Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I addicted to cocaine?” If so, you probably already suspect that you have a problem. But you might not be sure how serious this problem is, or how you can get help. Learning the facts about cocaine addiction, treatment, and recovery can empower you to make the best choices to protect your health.
Am I Addicted to Cocaine?
Most people think of drug dependence and drug addiction as two ways to say the same thing. But these terms do not have identical definitions.
As explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction involves behavioral compulsions and social ramifications. Dependence, NIDA reports, refers to the physical effects that a substance has on your body. Using the definitions provided by NIDA, here are some common signs of cocaine addiction and cocaine dependence:
Signs of Addiction
If you have been exhibiting the following behavioral signs, you may be addicted to cocaine:
- Spending large parts of your day seeking, using, or recovering from cocaine
- Missing work, school, or other responsibilities because of your cocaine use
- Using cocaine when it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as in combination with other drugs
- Continuing to use cocaine even after it has caused significant problems for you, such as losing your job or being arrested
- Losing interest in activities or topics that used to be important to you
- Frequently arguing with others about your cocaine use, or lying to them about your behavior
- Pulling away from your family and friends
- Asking yourself, “Am I addicted to cocaine?”
Symptoms of Dependence
- Needing to use larger amounts of cocaine so you can experience the effects that you’re seeking
- Becoming agitated or feeling sick when you’re not able to acquire and use cocaine
The two symptoms of dependence are referred to as tolerance and withdrawal. Developing tolerance and experiencing withdrawal symptoms are clear signs that you need help.
What Does Cocaine Do to You?
When you use cocaine, you experience both physical and psychological effects. The immediate effects of cocaine can be intense, but they usually don’t last very long. If you continue to use cocaine, you may develop by several long-term effects. The presence of certain long-term effects can help you answer the question, “Am I addicted to cocaine?”
Here are a few examples of what cocaine can do to you almost immediately after you’ve taken the drug:
- Your pupils can become dilated.
- Your heart rate can increase.
- You can feel your body temperature rising.
- You may become more energized and more talkative.
- You might feel a boost in self-confidence.
- You might find it virtually impossible to sit still.
- You may feel the urge to engage in risky or dangerous behaviors.
The immediate effects of cocaine can also include overdose and death.
Symptoms of cocaine overdose include dangerously high heart rate, chest pains, hallucinations, vomiting, dramatic change in breathing, and seizure. Anyone who shows signs of cocaine overdose is in crisis and needs immediate medical attention.
If you continue to use cocaine, you put yourself at risk for several long-term effects, such as these:
- Developing tolerance and experiencing withdrawal symptoms
- Sacrificing your personal relationships and professional responsibilities so you can use cocaine
- Experiencing sexual dysfunction, diminished sex drive, and infertility
- Incurring damage to your heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs
- Increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke
- Developing depression, psychosis, or other mental health concerns
- Spending time in prison
Please note that both the short- and long-term effects of cocaine can be devastating. There is no such thing as safe cocaine use.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
Within a few hours of taking your last dose of cocaine, about half of it will be gone from your system. The remainder of your last dose will remain in your body for a few days.
If you take a drug test that screens for cocaine, your risk for testing positive can depend on how recently you used the substance, how much you used, and what kind of test you take.
Cocaine usually stays in your blood for about 12 hours after your last use. If a blood test screens for metabolites (evidence that your body has been processing cocaine), you may test positive for up to two days.
Cocaine and cocaine metabolites will usually remain in your urine for two to three days. If you’ve been using large amounts of cocaine, or if you have been engaging in long-term cocaine use, a urine test may find evidence of cocaine a week or more after your last use of the drug.
Hair follicle tests are the most sensitive. These tests can detect cocaine for several months after the last time you used the drug.
How to Get Cocaine Out of Your System
Your body begins to metabolize, or process, cocaine almost as soon as it enters your system. As noted in the previous section, some cocaine gets metabolized within the first couple of hours. Your body will work to process the rest over the course of a few days.
If you’ve become addicted to cocaine, you may start to feel withdrawal symptoms within a few hours of your last dose. Here are a few common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal:
- Powerful cravings for cocaine
- Extreme fatigue
- Anhedonia (being unable to experience pleasure)
- Anxiety and irritability
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Problems concentrating or focusing
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
The physical effects of cocaine withdrawal can be difficult, but they are not usually life-threatening. The psychological effects can be extremely distressing.
If you try to stop using cocaine on your own, these symptoms can become overwhelming. Knowing that the pain will go away if you use the drug again, you may quickly find yourself once again trapped in the downward spiral of chronic cocaine abuse.
To avoid this outcome, you may want to consider a detoxification program. During detox, you will be under the care of a team of experts. These caregivers can provide you with the support you need to successfully rid your body of cocaine. Once you’ve completed detox, you can then transfer into a rehab program, where you’ll learn how to live a healthy, drug-free life.
Safely Detox From Cocaine in California
Participating in detox at Ocean Hills Recovery can be your first step on the path toward long-term recovery from cocaine addiction. Our cocaine detox program in California is a safe place where you will benefit from round-the-clock care and personalized support. Don’t let cocaine addiction rob you of one more day. Contact us today to learn how we can help.