Cocaine Abuse in Georgia
Cocaine is a stimulant, meaning that when it is used, it causes bodily functions to speed up. It can be snorted, rubbed in the gums, and in some cases, users may even inject it. It can also be smoked in the form of crack. Cocaine not only causes an increased release of dopamine in the brain. It also prevents any excess from being recycled, meaning that it sits there and induces intense feelings of euphoria and pleasure.
The way that it induces dopamine release is what makes cocaine so addictive. Tolerance builds as more and more cocaine is used, causing the brain to actually depend on increasing amounts to produce the dopamine that it can no longer naturally make. This is how addiction occurs so quickly.
- There were 300 cocaine overdose deaths in 2020.
- Around 1,200 people visited the ER for cocaine overdose in that same year.
- It’s currently estimated that between 3.6% and 4.2% of young adults ages 18-25 use cocaine.
Stories of Recovery
When you’re stuck in the middle of addiction, it can seem daunting to seek help. Fear and defeat may be overwhelming, and it may seem like sobriety is far from attainable. The following videos show real people’s success stories when it comes to battling cocaine addiction and seeking treatment to get sober.
Physical Signs of Use
Some of the signs of cocaine use are easy to see, and some not so much. Knowing what these signs are can help you seek help or address a friend or loved one who needs help. The signs to look out for include:
- White powder around the nose, lips, fingers, or household surfaces
- Drastic and sudden weight loss
- Burn marks on lips/fingers from smoking
- Intense mood swings or hyperactive behavior
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Excessive drinking or increase in risky behaviors
Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine abuse can cause a variety of different symptoms. Many of these depend upon the method of use. A person who abuses cocaine for an extended period of time has an increased risk for many different health conditions. Regardless of how cocaine is used, it affects the brain and body:
- Dilated Pupils
- Runny or Bloody Nose
- Shaking or Nausea
- Little to No Appetite
- Bursts of Energy
Individuals dealing with cocaine addiction may also face financial difficulties seemingly out of nowhere. They may ask to borrow money, and some may even resort to stealing. It may appear that they have found a new group of friends to hang around as cocaine abusers tend to congregate in groups. They may also experience withdrawal when sober.
DANGERS OF COCAINE ABUSE INCLUDE:
- Heart Attack
- Respiratory Complications
- Contraction of blood diseases from injection
- Constricted Blood Vessels
- Increased Body Temperature, Heart Rate, or Blood Pressure
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Loss of Grey Matter in the Brian
Overdose is another serious risk when it comes to cocaine addiction. Symptoms of overdose include seizures, heart failure, cerebral hemorrhage, or stroke.
Though cocaine abuse typically does not result in physical withdrawal symptoms, it does come with severe psychological distress. Because of that and how addictive this substance is, it can be really difficult to quit. Seeking professional help and peer support is the most effective way to treat cocaine addiction.
There are many different reasons why someone might start using cocaine. It often begins as a party drug or way of increasing energy. That being said, recovery from a cocaine addiction often requires recovery of underlying conditions. Clients will need to work with their individual therapist through CBT or DBT to address these issues and redirect thoughts and behaviors in a positive manner.
There are a few different medications that can be used to reduce cravings for cocaine (Naltrexone, Tiagabine, Disulfiram). Other medications may reduce anxiety (Propranolol, Baclofen). Modafinil can help treat deficiencies in neurotransmitters caused by the addiction.
Peer support can be a critical piece in each person’s recovery journey. These resources can help you find a meeting group that is close to you and full of individuals experiencing the same things. Support groups can help clients develop meaningful connections and relationships that promote sobriety.
- Georgia Cocaine Anonymous: This website provides times and locations for community meetings around the state.