Highly popular throughout the 80s and 90s, cocaine is a naturally occurring drug made from the extracts of the coca bush, a plant indigenous to parts of South America. Cocaine is an extremely addictive narcotic stimulant that provides the user with a short-lived feeling of euphoria, talkativeness and mental alertness. As such, cocaine addiction can occur rather quickly and be a very difficult habit to break.
Cocaine can lead to both a physical and a psychological addiction and requires a period of readjustment once the drug is no longer being taken. Withdrawal symptoms vary in length and severity depending on the length of use and the frequency. Symptoms include:
- intense cravings
- extreme fatigue
- angry or violent outbursts
- decreased motivation
- nausea or vomiting
- muscle pain
- irregular or disturbed sleep patterns
Because cocaine is a complex addiction that includes biological and chemical changes in the brain, as well as various social and environmental factors, treatment for cocaine addiction must address all of these aspects. While there are currently no pharmaceutical alternatives to aid in combating cocaine addiction, new drugs such as selegeline and disulfiram are being tested and show a great deal of promise in clinical trials. Other than that, behavioral intervention such as cognitive-behavioral therapies aid the addict in replacing old habits with new and healthier ones, while helping to change the addict’s way of thinking and their expectancies from drug use. Therapeutic communities are another alternative in which the addict stays at a residential facility for six to twelve months while learning the skills to reintegrate back into society drug-free.