how to quit cocaine

Quitting anything you have become accustomed to for a while is challenging, and learning how to quit cocaine is no different. What makes it even harder is looking back at the things that once made you feel at peace. Taking the first step away from the drug is probably the most challenging part of recovery. If it helps, keep in mind that your quality of life will be significantly better once you get rid of it.

It is worth pointing out that quitting cocaine does not only mean prohibiting yourself from taking this substance. It also means dealing with your thoughts, emotions, and physical withdrawal symptoms. Learning how to quit cocaine begins by accepting that you have a problem. Know that drug abuse does not result in anything good and will negatively affect your life, especially your relationships. But why is quitting so difficult?

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Understanding the Science Behind Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine high differs from one individual to the other. While some may feel excessively happy or excited, others experience random bouts of energy and self-confidence. The highs are usually short-lived, making users crave more highs. However, have you ever considered what leads to the constant craving? Here is the science behind cocaine addiction

Brain Chemistry

Dopamine is a major player in the brain’s reward center. It acts as a pacesetter, keeping the body cells operating optimally. Whether you need your mind or muscles to work slower or faster, dopamine prepares the brain for the challenge.

The brain’s reward pathway, the mesolimbic dopamine system, is affected by various stimuli like drugs, sex, or food. Cocaine acts on the brain’s limbic system (a set of interconnected parts with different functions) to produce its addictive effects. When cocaine is ingested in any form, it penetrates the brain and increases dopamine levels, leading to a euphoric state called “high.” 

Normally, dopamine is released into the synapse, where it binds to the dopamine receptors. The binding process enables it to act as a chemical messenger, transmitting signals from one neuron to another.

Cocaine ingestion interferes with the normal communication process. It binds to the dopamine transporter, which blocks dopamine removal from the synapse. Blocking of dopamine removal causes a buildup, and the accumulated dopamine produces amplified signals to the receiving neuron. The amount of dopamine connecting to the receptors exceeds the normal amount, which evokes a feeling of intense pleasure.

Consequences of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine has a plethora of effects on the body, which can be physical, mental, or physiological. Let’s explore some of them.

Physical Health Effects

Here are the common physical health complications associated with cocaine abuse:

Cardiovascular diseases

Frequent cocaine use has short and long-term effects on the heart, which can lead to the following:

  • Heart attack– Cocaine is linked to reduced blood flow and increased blood pressure, which can potentially lead to fatal heart attacks.
  • Aortic dissection: Aortic dissection occurs when the inner layer of the aorta tears, making blood leak. This may eventually cause a heart aneurysm.

It’s also worth noting that cocaine causes a rapid increase in blood pressure, a state that could damage both the heart and its vessels. Additionally, it can cause general chest pain, a reduction of oxygen, blood clots, coronary disease, arteriosclerosis, and irregular heart rhythms.

Respiratory Problems

Frequent cocaine use can also result in respiratory problems. Often, we may believe that only cigarettes have lifelong impacts on the lungs, but cocaine, ingested in any form, can also cause life-threatening respiratory problems. Some of the effects of cocaine on the respiratory system are:

  • Fluid buildup in the lungs – scientifically known as pulmonary edema
  • Bleeding of the lungs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pulmonary barotrauma, which causes lungs to expand beyond their usual state

Mental Health Implications

Cocaine has vast mental health implications, such as the following: 

Anxiety and Depression

  • It’s normal for individuals to experience withdrawals after a cocaine high, which manifest in several ways, including reduced motivation and a sour mood. 
  • Prolonged use of cocaine can make the brain less sensitive to lower amounts of dopamine due to the constant hikes during highs, causing a dopamine deficit. Dopamine deficiency can lead to long-term effects like depression and anxiety.
  • Cocaine is a stimulant, and stimulants have been linked to an increase in anxiety levels
  • Most regular cocaine users experience insomnia, which can lead to physical stress and develop into anxiety and depression.

Cognitive Impairments

Psychostimulant drugs like cocaine affect the cognitive parts of the brain, which leads to cognitive deficits. The deficits manifest in many ways, such as impaired judgment and poor decision-making. Cognitive impairment could also lead to seizures and memory loss and may lead to an early onset of dementia and other brain-related diseases.

Cocaine Use: The Challenging Phase of Recovery

This white powdery substance that is cocaine ruins the lives of millions of people around the world. It is a highly addictive drug that gives energy and euphoria to the user. It boosts the user’s senses, attention, and alertness. The drug provides high levels of dopamine to the brain, which causes a “high” feeling. However, it also has considerable negative impacts on the person’s well-being, which we will discuss in the next part of this article.
People who use cocaine tend to try other drugs as well. Cocaine is a rare, sometimes hard-to-get, drug since the government highly prohibits it. The users tend to take cocaine in areas where there is high accessibility to other drugs. Cocaine is also called coke, powder, or blow. As per National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), cocaine is prevalent worldwide.
According to their report, worldwide cocaine use has not seen any decrease since 2019. In 2014, it was estimated that 1.5 million users were only aged 12 or older. The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction has tallied that cocaine is the second most used drug in the European regions.

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Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction: The Dangers of Its Abuse

Cocaine is not just highly addictive; it is also a very dangerous substance. You may catch yourself getting addicted to it while simply “experimenting” with it. Being careful and steering clear of cocaine will prevent life-threatening risks and damages. It has the potential to ruin many areas of your professional and personal life.
That is why becoming familiar with the signs of cocaine use is helpful. If you have a loved one or friend struggling with cocaine, keep reading to learn how to quit cocaine. Here are the physical symptoms of cocaine use: feeling unwell, muscle aches, nausea, stomach upsets, appetite changes, dilated pupils, paranoia, and runny nose. Not only are these symptoms unpleasant, they are also very dangerous signs. Having medical supervision during this phase is advisable to have prompt access to medication once needed.
On the other side, the psychological symptoms are overconfidence, uncontrollable cravings or increased hunger, frequent mood swings, sleeping difficulties, anxiety, and depression.

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Why Getting Clean Matters

Okay so you’ve researched how to quit cocaine, so now what?
When you realize that your drug dependence issues are making your life get out of balance, you must consider quitting cocaine as soon as possible. Aside from being very addictive, cocaine abuse results in serious health problems.
A pinch of cocaine is dangerous since it will leave you craving more after taking that initial dose. Cocaine use constricts the blood vessels, disallowing proper circulation and leading to unhealthy blood pressure. It might also result in overdose or organ failure. Snorting it can damage the user’s nasal cavity and septum.
The negative effects greatly outweigh the “high” feeling. The effects of happiness, concentration, sociability, and being lively will only last for 30 minutes or so. This is short compared to the effects generated by other illegal drugs. These temporary periods of happiness are not worth the lifetime drawbacks of using the drug. A considerable amount of cocaine intake may result in nosebleeds, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, and even death.
Recognizing cocaine use is the first step in the clean-up process. You may not be taking cocaine, but one of your family members could be. Staying vigilant might save a life. Making them realize that they are on the wrong track and badly need help must be done in a safe and quiet environment. Do not ignore the early warning signs. The right time to seek help is now. If you’re looking for an adolescent rehab that accepts insurance, contact our Los Angeles office today.

10 Tips for Getting Clean

Reaching out for help is always an option. Do not be afraid of someone judging you, and never be ashamed of your condition. Many people understand your situation; some might have already walked the same path. Meeting and talking to them would be immensely helpful. There is always hope, and if you want to recover, joining a teen cocaine addiction treatment facility is a great option. There are many amazing centers to choose from in Los Angeles and across the USA.

Many people who have used cocaine have been able to overcome their dependence on their own. While this is not recommended, you should know that a natural way is viable. Here are the things you can do to get clean, that help you on the path of how to quit cocaine.
1) Distract Yourself
When you have cravings, distract yourself for 30 minutes to an hour. You can either watch relaxing videos, talk to other people, listen to music, draw, write poetry, or do things that are not just helpful but also productive.
2) Avoid Triggers by Considering Your Environment
When trying to get clean, make sure that the environment you are residing in does not have access to cocaine.
3) Learn to Cope With Stress Through Safe Coping Mechanisms
The feelings of sadness and emptiness may be overwhelming. Instead of doing drugs to deal with them, do something healthy. Go to the gym to exercise, ride a bike or jog your way to the park.
4) Be Extra Careful With Your Body
Staying healthy while battling addiction is a good way of increasing the chances of your success. Eat and live healthily.
5) Have a Healthy Lifestyle
As mentioned earlier, healthy daily routines are a good way of distracting yourself and getting the happiness you wish for without using any drugs.
6) Don't Give In to Other Addictive Substances
The common mistake of people wanting to recover from cocaine addiction is giving in to other unhealthy habits, such as alcoholism. If you want to change genuinely, you should know that these things would negatively affect your life.
7) Communicate Your Worries and Concerns
If you are feeling worried, say something. During this battle, being vocal with your close ones is important.
8) Seek Therapy From Medical Professionals
Visit a doctor who has specialized in addiction. Ask for their recommendations about the next step in your recovery process.
9) Find Cocaine Treatment Programs Near You

If you are situated in or near Los Angeles, you can always get the help of Key Healthcare. We implement high success rate programs that are specifically tailored just for you. Contact us today.

10) Get Support
While trying to recover alone might work, it is always better to get the support of your loved ones. This way, when you need any help, you will always have someone to fall back to.

Preventing Relapse

Recognizing the signs preceding a potential relapse is crucial for everyone in a recovery journey. The warning signs to look out for include the following: 

Emotional Distress

Recovery might be overwhelming, and most times, the emotional distress might catch you off guard. Some of the symptoms of an emotionally distressed person are mood swings, irritability, constant fatigue, depression, and feeling hopeless. It is, however, important to acknowledge that emotional distress is all part of the journey. You do not have to cave into the temptation of using cocaine; be vulnerable enough to seek help.


While it is beneficial for you to be confident in your ability to recover from cocaine addiction, being overly confident could be a sign of a looming relapse. Overconfidence might impair your judgment, making you fail to notice the subtle shifts and emotional fluctuations that could lead to a relapse.

Developing a Relapse Prevention Plan

A relapse prevention plan is an important part of recovery. It is an act of resilience in the recovery journey, and coming up with plans to help you stay on track is usually advised. Some of the various strategies aimed at safeguarding a potential relapse are as follows;

Continuing Therapy

Continuing therapy enables individuals to seek help from their healthcare providers and available support groups. This continued care in recovery offers a safe space for the individual to share their recovery journey, which could help identify some warning signs for a relapse. Therapy also provides a list of personalized prevention plans in case of relapse triggers.

Lifestyle Adjustments

In addition to continuing therapy, lifestyle adjustments also have vast benefits in preventing a relapse. The lifestyle adjustments could range from avoiding certain people and areas to thinking differently and creating a self-care regimen. The adjustments encourage you to notice the slight changes in recovery and create a safe space for recovery.

Rebuilding Relationships

Recovery is a courageous journey and could sometimes appear lonely and overwhelming. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and rekindle the relationships you may have severed during your addiction. You don’t have to do this alone, as family involvement offers the support and the love you need on your road to becoming a better and healed version of yourself. One of the ways you can rebuild relationships on your recovery journey is through family therapy.

Family Therapy

Family serves as a safe harbor to lean on while recovering from addiction. During family therapy, therapists work with the whole family to improve communication, encourage free sharing, and nurture a supportive environment. It also helps the individual make amends with their family members and heal the relationships that may have been broken off.

Family therapy also plays a huge role in fostering open communication by allowing those involved to speak to one another empathetically and with love. Communicating openly makes it easier to heal the existing wounds and reconnect with one another after addiction.

Celebrating Milestones

Celebrating milestones in recovery is an appreciation of your resilience and commitment to your healing journey. Your persistence and desire to continue the healing process must be appreciated. You get to observe how long you have remained sober, and it also lets you witness personal growth as you self-reflect and discover your new identity. 

Celebrating milestones also enables the individual to learn from their setbacks. You can compare the last time you relapsed and what you could have done better. Comparison gives you insights into some of your triggers and enables you to develop robust strategies to prevent a relapse of the same. As you progress in recovery, you evolve, and so do your goals. Adapting your initial goals to suit your newfound self is a testament to your willingness to embrace positive change.

Maintaining Long-Term Sobriety

Maintaining sobriety goes beyond the initial recovery. It would help to embrace a lifestyle that keeps you sober and improves your general outlook. Some of the ways to encourage long-term sobriety are through aftercare programs and by finding a purpose during and after recovery.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are some of the pillars of long-term sobriety as they offer personalized strategies to prevent a relapse. This program reinforces those in recovery with the coping mechanism, and the alum support is crucial in the recovery process. Sharing with a network of individuals who have undergone the same process and experienced almost the same triggers may encourage you to stay sober. If they manage to beat their addiction, so can you.

Additionally, continuing therapy also encourages treating underlying issues and identifying signs of relapse. Embracing aftercare programs fosters resilience to enable individuals to sustain recovery.

Finding Purpose

Discovering a purpose in life after addiction is a transformative journey. It is the perfect opportunity to try out activities and ideas you have always wanted but have been skeptical about or stopped doing due to addiction. One of the ways to find a purpose after addiction is getting into a career or finding hobbies. A rewarding career helps build better relationships with others and enhances the productivity necessary to maintain sobriety.

Picking a hobby, whether knitting or playing soccer, can also be a good way to keep yourself engaged during your free time. Additionally, giving back to the community can be a perfect way to touch hearts. Doing something meaningful that impacts other people positively can help you feel fulfilled. Every time you touch a heart with your acts of kindness, you look forward to doing it again.