By Ross Bainbridge
Cocaine, as a stimulant, mimics the action of chemicals the brain produces to send messages of pleasure to the brain’s reward center. Like adrenaline, cocaine increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. When the stimulation goes too high, it can also produce feelings of panic, paranoia, hallucinations, and rage that can even progress to potentially fatal seizures and strokes.
Treatments for cocaine addiction vary, based on a lot of factors including the severity and length of the symptoms, the amount of damage done from the cocaine use, and the rate of recovery. The most common symptoms of addiction usually noted are drug cravings, irritability, loss of energy, depression, fearfulness, wanting to sleep a lot or difficulty in sleeping, shaking, nausea and palpitations, sweating, hyperventilation, and increased appetite. These symptoms can commonly last several weeks — even after one stops using cocaine.
Medications to treat cocaine addiction are not yet available, although researchers are working continuously to identify and test new options. The most promising experimental medication existing seems to be Selegiline, which still needs an appropriate method of administration. Disulfiram, a medication that has been used to treat alcoholism, has proven to be somewhat effective in treating cocaine abuse in clinical trials. Antidepressants are predominantly prescribed to deal with the mood changes that usually come with cocaine withdrawal. Treatments are being developed to deal with cocaine overdose.
Treatments such as cognitive-behavioral coping skills are effective in dealing with cocaine addiction, but they are just a short-term approach that focuses on the learning processes. Behavioral treatment attempts to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with situations that can lead them to use cocaine again.
Staffed by caring, compassionate physicians, nurses, and counselors, treatment programs recognize the intensity of addiction. Based on that, treatment programs provide heavily researched medical treatment techniques, choosing the best for the patient from all of the treatment modalities available.
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