As cocaine is often used as a recreational party drug, it can be difficult to know when the line between casual use and dependency has become blurred.
If you’re concerned about your cocaine use and are thinking of seeking treatment, this article will help to answer many of the most common questions and concerns around the process of cocaine rehabilitation.
What are the symptoms of cocaine addiction?
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to know whether a stranger on the street is struggling with an addiction. But when it happens to you or someone you care about, there are a number of warning signs that may become clear over time.
Cocaine addiction can manifest in a range of physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms. You do not need to display all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with cocaine addiction.
Physical symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
- A constantly runny nose causing frequent bouts of sniffing
- White powder around the nose
- Increased heart rate
- Higher body temperature
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Sleeping less than usual
- Lack of appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Excessive perspiration
- Problems with swallowing
Psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
- Mood swings
- Extreme agitation and irritability
- Feeling overconfident in short, euphoric bursts
- Restlessness, unable to sit still
- Psychosis and paranoia
- Finding it difficult to make decisions, making poor decisions
Behavioural symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
- Engaging in risky behaviours while under the influence of cocaine
- Watching an excessive amount of pornography
- Hiring escorts
- Displaying impulsive behaviour
- Being deceitful about where they have been and what they have been doing
- Suddenly unable to manage finances, borrowing or even stealing money
Crack cocaine is a faster-acting version of cocaine, providing a shorter and more intense high. It is extremely addictive and can be more dangerous than cocaine, as there is a higher chance of overdose.
Symptoms of crack cocaine addiction include:
- Increased appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Feeling more alert and awake
- A burst of intense energy
- Feelings of extreme euphoria
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue when the drug wears off
If you are concerned that you or someone you can about is displaying any of the above signs and may be struggling with a cocaine addiction, reach out for help straight away.
What are the long-term effects of cocaine addiction?
Many of the above symptoms may be unpleasant, but they will usually fade once the individual has taken the steps to recover from cocaine addiction. However, long-term cocaine abuse can result in a number of serious long-term effects that can take years to recover from. 
It’s important to take swift action once addiction is suspected in order to decrease the likelihood of experiencing the following side effects. Booking into a professional rehabilitation programme early on can mean the difference between a swift recovery and a longer, more difficult journey.
Long-term effects of cocaine addiction include:
- Loss of ability to smell
- Damage to nose resulting in frequent nosebleeds
- Trouble swallowing
- Increased risk of visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Legal troubles
- Financial troubles
- Damage to relationships with friends and family
- Job loss
- Increased risk of stroke and seizures
Do I need to go to cocaine rehab?
If you can relate to any of the below statements, it’s recommended that you reexamine your relationship with cocaine and consider seeking treatment for substance addiction:
- I would like to stop using cocaine but have not been able to reduce my consumption
- I have experienced negative consequences related to my cocaine use but continue to use it
- I have noticed that I need to take more cocaine to experience the same effects
- I’m starting to notice more side effects such as frequent nosebleeds and a faster heartbeat
- My cocaine use has started to affect my job, friendships and/or family relationships
- I spend the majority of my spare money on cocaine, and often need to borrow or steal money to fund my cocaine use
- I find it difficult to imagine my life without cocaine
- If I cannot use cocaine before or during a social event, I will often choose not to attend
- Other people have commented that I may have a problem with cocaine or that I use it a lot
Many people who are struggling with cocaine addiction are reluctant to seek help out of a sense of shame or guilt. They worry that they may face legal consequences if they admit to possession and use of an illegal substance.
Here at OK Rehab, we provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment for anyone struggling with substance abuse. Get in touch today and learn how we can help you recover from cocaine addiction or dependency with a rehabilitation programme that works for you.
How does cocaine rehab work?
The process of cocaine rehabilitation is similar to that of other substance abuse disorders. The most effective method of recovery is within a specialised rehabilitation centre, where patients are monitored 24/7 throughout the withdrawal process and given the opportunity to recover in a safe environment under the guidance of trained medical professionals.
In some cases, medications will be administered to allow for a more comfortable and safe withdrawal experience, particularly if the patient is suffering from a co-occurring physical or mental disorder.
Once the physical detoxification is complete, the psychological stage of treatment can begin. Patients will usually be offered a combination of individual and group therapy, allowing them to express their emotions and work through past experiences as they come to terms with their addiction. This is an opportunity to learn new ways of thinking and develop healthy coping mechanisms, increasing the chances of long-term recovery.
Understanding the cocaine rehab process
The thought of entering a rehabilitation centre can be intimidating, so it can be helpful to gain an understanding of the process before you take that first step.
Cocaine rehabilitation usually involves three stages, all of which are detailed below:
The first stage of treatment is detoxification, which is a medically supervised process that allows the drug to gradually pass through your system until there is none remaining. This can result in a number of withdrawal symptoms, all of which will be monitored and observed in order to ensure your safety.
Once the detoxification process is complete, you will move on to various forms of treatment that aim to get to the root causes of the addiction and understand how your past experiences and/or may have played a role in your prior substance abuse.
These treatments may include cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing and dialectical behaviour therapy which have all been proven to assist in long-term recovery. They provide you with an opportunity to develop your communication skills while discovering new behaviours and thought patterns that add value and fulfilment to your life. 
The support you receive will not end when the rehabilitation treatment plan comes to a close. Your medical team will work with you to set out a relapse prevention plan, anticipating and planning for events and triggers that could lead you to begin using cocaine again.
You may be offered ongoing therapeutic care if needed along with prescribed medications. It’s also recommended that you attend local self-groups in your area including Cocaine Anonymous or SMART Recovery to continue the process of self-understanding and recovery. 
What are the most common cocaine withdrawal symptoms?
Making the decision to stop using cocaine is not an easy one, but it can be one of the most rewarding choices you ever make. The first step is to undergo a detoxification treatment in which the drug is completely cleansed from your system over a period of time, resulting in a clearer mind and deeper motivation to move forward with recovery.
It is recommended that anyone considering cocaine detoxification should do so with the support and guidance of an experienced medical professional. Some withdrawal symptoms have the potential to be life-threatening, so extreme care must be taken.
Cocaine withdrawal can result in a number of symptoms including:
- Feeling irritable and agitated
- Disturbed sleep including nightmares
- Severe anxiety and depression
- Feeling restless
- Suicidal ideations
- Extreme suspicion or paranoia
- Difficulty experiencing pleasure
- Feeling extremely tired and lethargic
What is the 12 Step Programme?
Organisations such as Cocaine Anonymous follow the 12 Step Programme, designed to help individuals accept their cocaine addiction and understand that they have the power to change their thoughts and behaviour.
The 12 Step Programme is most commonly portrayed in popular culture as a form of alcohol recovery, but it is often adapted to suit other substance use disorders such as cocaine.
See below for a summarisation of the 12 Step Programme:
- Accepting the power that cocaine and other substances holds over you
- Believing that a higher power is able to help
- Deciding to put your life in the hands of a higher power
- Looking within yourself to understand your character, flaws and all
- Admitting these flaws out loud
- Understanding that help is needed
- Asking for help from a higher power
- Making peace inwardly with those that you have harmed
- Directly making amends with those that you have harmed
- Continuing to look within yourself, admitting wrongdoings as soon as they happen
- Discovering meditation and prayer as another form of connection
- Reaching out to others who are struggling and offering help to them
You do not need to be religious in order to follow the 12 Step Programme. Many people think of the ‘higher power’ as fate or the universe itself, rather than a specific religious icon. 
If you or someone you care about is struggling with a cocaine addiction, get in touch with our team at OK Rehab today. The first step towards recovery is the most difficult, but also the most rewarding.