Cocaine has always been prevalent in the media, discussed openly by celebrities, politicians and other public figures who have admitted to trying the drug. Unfortunately, these accounts often make cocaine seem appealing and may be contributing to a decline in its “perceived risk” among teens and young adults. This means that many are failing to recognize the harm in casual or occasional cocaine use, believing the risk of addiction, overdose and related health problems to be lower than it really is.

At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we’ve seen first-hand how cocaine use can negatively impact an individual’s health and wellness. As one of the world’s most addictive substances, cocaine creates a short but intense high that encourages frequent and repeated use. Addiction and tolerance can develop quickly, beginning a cycle of substance abuse that is difficult to escape from. As Los Angeles’ premier luxury treatment center, we’re helping men and women struggling with cocaine addiction rediscover life without drugs or alcohol so they can reclaim their independence, sobriety and identity. With individualized treatments and professional guidance from our dedicated recovery team, we help patients explore the roots of their addiction and build a strong foundation for long-lasting sobriety.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug with a long history of use. As a naturally-occurring chemical found in the leaves of the South American coca plant, it has been used by ancient civilizations for its euphoric, stimulating and numbing effects for centuries. When the Europeans arrived in South America, they too recognized the medicinal and recreational value of the coca plant and began experimenting with the substance. Chemists were eventually able to isolate the active ingredients and create high purity cocaine, acclaimed as a “wonder drug” before its addictive properties were fully understood. It was used in everything from eye drops to toothache medicine and even included in early formulations of Coca Cola. As recreational use of cocaine rose in the early 20th century and it became clear that the drug was highly addictive, non-medical use was banned in 1914. Despite being outlawed, cocaine use continued and was often glamorized. Its popularity peaked in the 1970s and soon after, crack cocaine emerged, becoming prominent in low-income areas and creating an epidemic that left many neighborhoods devastated.

Today, cocaine remains one of the world’s most abused drugs. In 2017, the United Nations reported that approximately 17 million people across the globe had used cocaine within the past year. Cocaine’s high potential for abuse and addiction puts many of these individuals at risk of developing a substance use disorder, which becomes increasingly harder to overcome as time goes on.

What’s the Difference Between Cocaine and Crack?

Cocaine and crack are different types of the same drug. Chemically speaking, powdered cocaine occurs as a salt: cocaine hydrochloride. In this form, it’s ideal for snorting because it is water-soluble and readily absorbed through mucous membranes. It vaporizes at very high temperatures, however, making it unsuitable for smoking. Crack cocaine is cocaine converted into a base so that it can be smoked, usually by adding baking soda. It resembles a rock-like structure and crackles when heated, giving the drug its name. Both forms of cocaine affect dopamine in the brain and trigger the reward pathways associated with addiction, but crack enters the bloodstream much more rapidly. This produces an intense, short-lived high that encourages frequent re-dosing and increases its addictive potential.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

When cocaine is used, it has stimulating effects on the central nervous system. By flooding the brain with dopamine, cocaine produces a rush of euphoria that makes users feel energetic, confident and sociable. The signs of acute cocaine intoxication include:

  • Euphoria and enhanced mood
  • Dilated pupils
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Talkative and sociable behavior
  • Muscle tics
  • Increased energy and enthusiasm
  • Decreased appetite
  • Changes in concentration and focus
  • Confidence boost

The pleasurable effects produced by cocaine are short-lived. Once they subside, feelings of depression, irritability and anxiety often occur. Due to this, many users binge on the drug in an attempt to prevent or delay the comedown, exacerbating the harmful effects and increasing the likelihood of cardiovascular issues or overdose. When used regularly, cocaine will start to have negative consequences on an individual’s health and well-being, such as:

  • Nasal damage
  • Weight loss
  • Financial problems
  • Kidney and heart damage
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Neglecting personal responsibilities
  • Hypertrophy (enlarged heart muscle)
  • Strokes
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Changes in brain chemistry
  • Intense cravings

The signs of cocaine addiction may vary depending on how the drug was administered or in what form it was ingested. Crack and IV use of cocaine may lead to more severe symptoms, for example, because they quickly enter the bloodstream and produce a short, intense high. Regardless of how cocaine is used, tolerance eventually develops that requires more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. For many individuals, this begins a cycle of addiction and dependence that is difficult to escape from without the professional help and guidance of a dedicated recovery team.

Treating Cocaine Addiction

At Journey Hillside Tarzana, we treat men and women from all walks of life struggling with cocaine and crack addiction. Our approach is highly individualized as we recognize that each client’s road to recovery will be as unique as they are. With a residential program that admits six patients at a time, we can give each individual the time and attention they deserve. This allows us to develop personalized recovery plans and provide effective treatments that resonate with clients on a deeper level, creating an enriched therapeutic experience that promotes long-term sobriety. Patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team of experienced addiction experts, medical professionals and support staff that will help them reach their treatment goals utilizing a variety of techniques, including:

  • Medically-supervised detox
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Evidence-based therapies
  • 12-step methodology and integration
  • Community and family support
  • Holistic modalities
  • Trauma services
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Experiential therapies

In addition to our signature services, we also offer specialized programs for those who require a deeper focus in a particular area of recovery. These include a Holistic track, a 12-Step track and an Impaired Professionals track, all designed to meet specific needs and provide the expertise needed for comprehensive healing.

Impaired Professionals Track

Cocaine has become a status symbol among the upper classes due to its high price and glamorized image. As a result, it’s not uncommon for those in professional and high-paying jobs to experiment with and become addicted to the substance. For some, cocaine use is seen as a way to “get ahead” by boosting productivity and improving work performance with little regard for the consequences. As addiction takes hold, the perceived benefits begin to fade and the adverse effects become apparent, jeopardizing an individual’s health, reputation and overall well-being.

At Journey Hillside Tarzana, our Impaired Professionals track can help those in high-stakes careers struggling with cocaine addiction find the help they need without sacrificing their status or reputation. By balancing career and recovery, our specialized program expertly manages the unique needs of professionals seeking treatment with higher degrees of individual therapy, targeted peer support and accountability, stress management, continuing care and more. We also communicate closely with state licensing boards and other organizations throughout the treatment process, providing regular progress reports and notification when specific requirements are met. This ensures that patients can maintain their professional status and safely return to their careers and families after completing treatment.

Contact Journey Hillside Tarzana

Although cocaine has been glamorized in the past, it’s a highly addictive drug with the potential to wreak havoc on one’s health and well-being. If you or someone you care about is struggling with cocaine or crack addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. At Journey Hillside Tarzana in Los Angeles, California, we provide high-quality care in a luxury setting to help patients achieve deep and lasting healing. Contact or call us today 877-414-1024 to learn more about our treatment programs and how they can help.

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