December 4th, 2023
Cocaine is often glamorised in media and popular culture but it has a dark side that many come to know all too intimately. Its euphoric highs are short-lived and in their wake, a trail of devastation affecting health, relationships and overall quality of life unfurls. For those ensnared in the grasp of cocaine addiction, the justifications and excuses to continue its use can seem endless. Yet, the path to recovery, while it may seem impossible at first, is infinitely achievable when you are ready to make a change.
Understanding cocaine addiction
Cocaine addiction is multifaceted and can entangle you on physical, psychological and emotional fronts. Recognising these nuances is crucial to understanding its grip and devising effective strategies for recovery.
On a physical level, when you take cocaine, it immediately affects the brain’s reward pathways, triggering the release of large amounts of dopamine. This neurotransmitter is linked to pleasure, mood and motivation, which causes euphoria, heightened alertness and increased energy and confidence.
However, (as cocaine users know all too well), this high doesn’t last long, which is why the next line, key or bag is always being sought. This repeated use creates a physical reliance where the brain becomes dependent on cocaine, and intense withdrawal symptoms emerge when you try to stop.
Psychologically, some users begin to feel that their self-worth and confidence are intertwined with their cocaine use. Maybe you need cocaine to feel confident, to fit in with your mates or to succeed at work. This psychological dependency can enable casual use to morph insidiously into a compulsive need.
Emotionally, cocaine can also become a crutch which is used to numb feelings of sadness, trauma or anxiety. While this may work on a short-term basis, over time, it can make it difficult to handle any emotions or stressful situations without racking up a line first. Once this emotional connection has been made, it is very likely that casual cocaine use will snowball into a full-blown addiction.
Signs and consequences of cocaine addiction
Cocaine’s power to seduce its users is clear, but its destructive capabilities are equally evident. Physical signs of excessive cocaine use include frequent nosebleeds and damage to the septum, appetite suppression and weight loss, disrupted sleep patterns and issues with aggression, paranoia and dangerous overconfidence.
Psychologically, cocaine addiction and abuse can cause major mental health disruption both during the short-term “come down” and longer term. Chronic cocaine users often struggle with depression, anxiety and compulsive behaviours, which they then use cocaine to manage, perpetuating the cycle.
Beyond the immediate signs, the repercussions of cocaine addiction can infiltrate every aspect of your life. Relationships can be put under enormous strain due to unpredictable behaviour, and aggression, financial troubles can mount as you spend more and more to sustain your habit and there are huge legal consequences for cocaine possession and distribution. If all of that isn’t reason enough to seek a change, cocaine addiction massively increases the chances of severe health issues like heart attacks, respiratory failure and strokes.
Excuses and rationale
It is human nature to find ways to rationalise behaviours that may not align with our values or best interests, and cocaine addiction is no different. However, recognising and challenging these common justifications is essential for recovery:
“I only use cocaine recreationally”
This is a common rationale many people use because…it is true! The majority of cocaine users in the UK are recreational, social cocaine users, restricting it to parties, Saturdays in the pub or the occasional binge of holiday. However, the line between recreational use and addiction is razor-thin, and once you cross that line, it can be incredibly hard to return.
“I use cocaine to stay alert and focused”
Some users lean on cocaine for its stimulating effects, believing it enhances their productivity or creativity at work or in some other area of their lives. However, relying on a substance to manage everyday responsibilities is a clear sign of dependency, even if it is for the right reasons. If you need cocaine to get through a day at work or to function socially, there is likely a deeper underlying cause to address, which will make the crutch of cocaine redundant.
“I’m not like other addicts”
Comparing yourself favourably to others, believing that you are (perhaps rightly) a “functioning addict” or that you are somehow immune to the dangers of cocaine addiction because you can afford it financially are all common excuses. The reality is that everyone is a functional cocaine user until they aren’t, and justifications like “I have a job” or “I can afford my coke without committing crimes” are misleading indicators of control.
“Cocaine is not as bad as other drugs”
Comparing cocaine to perceived “harder” drugs helps some minimise the severity of their addiction. However, drug classification is a tricky business, with scientists, governments and treatment experts rarely agreeing. Cocaine use can cause immense damage to your relationship’s future prospects and can potentially even be fatal, so it doesn’t matter about other drugs; cocaine is dangerous enough.
“I can quit whenever I want”
This classic line of denial underscores the lack of recognition of the grip cocaine addiction can have. Addiction loves nothing better than being able to convince your cocaine use, despite the harm it is causing, is your choice. It means that you will remain in denial no matter what evidence you are presented with. It can be easy to lie to yourself, but the truth remains: these rationalisations are barriers to genuine recovery.
Cocaine recovery plans
Once you make the decision to stop using cocaine, it is time to plan your recovery…plan. If you are a casual user, you may be able to stop on your own without professional help. However, if you have crossed the line of cocaine addiction, assistance from expert recovery services like UKAT is crucial.
This is not just because professional cocaine rehab is more effective; it will also keep you safe. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be both severe and dangerous, so cocaine detox is always safest under medical supervision at a licensed cocaine recovery centre. This will also put you in the perfect place to address the emotional causes of addiction through a combination of therapy, holistic treatment approaches and ongoing support.
Staying cocaine-free after rehab
Crucially, you need to ensure you maintain motivation long after you leave the sanctuary of rehab. This usually involves intending aftercare and support group meetings like Cocaine Anonymous. These services will help you to identify your triggers – the people, places and situations you associate with cocaine use – and devise and follow strategies to prevent relapse.
These may include:
- Surrounding yourself with supportive people
- Stay physically and mentally active
- Practising stress-reducing techniques
- Staying committed to therapy
- Limiting exposure to high-risk situations
Whether you are a social cocaine user or are already in the grips of cocaine addiction, choosing to quit can be the best decision you ever make in your life. It may not be easy at first, but with determination, the right support and the strength to stay the course, it is a battle you can win. Remember, every step you take away from cocaine use is a step towards a healthier, happier and more authentic version of yourself.
If you need professional assistance or advice, UKAT can provide safe and effective cocaine detox, a comprehensive cocaine rehab programme and robust ongoing support. Contact us today, and let us devise the best strategy for your recovery.
No more excuses. Make today the first day of the rest of your life.