Am I Addicted to Cocaine?

Am I Addicted to Cocaine?

When you use cocaine, whether it’s the first time or one of many times, it’s easy to feel like you have control over your consumption. However, this false belief is what leads to a dangerous addiction cycle. If you engage in casual cocaine use, you may be more addicted to it than you think, but there is hope in overcoming addiction with an integrative, holistic treatment program.

I Only Do Cocaine on Weekends — Am I Addicted? 

Cocaine has long been glamorized in media and popular culture. Because of this, we have a more casual attitude towards it than we do towards other drugs. Just a casual line or two after a few drinks on a Friday isn’t going to kill us, right?

As it turns out, perceptions of what classifies as “recreational” use are often quite skewed, and users are often more addicted to cocaine than they initially realize. According to the founder of the Global Drugs Survey, Dr. Adam Winstock, it’s not healthy to use cocaine every weekend, and it can’t be considered as average or casual use.

The Long-Term Impact of Prolonged Cocaine Use on the Weekends

Using cocaine every weekend over a prolonged period of time can have long-term negative effects on your health. Snorting or “sniffing” cocaine can cause damage to the tissue in the nose, and smoking it can lead to respiratory failure. Injecting cocaine can lead to abscesses and infectious diseases. Other long-term effects of cocaine use include the following:

  • Tooth decay
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Apathy
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels in the brain and heart
  • Reproductive damage
  • Male and female infertility
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium
  • Clinical depression

Doing cocaine every weekend may seem like temporary fun, but weekends will start to add up and lead to dangerous long-term effects. A casual cocaine habit can quickly turn into a life-threatening addiction.

Why Coke Use Always Becomes More Frequent Than You Planned

You know how the story goes: you head out on a Friday night to blow off some steam, telling yourself you’ll steer clear of cocaine every weekend, but after a few drinks the justifications start pouring in. “Just a line won’t hurt,” or “I deserve it after a long week” — the excuses are endless, but the behavior is the same. And that one line turns into many more, eventually forming a pattern. Before you know it, you may find yourself doing cocaine on weekdays, by yourself or without understanding why.

Addiction is progressive. With repeated cocaine use, your tolerance increases, meaning your body needs more of it to get high. And because of how profoundly cocaine affects your brain chemistry, the likelihood of becoming addicted to it is considerable.

The Cocaine Addiction Cycle

Cocaine users fall into a cyclic use pattern quickly, and this addiction cycle is divided into five stages. When someone uses cocaine, they begin to go through the five stages of the addiction cycle which include cocaine consumption, an early crash, a late crash, an improved mood between binges and the final stage, craving cocaine.

Cocaine Consumption

Cocaine Consumption

Cocaine addiction can start with even the smallest amount of cocaine. A person might try it while out with friends and enjoy it, which leads to the decision to use more cocaine. Eventually, they might try to rationalize using cocaine and begin to experience cravings more often. A cocaine user will build a tolerance and need larger amounts of the drug to feel the “high” that they are seeking, leading to binging on cocaine and experiencing the negative side effects that come with it.

The Early Crash

The second stage of the cocaine addiction cycle begins after a person binges on cocaine. They will begin to experience intense anxiety and search for ways to obtain more cocaine. When they can’t obtain more cocaine, they will often search for relief in other substances such as alcohol, marijuana or sedatives. They will also experience decreased appetite, high body temperature, time distortion and remorse for their cocaine use. This stage of the cycle can last one to four hours. 

The Late Crash

The late crash stage of the cocaine addiction cycle begins about three to five hours after a person uses cocaine. During this stage, they will feel deep remorse, shame and depression. Their appetite will increase and they may feel tired. During this stage, they may consider running away, committing suicide or entering treatment.

An Improved Mood Between Binges

Approximately one to two days after a cocaine binge, a person’s mood will increase and they will begin to develop a positive outlook on life. They will feel relieved that they made it through their binge and confident that they are able to handle their cocaine use. This confidence can lead to relapse because it gives the false impression that they can use cocaine without problems. 

During this stage, a person will begin to feel good for a while with normal sleeping patterns and increased energy levels. However, these feelings will soon shift to feelings of restlessness and emptiness. They will eventually start to crave cocaine again, but they will also feel like they have control and have overcome their problem with cocaine use. In this stage, a person can make one of two choices — either seek treatment for their cocaine use, or continue to use cocaine.

Craving and Seeking Cocaine

During the final stage of the cocaine addiction cycle, a person’s cravings for cocaine will intensify, and they will begin to seek the drug. Environment, thoughts, friends and other factors can trigger cravings and lead to cocaine-seeking behavior. A person in this stage of the cycle will often feel panic and take desperate measures to obtain cocaine, such as calling friends in the middle of the night or driving long hours to purchase the drug.

During this stage, a person will also experience pre-cocaine jitters in anticipation of obtaining cocaine. These jitters can cause dry mouth, sweaty palms, a racing pulse and gastrointestinal hypermotility. A person will also rationalize their cocaine use during this stage, telling themselves that they will only use a small amount or that this will be the last time they use cocaine. If they are able to find and obtain cocaine, the person will begin stage one again and continue the cocaine addiction cycle.

A Hidden Danger: High-Functioning Cocaine Addiction

One of the dangers of high-functioning addiction is that it’s harder to see. We tell ourselves that if we’re going to work on time, paying our bills and living in a nice home, we can’t possibly be addicts. But the truth is that addiction lies not in how often you use, but in your relationship with the substance. To determine if you might be a high-functioning cocaine user, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you done something unsafe or something you regret while on cocaine?
  • Have your cocaine purchases affected your budget?
  • Do you look forward to the next time you’ll do coke?
  • Has a partner, friend or family member expressed concern about your drug use?
  • Do you hide your cocaine use from non-using people in your life?

If so, you’ve already experienced some of the consequences of cocaine addiction.

Signs of Stimulant Use Disorder

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), someone who experiences two or more of the following problems within a year is considered to have stimulant use disorder:

  • Using more than you intend to
  • Failing at your attempts to cut back or quit
  • Spending a significant amount of time doing drugs
  • Forgoing other activities in favor of doing coke
  • Craving cocaine
  • Failing to meet your responsibilities at home or at work due to your coke use
  • Continuing your drug use despite its negative impacts on your life
  • Using cocaine in a physically dangerous way
  • Using coke despite its toll on your mood or mental health
  • Developing a tolerance to cocaine
  • Withdrawing from coke when you don’t use it for a period of time

If you notice any of these signs of cocaine addiction, it may be time to seek help and pursue recovery. There’s no way around it – cocaine ruins lives. Even if you feel you’re in control of your use now, ask yourself if using is worth it knowing you can easily lose control?

Recover From Your Cocaine Addiction at The Sanctuary at Sedona

At The Sanctuary at Sedona, we understand how inescapable cocaine addiction can feel, even when it’s wreaking havoc on your mind, body, spirit and the relationships you value most. Our integrative treatment program offers an entirely new paradigm in cocaine addiction treatment, using discoveries in epigenetics and neurogenesis along with deeply transformative holistic techniques to enable you to fully recover and be well.

Our staff are experts in holistic and clinical care, and we will treat you like family as we support you through the recovery process. For more on our one-of-a-kind approach, see our article on Treating Substance Abuse Holistically.

To learn more about The Sanctuary and our integrative addiction treatment program, contact us online, call us at (866) 748-4894 or email us at [email protected]