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Why Is Cocaine Addictive? All You Need to Know

“Why is cocaine addictive?” is a question that many people have found themselves asking before. Whether you are currently addicted to cocaine and struggling to stay clean, or unsure if your cocaine use is an addiction, you are starting to ask the right questions.

Unlike alcohol and other depressive addicting substances, cocaine affects the central nervous system. It sets up a reaction that causes users to be dependent on the drug. Also known as “chasing a high”. 

With just one sniff, it’s extremely easy to get hooked real fast. Keep reading to find out how cocaine works and why it is addictive. 

What Is Cocaine?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine is an addictive stimulant in a powdery form made from the coca plant’s leaves found in South America. On the streets, cocaine is commonly known as coke or blow and comes in a fine white powder form. 

It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system and produces a feeling of euphoria when taken. When an individual ingests cocaine, the central nervous system gets stimulated. The brain produces high amounts of dopamine, the hormone for pleasure and reward.

This extreme euphoria manifests as: 

  • Excitement 
  • Anxiety 
  • Increased confidence 
  • Extreme alertness
  • Talking too much

While the short term effects don’t seem to be damaging, the long term effects of cocaine use are dangerous.

The severity of the long term effects of cocaine is one of the reasons why people ask the ‘why is cocaine addictive” question. Any substance that can keep a person dependent on it even in the face of these long term effects is dangerous. 

Long term effects include:

  • Loss of smell 
  • Nosebleeds
  • Psychosis 
  • Stroke and convulsions

Cocaine can be used in three different ways – snorting, injecting, and smoking. The method of ingestion affects how long the euphoric feeling lasts. The effects of cocaine are short-lived, lasting anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. 

Is It Easy to Develop a Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine addiction can be broken down into three different stages: 

  • Dependence 
  • Tolerance 
  • Addiction 

How fast an individual passes all stages is dependent on the following: 

  • How much they use 
  • How frequently they use and if they are predisposed to addiction

Here’s how a cocaine addiction develops. When an individual uses cocaine, they immediately experience a feeling of extreme euphoria.  Cocaine is often used in social settings or at parties. It’s not uncommon for cocaine to be used amongst college students as well. What can start off as an innocent habit can turn into a serious addiction. The initial euphoria feeling lasts for a short while, so users feel compelled to do more and more.

“Why is cocaine addictive?” Here’s the reason. 

Many addicts say that coming down from the high of cocaine use is depressing. So they take another dose to maintain their happiness. 

Before long, the individual becomes dependent on cocaine, unable to function without it. After dependence comes tolerance, and the individual begins to need higher doses to recreate the original level of euphoria. After tolerance, it is a quick slippery slide to addiction. 

What to Do if Your Loved One Is Addicted to Cocaine

If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine, the best option is to seek professional addiction treatment. The addictive nature of cocaine makes it a tough habit to kick. The best place to seek help for cocaine addiction is at a drug rehabilitation center where qualified staff members and doctors can help. 

At Hillside Mission, we offer several specialized addiction treatment options for addicts. Our services and treatment procedures are geared towards long term recovery. Reach out to us today for help with your addiction!