Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs on the market. Smoking, inhaling or injecting cocaine has an intense and instantaneous effect. When it enters the body, this substance prevents neurotransmitters – chemical messengers in the brain such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine – from being reabsorbed. This results in the intense feeling of euphoria that is experienced as a ‘high’.
Cocaine’s immediate effect lasts for between 30 minutes and about two hours. Once the euphoria wears off, dopamine levels drop to below baseline, resulting in the depression or ‘low’ that accompanies withdrawal.
In the eyes of the public, the term ‘cocaine abuse’ stirs up images of individuals voluntarily taking part in questionable and destructive behaviours. This social stigma arises from a lack of understanding of this psychological disease. Cocaine is a prime example of the way in which drugs hijack the brain’s emotional system – to a point where abuse of the substance ceases to be a voluntary action. Its damaging effects aren’t just neurological though – it also affects the heart, lungs and respiratory system, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and sexual functions.
The intensity of the compulsion to use this substance centres on the fact that the addict’s emotional areas in the brain register coke as necessary to survival. This is why they end up choosing the drug over their loved ones, their well-being and their life. Moreover, past psychological issues can add to the reasons why an individual would choose to abuse cocaine, stay addicted or relapse.
At Twin Rivers, we advocate abstinence from all mood-altering chemicals and conduct a full medical assessment to ascertain which treatment programme is best suited to the individual. We also base our recommendation on psychological history and the frequency of relapses.
Our care plan is tailored to each person’s specific case and may include complementary therapies, individual counseling, group therapy, workshops, lectures and assignments based on the 12-Step process. We understand the complexity of cocaine addiction and our approach is based on the most recent neuropsychological findings. We also combine our years of clinical experience with genuine compassion.