When we think of cocaine we may conjure up its heady days in the 1980s, where cocaine was the drug of choice at celebrity haunts like Studio 54. Cocaine addiction was rampant back then, but then slid out of the limelight when the drug trade was more strictly enforced causing prices to reach unsustainable levels.
Well, it looks like cocaine is making a comeback. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports a 1.6 fold increase in overdose deaths attributed to cocaine since 2010. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has published findings that confirm that cocaine abuse is indeed reemerging in the U.S., citing a 26% increase in cocaine users between 2014 and 2015.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug of abuse that can have devastating consequences to individuals who get caught in its grip. These include addiction, financial ruin, serious health conditions, and something referred to as coke mouth. Coke mouth is the term used to describe the destruction of dental health that results from cocaine abuse.
Cocaine is the powerful stimulant drug that is derived from the coca plant in South America. Cocaine is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Drug dealers often dilute the white powdery substance with other substances, including cornstarch, talcum powder, or baking soda, in an effort to increase profitability. In recent years, cocaine laced with the deadly opioid fentanyl has lead to an increase in overdose deaths. Coke can be snorted, injected, smoked, or rubbed over the teeth, one of the causes of coke mouth.
Cocaine is extremely addictive because of the high. The short-lived effects of cocaine include a sense of intense euphoria, increased energy, sharper cognitive focus, and a sense of invincibility.
Symptoms of a cocaine addiction include:
- Manic mood
- Weight loss
- Sores around the mouth
- Going for long periods without sleep
- Muscle tics
- Risk-taking behaviors
- Drug cravings
- Obsessed about getting high, obtaining the drug
- Financial difficulties
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when drug is not available
As with all substances of abuse, tolerance increases with repeated use of cocaine. Eventually, the individual finds him or herself using more of the drug more often to attain that original high.
About Coke Mouth
Cocaine use results in a condition called xerostomia, or dry mouth, by reducing the production of saliva. Saliva protects teeth and gums, so when it is reduced, the teeth are vulnerable to the drug’s natural acidity, which can rapidly begin to lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
In addition to the dry mouth, cocaine use causes individuals to clench the jaw and grind the teeth, wearing the enamel down and leading to loose teeth. Additionally, coke mouth can include bleeding of the gums, perforation of the palate, mouth ulcers, and infection of the bone. When someone becomes addicted to cocaine, their dental hygiene and maintenance take a back seat, which can result in devastating dental effects often requiring full extraction.
Cocaine Detox and Withdrawal
When cocaine use escalates into addiction, the need for professional addiction recovery services is essential, as coke is very difficult to overcome without support. The process of withdrawing from cocaine can be very uncomfortable, leading many to be inclined to give up on the idea of detox and recovery.
The detox and withdrawal phase of recovery involves the process of eliminating the drug from the body. This necessitates withdrawal management by detox specialists who will monitor symptoms and provide interventions to assist with relieving discomfort.
Withdrawal symptoms might include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Slowed thinking
- Sleep disturbance, insomnia or hypersomnia
- Vivid nightmares
- Increased appetite
- Muscle aches
- Suicidal thoughts
Generally, cocaine detox and withdrawal takes about a week, however the length and severity of withdrawal varies based on the length of time the individual was abusing cocaine and the usual amount of cocaine consumption.
Cocaine Addiction Recovery
Treating the cocaine addiction is the next important step in recovery. This will involve a multi-pronged approach that involves behavioral-type psychotherapies. These help the individual unwind the addictive reflexive behaviors that have kept them ensnared in the drug’s clutches.
These therapies might include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Contingency management (CM)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
In addition to the individual and group therapy sessions, cocaine addiction recovery will also include addiction education, relapse prevention, 12-step programming, and holistic therapies. With a comprehensive addiction recovery program guiding the individual, it is possible to overcome a cocaine addiction.
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