocaine use
- A great deal of time is spent in activities, necessary to obtain cocaine, use cocaine, or recover from its effects
- Craving or a strong desire or urge to use cocaine
- Recurrent cocaine use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home
- Continued cocaine use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of cocaine
- Recurrent cocaine use in situations in which it is physically hazardous
- Cocaine use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by cocaine
- High tolerance for cocaine use
- Experience physical withdrawals from lack of cocaine use