Tag Archives: cocaine addiction

What Does A Typical Cocaine Detox Look Like?

Cocaine use and dependency in the United States is a significant concern. Some officials opine the problem is reaching epidemic status. Statistics compiled by the United States government concluded that, in 2016, more than 10,000 lives were claimed as the result of overdoses. Moreover, during that same year, more than one million Americans tried the drug for the first time.

The Reason Users Grow Dependent On Cocaine

Cocaine is extracted from substances contained in the South American jungle-based coco plant and typically synthesized into a white powder users ingest into their bodies through their nose. However, the substance can also be injected into veins in their arms or smoked.

Substance abuse experts caution that cocaine is amongst the most addictive substances in the world because the chemical possesses the capacity to alter brain chemistry. After ingestion, many users report an almost immediate feeling of happiness, calm, alertness and energy-boost. Unfortunately, however, the brain and body quickly grow dependent upon cocaine and persons must ingest greater and greater quantities to produce the pleasant, if not euphoric effects. Several scientific studies conducted examining the addictive quality of various substances found that cocaine was the second most dependency-inducing drug after heroin.

Cocaine’s Impact Upon The Body

Cocaine can exercise a significantly adverse impact upon the body over both the short and long-term. The immediate potentially harmful impacts of cocaine usage include an elevated heartrate, increased blood pressure, restlessness, anger, agitation and insomnia.

However, over the long haul, addicts can experience a plethora of serious health problems, such as cardiovascular problems like heart attacks, strokes, blood vessel damage, headaches, convulsions, severe damage to the respiratory and digestive systems, liver scarring, declining cognitive functions like memory and concentration, frequent nose bleeds and the diminished or complete loss of smell.

Conquering A Cocaine Addiction

The specific therapy a team of healthcare professionals or in-patient treatment center counselors employ to help an addict overcome their addiction will depend upon several factors, including the length and severity of their dependency, personal health measures like their age, weight and general physical condition and the current state of their mental health.

The Detoxification Process

Typically, the first step in any addict’s treatment and ultimate recovery is the detoxification process, which is often abbreviated simply as detox. Most individuals with any moderate to severe addiction to cocaine or any drug cannot simply quit without experiencing significant consequences.

Because the mind and body become addicted to a substance, abrupt cessation of ingestion will invariably precipitate physical and mental manifestations known medically as withdrawals. Usually, these symptoms begin as quickly as a few hours after the last ingestion and might include occurrences like extreme agitation, restlessness, tiredness, sweating, depression and anger. These events intensify as more time passes since the last ingestion.

In many instances, the worst of cocaine withdrawal symptoms last for only a few days. However, the cravings are extremely difficult and, in some cases, impossible for addicts to conquer and frequently precipitate relapse. Intense psychological yearnings for the drug can last for several months after the drug exists the addict’s system.

The Need For Supervised Detox

For this reason, the detox process is typically best handled inside an in-patient drug rehabilitation facility in which the dependent’s withdrawal can be monitored under strict medical supervision. Effective detox performed in a reputable in-patient facility is typically broken down into three separate phases, the medical detoxification, treatment and aftercare.

Medical Detox

In an experienced recovery establishment, the addict is carefully observed during the withdrawal process and given medications to control any untoward manifestations until the drug has departed their body. Cocaine detox is usually not a long process. However, for dependents with discernible physical or mental health issues, the process could prove more challenging and be of longer duration.

Treatment

Once medical detox is completed, the in-patient facility said individual commits themselves to entering often tailors a program geared towards helping the former dependent adapt to sobriety, identify the reasons they became addicts and learn to lead a happy and productive life free of drugs.

Aftercare

Once the treatment program ends, the recovering addict begins their new life. However, many individuals partake in aftercare programs that involve activities like counseling or recovery programs designed towards helping said persons stay on the straight and narrow path.

Contacting Us

Our in-patient facility is located in Southern Florida. That said, our team of experienced medical and drug counseling professionals have helped numerous addicts from throughout the United States overcome cocaine and other substance addictions. Those yearning to end a cycle of dependency are encouraged to contact us 800-737-0933.

Genetic Therapy Targets Cocaine Addiction

journneurosciThere are 19,000 to 20,000 genes in a human. Each gene specifies something about us. Essentially, they are the recipe for an individual person, and gene therapy is one of the most promising fields in experimental medicine. Researchers are just now beginning to learn how powerful genes are and are now developing tools to aid genes.

For instance, if someone has a gene that greatly increases the chances of a disease later in life, gene therapy could isolate that gene, cut out the section that calls for the disease, and replace it with a “correctly” coded section. While implementing this technology in humans is a bit into the future, the knowledge and know-how is growing. With this knowledge, more improvements to treating addiction are being developed.

One specialized type of gene therapy involves introducing a virus into the system that will insert a unique type of gene into the patient. The new gene is designed to make new receptors grow on the surface of neurons within the cells. These new receptors only respond to a single, designer drug. Researchers are hoping that they can use this new virus method of gene therapy to help cocaine addicts overcome one of the hardest parts of a cocaine addiction – cravings. By engineering a person’s DNA to have these new receptors, doctors will be able to give cocaine addicts medicine that is designed to alleviate these strong cravings.

The method is called designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs, or DREADDs, and although it may seem extreme, cocaine cravings are so powerful that some addicts never overcome them. Oftentimes the mere thought of cocaine can send someone into a relapse. And while some drugs produce painful and dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms, cocaine causes intense mental distress.

“This new approach for treating drug addiction is exactly what is needed because it is targeted to a specific circuit in the brain regulating addiction,” said co-author Peter W. Kalivas, Department of Neuroscience chair at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. It is showing promising results already, and combined with other treatment therapies and counseling, could be a very helpful tool in the future.

Scientists Zeroing in On Cocaine Addiction Treatments

cocaine addiction researchResearchers continue to locate what mechanisms in the brain are responsible for cocaine addiction and how to develop treatments on a biological level. Currently there are no approved vaccines targeted towards cocaine users, though there has been some progress in that area lately.

Unlike people who are addicted to opiates, who are able to take opioid treatment medications, there really aren’t any similar medical interventions for cocaine addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends exploring both medication and therapy, where applicable.

One research group thinks they may have figured out what causes a cocaine depedency in the brain. This breakthrough may provide some hope for cocaine addicts. The study was completed by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute. The scientists found that there appears to be an increase in hypocretin, a molecule in the brain, in people who are addicted to cocaine.

“The results of this study would suggest that the hypocretin system could be considered a pharmacological target, with the hopes that such a medication could be used in combination with cognitive behavioral therapies,” explained Brooke Schmeichel, co-author of the study. The results were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Hypocretin has been known to impact how the brain reacts to various drugs. Upon further research, it was noted that there seems to be a cycle within the brains of cocaine addicts that is started by cravings for cocaine, followed by an increase in hypocretin and then oftentimes use of the drug as a result. This cycle is one of the biological mechanisms that makes staying clean from cocaine so difficult for some addicts. This same cycle is what researchers are looking to eliminate with a cocaine vaccine or anti-cocaine addiction medication.

While scientific research and advances such as these are important for the future of addiction treatment, the fact is that recovery is happening every day at rehab centers such as Genesis House.

Hormone Research May Help Women Addicted to Cocaine

woman using cocaineAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 15.8 million women admitted to using an illegal drug within the last year. While there are still more male addicts than females in the United States, researchers have realized that there are certain fluctuations in the estrogen hormone that may increase the chances that a woman could become addicted. This is important because if researchers can isolate the hormonal changes that make women more susceptible to drug use, they may be able to develop more preventable solutions for drug use in the future.

One particular study is focusing on women and cocaine use, headed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin (UTA). It is being funded by a three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund bio molecular research on the effects of changing hormone levels and molecular effects on behavior resulting from drug use.

“Our study on hormonal effects could lead to customizable and differentiated addiction treatment and prevention measures for men, women, women on hormone-based birth control, post-menopausal women and women on hormone replacement therapy,” said Linda Perrotti, UTA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study.

Perrotti also went on to explain that, compared to men, women tend to experience more intense cravings when they are abstinent from the drug and seem to use more cocaine during periods of relapse. The clear differences between male and female cocaine users is interesting because until recently there was very little focus on the female-specific cocaine research.

Other researchers point out that isolating the study to women is important because it offers insight that previous studies could not. Many of the earlier studies have focused on male subjects, but now that researchers are aware that men and women may have different biological reasons for developing addictions, more studies that focus just on women are needed.

As treatment programs continue to evolve and incorporate new research and strategies, it has become increasingly important to include evidence-based therapies into the curriculum. More research like this can help programs develop and implement more treatments backed by scientific research in addition to other therapies and fellowship benefits.