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Although cocaine (or “coke”) is often associated with its popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, the drug has in fact been around for hundreds of years via the South American coca plant. Indigenous societies often used it as an anesthetic and stimulant, effects that could be produced by chewing the plant’s leaves. Then, in the mid-1800s, a German chemist discovered and isolated the chemical in the plant that produces its intoxicating effects. He named the chemical cocaine, and it became widely used in medical and pseudo-medical applications throughout Western cultures. Over the next several decades, the drug faded in and out of popularity and eventually became a Schedule II controlled substance — it has a high potential to be abused but can be administered by a doctor in specific medical applications (notably, it is an active ingredient in some topical anesthetics).

Isolated cocaine is significantly more potent and more dangerous than chewing a simple coca leaf. Modern forms of the drug are most often sold as a fine white powder or in a rock form called crack. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 2.2 million Americans currently use cocaine, nearly a quarter of which use crack.

What Is Cocaine and Crack Addiction?

Although they are made from the same basic chemical, cocaine and crack addiction are often very different problems. Cocaine in its powder form can be expensive and therefore associated with use among more affluent groups; however, it by people across all socioeconomic levels. It produces a euphoric high that lasts several hours, making it a popular party or social drug. But its effects in the brain make it addictive; using cocaine floods the brain with chemicals that produce feelings of reward, regulate mood and stimulate wakefulness. With continued use, the brain becomes dependent on the drug to feel happy, awake or sociable, leaving users feeling depleted and depressed. If you are concerned that your own cocaine use or that of a loved one is developing into addiction, there are some ways to know that it’s time to get help. According to the American Addiction Centers, signs may include:

  • Weight loss and changes in appetite
  • Uncharacteristic mood swings
  • Runny nose or nosebleeds
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Sudden or unexplained financial trouble
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Drug paraphernalia such as razor blades or plastic baggies

Crack, on the other hand, is a solid form of cocaine that saw widespread use in inner-city communities for many years in the 1990s and early 2000s. It continues to have a reputation as a low-income drug that traps its users in a cycle of poverty or homelessness — there is truth in this as it is highly addictive, producing a short-lived high that leaves the user craving more very quickly; however, people of all income levels can and do become addicted to crack. While cocaine abuse is often characterized by changes in lifestyle and habits, crack users might be more likely to find themselves in the grip of strong cravings that overtake all other aspects of their lives. Some indications of crack abuse and addiction might include:

  • Intense mood swings
  • Fatigue and erratic sleeping patterns
  • Poor performance or attendance at work, school or other responsibilities
  • Paranoia or hallucinations
  • Limb and extremity tremors
  • Burn marks on the hands and mouth
  • Drug paraphernalia such as spoons or pipes

Whether you are seeing indications of these signs of cocaine or crack addiction or whether you are unsure, both of these drugs are incredibly dangerous to health at any stage of use or abuse. If you are using cocaine or crack, or you suspect that someone close to you might be, it’s important to seek help to stop as soon as possible.

Treating Cocaine and Crack Addiction at The Guest House

The Guest House is a premier addiction and mental health recovery center in Silver Springs, Florida, just outside the city of Ocala. Our programs specialize in providing holistic and long-lasting treatment that focuses on uncovering the underlying causes of our clients’ concerns, such as trauma, grief, stress or otherwise. If you or your loved one needs treatment for cocaine or crack addiction or abuse, we encourage you to reach out to find out if our programs can help. Call us at 855-483-7800 today.