cocaine/crack. addiction. treatment.


an introduction to Cocaine addiction

What is cocaine addiction?

Cocaine is the world’s most commonly abused drug after alcohol. It can be processed into cocaine hydrochloride salt, which is a powder. It is also sold as a free base, which can be white to light brown, depending on impurities. The powder form of cocaine can be snorted. It is readily absorbed through any mucous membrane in the body, not just the sinuses. Powder cocaine is water-soluble and could be mixed with water and injected into a vein, but this usually isn’t done because it makes blood vessels tense up so that the high comes slower.

People who are addicted to cocaine find that the longer they use it, the less they enjoy it. That doesn’t mean that it is easy to kick the habit. Cocaine withdrawal is not as intense as withdrawal from some other drugs, but it comes with its own special challenges.

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What To Look For

Signs + Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a stimulant. People who use it occasionally become confident, outgoing, and talkative before the dose wears off. They become temporarily more social. They become temporarily more sexual.

Regular users of cocaine may seem “pumped up” for no reason at all. They don’t have much of an appetite and may lose weight. Their pupils will be dilated. They will acquire unusual sleeping habits and may seem not to need sleep at all. As the addiction progresses, abusers of cocaine may become paranoid, aggressive, and delusional, and experience hallucinations.

A giveaway that someone is using cocaine is the appearance of white powder around the nose. Sometimes people who snort lots of cocaine will develop a chronic runny nose. They may have lots of nosebleeds.

It’s unusual to see needle marks on the arms, legs, hands, feet, or neck of someone who has a cocaine problem except in the few who inject the drug. Injectors will have to keep needles and syringes for their habit. People who free-base cocaine sometimes burn themselves and may have burned fingers and lips.

And anyone who regularly uses cocaine will show signs of going through a lot of money very fast. A gram of coke can cost anywhere from $50 to $250, but a common price per gram is $100. That gram can produce about eight lines of coke, or 20 to 30 bumps (small amounts of coke taken off the end of a key or a fingernail). A once-a-week party habit might cost $2500 to $15,000 per year. A daily coke habit can cost $50,000 a year.

But the most serious effects of cocaine aren’t usually visible. Constantly elevated blood pressure may take a toll on the heart. And constantly elevated dopamine levels in the brain may make it harder and harder to find pleasure in cocaine or in healthy activities that bring joy to life.

Addiction Doesn’t Wait. Neither Should You.


Signs + Symptoms

Many people who use cocaine recognize they have a problem and try to quit on their own.  When they do, the universal withdrawal is a bad mood. The DSM5, the diagnostic manual for the psychiatric profession, states that a “dysphoric” (bad) mood is an essential symptom of cocaine withdrawal. Beyond bad mood, cocaine withdrawal will result in at least a couple of these five symptoms:

  • Fatigue.
  • Bad dreams and nightmares that seem real.
  • Either wanting to sleep all the time or hardly being able to sleep at all.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Either jumpiness (“psychomotor agitation”) or sluggishness (“psychomotor retardation”).

People going through cocaine withdrawal may become delirious. They may experience hallucinations. They may be anxious, depressed, or manic. The less cocaine they take, the more they will want while they are going through withdrawal. Intense mood swings may lead to suicidal thoughts, especially as someone is coming out of  mood of despair with just enough energy to take violent action.

But those are just the psychological symptoms. There are also physical symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal can cause chills, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle aches, and nerve pain.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as 90 minutes after the last dose and last seven to ten days. However, people who have used cocaine over a period of years may go through withdrawal for several weeks. People who have been taking larger doses of cocaine to compensate for their brains’ having become accustomed to the drug may go through more severe symptoms. People who use multiple drugs have worse symptoms of withdrawal. And people who experience the added stress of isolation as they go it alone have worse symptoms and are at greater risk of suicide.

Some people are able to quit cocaine on their own. Most people need help.

Addiction Doesn’t Wait. Neither Should You.

How We Can Help

Karuna Recovery’s addiction treatment program

Karuna Recovery Residences in Los Angeles and West Hollywood provide the help and structure addicts need for rehab and recovery. Karuna can be the starting point for a lifetime of stable sobriety. When you’re going through detox from cocaine, you need a place to live that provides you the physical security you need, along with the emotional support you need. And you certainly don’t need chaotic conditions and management that makes your struggle worse.

California doesn’t have a lot of legal requirements for rehab centers. It’s not unusual for addicts in recovery to have horror stories about rehab centers. But you  can be sure you’re getting the help you need in a beautiful, luxurious living environment at Karuna in three easy steps:

1. Get to know our staff. And get to know some people who live here. Your tour of our residences in Los Angeles or West Hollywood will involve meeting one or two of the residents in recovery. Ask them how they like the house. Ask them about the other residents. Ask them about the management. Ask our management practical questions like what is the policy if you are late with the rent or how we do drug tests or what we do about relapses. See if you feel safe and comfortable with our people.

2. Take a close look at the facilities. No one ever has to move into Karuna sight unseen. You can verify our cleanliness, safety, comfort, and luxury for yourself. You can verify your impressions by reading our online reviews.

3. Ask for help. We’re here to help you get clean and stay sober. But asking for help is the first step.

Let Karuna Recovery Help Today

Schedule your tour with Karuna. If you need to speak with a live person, call 800.563.1215. Karuna Recovery Residences offers homes that care for people who pursue honest relationships, with the accountability and structure that empower a life worth living—one rewarding day at a time.

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Karuna Recovery offers a unique blend of addiction treatment, aftercare, and support services in an effort to truly make a difference when combating the disease of addiction. To learn more about our programs or how we can help find out more today.