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How to Beat Cocaine Addiction

By Jenny Hunt, Palm Partners Recovery Center

March 13, 2012

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Cocaine’s addictive properties are related to its effect on the body’s reward pathways. It is a strong central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure, in the brain’s reward circuits. This release of dopamine causes the euphoric “high” that users experience when cocaine is ingested. The “reward” effect causes powerful cravings of the drug. Studies in mice found that if you give mouse cocaine every time it hits a lever, it will continue hitting the lever until it has overdosed, not stopping to eat, drink, or sleep. Cocaine can be snorted or injected. The crystalline form of cocaine, known as crack, is generally smoked.

To beat cocaine addiction, the first step you must take is to deal with the physical dependence. When someone has been using cocaine for a long period of time, their bodies become dependent on cocaine and they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit using. Symptoms of withdrawal from cocaine include paranoia, depression, exhaustion, anxiety, itching, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and insomnia, an intense craving for more cocaine, and in some cases nausea and vomiting. Fear of the withdrawal process is often the biggest barrier to treatment for those who want to beat cocaine addiction. Many people who try to beat cocaine addiction at home relapse during the withdrawal phase. A medical detox is the easiest and safest way to get through the withdrawal process.

You must completely detox yourself off cocaine in order to beat cocaine addiction. A professional medical detox process is the best way to accomplish that. Medical detox facilities can ensure that your detox process is safe and comfortable. They administer medications to treat with the withdrawal symptoms and monitor your vital signs to ensure that you are stable through the process.

To truly beat cocaine addiction, detox cannot be the only treatment. Those cocaine addicts who attend detox alone are unlikely to beat cocaine addiction in the long term. Most cocaine addicts need further treatment in order to examine the reasons they used cocaine in the first place, and to learn the skills they will need to truly beat cocaine addiction. A residential treatment center is a great place to accomplish these things. Generally, a stay in a residential treatment center lasts between thirty days and one year. Most addicts stay between thirty and ninety days. In a residential treatment center, you will attend both group and individual therapy. Therapy is an important component when you are trying to beat cocaine addiction.

When you are trying to beat cocaine addiction, the third crucial step is attendance at 12-step meetings and working the twelve steps with a sponsor. After you leave the residential treatment center, it is vital that you work a program, whether it be Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Cocaine Anonymous. Cocaine Anonymous (C.A.) is a 12-step program that uses the Big Book and Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. C.A. is concerned solely with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of individual drug addicts who turn to the Fellowship for help. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind altering substances. All 12-step fellowships suggest that you attend ninety meetings in ninety days, get a sponsor, and get a home group. Your sponsor will take you through the twelve steps and show you how to beat cocaine addiction in the long-term.

If you or someone you know is trying to beat cocaine addiction, call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at

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