In all cases of Cocaine usage, the drug is either smoked, snorted, or injected, with snorting being the most common method of ingestion. Visit this page to learn more about the health effects of Cocaine usage. While each of these methods create slightly different results, with injections placing the drug directly into the bloodstream, how the drug affects the body remains the same. Understanding this goes a long way in knowing how to stop using Cocaine. When Cocaine is taken, the drug travels through the body and to the brain, where it stimulates the central nervous system. The amount of the drug that reaches the brain depends on the usage method.
For instance, injecting Cocaine will bypass the portion of the process that dilutes the substance. As such, the effects will be much stronger. When the central nervous system is interacted with by the drugs, levels of a neurotransmitter known as Dopamine are raised. Dopamine is a substance in the brain that controls the amount of pleasure a person experienced. Taking a drug like Cocaine causes a huge boost in a persons Dopamine levels, making them feel large amounts of happiness and excitement. Once the drug wears off, the user is left feeling run down and less excited than they were when high.
This leads to the user taking more of the drug in order to experience the same effects as before. As the brain’s reward system becomes used to the effects of Cocaine, the amount of pleasure the user experiences will start to lessen over time, invariably leading to them taking more of the drug in an attempt to gain the feeling of that initial high. This is why it’s so important to attempt to stop using Cocaine as soon as possible after initial usage.
The Dangers of Quitting Without Assistance
As a person continues taking Cocaine, their body and mind will become increasingly dependent on it. When this occurs, it becomes increasingly difficult for the user to quit taking the drug without assistance. When a person has used the drug long enough to become dependent on it, they will go through side effects and withdrawal if they attempt to stop using the drug altogether. For those that have only used the drug a few times, it may be possible to quit immediately. In order to avoid relapsing, it’s important to change behaviors in a way that will stave off temptation in the future.
When attempting to suddenly quit after long-term use of Cocaine, the brain will need time to adjust the dopamine levels to normal. This happens gradually, which is why withdrawal symptoms will present themselves until dopamine levels are balanced. The most common side effects that result when a person attempts to stop using the drug include:
- Cravings of the drug
- Increased Appetite
- Slowed Activities
- Difficulties with sleeping
There are several ways to stop using Cocaine that may work, but oftentimes prove to be too difficult to maintain. Stopping suddenly is attempted on a regular basis, but hardly ever works, as the body has not prepared for such an event. One of the most common forms of quitting is known as stopping cold turkey. This method is designed to prepare the body and mind by slowly easing off the dosage. Strong cravings can still occur with this quitting method, which is why it’s recommended that all Cocaine users seek supervised treatment.
How to Stop Using Cocaine In a Safe Manner
The key to stopping Cocaine usage is to make sure that it’s done in a safe and controlled manner. The only surefire way to accomplish this is through medical assistance with either inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation. Medical professionals can assist in identifying which option is best for each individual. The primary factors that determine this include:
- Current health
- Level of dependence
- Presence of a co-occurring disorder
Co-occurring disorders indicate mental health disorders that occur at the same time as Cocaine abuse.
Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment
Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation typically utilize the same methods of recovery, from one-on-one therapy to group therapy, as well as relaxing activities like yoga. The first aspect of any treatment program is detoxification. This portion of the treatment and recovery phase will allow the user to proceed safely through the withdrawal symptoms that occur after stopping heavy Cocaine usage. Certain medications may also be used to assist with detoxification, including propranolol and diazepam, which is a tranquilizer.
The primary difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is that the former provides 24/7 care in a facility, while the latter works around the recovering addicts schedule, in an attempt to accommodate their job or school requirements. Once treatment has been completed, which typically lasts anywhere from one month to a full year, there are options available to make sure that relapse never occurs. Therapy and support groups dedicated to drug use are the two best options, while staying away from high-risk situations can be essential to avoiding relapse. Once 4-5 years of abstinence from the drug have passed, it’s exceedingly rare for relapse to occur.