The rise in cocaine-related deaths during the pandemic is providing a new reminder about the dangers of illegal substance use. Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) show deaths from cocaine overdose went up 38% in a 12-month period ending in October 2020. Women make up one-third of all cocaine users. But they react differently to the drug than men do. Today, we’ll talk about what makes cocaine addictive for women and what to do if you think you’ve developed a dependence on it.
Is cocaine addictive? In addition to producing short-term effects of feeling energetic and euphoric, cocaine is highly addictive. Why is cocaine addictive? The drug’s addictive properties, in part, come from giving a user a sense of pleasure that they want to repeat over and over. Fast absorption of the drug can limit the duration of its effects. They may take up to 30 minutes to appear and last up to another 30 minutes. Women who have become dependent on the drug can seek rehab assistance at treatment programs designed specifically for their gender. In this kind of treatment option, women can learn strategies to replace their cocaine use with healthy activities and connect with peers who have experienced similar struggles with starting recovery and staying clean and sober.
Why is cocaine addictive?
Cocaine users are familiar with its short-term effects. It makes people feel energetic with a sense of euphoria. They may become talkative, more alert, and hypersensitive to stimulus. But routine use can lead to a cocaine-related substance use disorder (SUD) in women. These outcomes are among the reasons it can become addictive.
The duration of the effects can be another factor in developing a cocaine-related SUD. Faster absorption intensifies the effects but also shortens the time someone feels those effects. Maintaining the high could mean using cocaine more often or in higher amounts. When the pleasurable effects diminish after 30 minutes or so, the desire to use more may return.
People who use cocaine often mix its use with other drugs. Those drugs may be addictive themselves. They can include other stimulants, alcohol, or heroin or other opioids.
Attempting to quit using cocaine (and other drugs) may lead to experiencing highly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Some of these include intense cravings, nightmares, and paranoia.
Is it common for women to get addicted to cocaine?
While women tend to be less likely to use cocaine than men, the risk of becoming dependent is always present. Some of the early signs of a cocaine-related SUD in women include fearlessness, erratic behavior, restlessness, and panic. More severe symptoms can be hallucinations, psychosis, and sexual dysfunction.
Numerous factors can contribute to a woman developing a cocaine addiction at any age. It can come from how long she’s been using the drug. The method of ingesting the drug, such as snorting, and frequency of use are other factors. Her personal medical history and mental health can also contribute to becoming addicted. Other variables may involve health comorbidities and misuse of other substances, including alcohol or opioids.
Potency of the drug is an additional factor in developing an SUD. Cocaine is not regulated, and users have no way of knowing its exact ingredients. This can add to the intensity of its use as well as the risk of developing a dependence on it, especially if it’s mixed with other addictive properties.
What to Do If You Or A Loved One Is Addicted to Cocaine
Women who have become dependent on cocaine will benefit from a medically supervised detox as a first step to remove the drug from their system. This choice can minimize any complications from withdrawal from the drug at home. Detox can be done at a detox facility or as a first step in a treatment plan to begin recovery.
It’s important to become aware of what treatment options are available in your area for cocaine-related SUDs. Programs designed specifically for women allow patients to work on their recovery goals with female-only supervision. In individual therapy sessions, patients can learn new skills and behaviors which can translate into a greater sense of sense and purpose. This halts the obsession for drug use and challenges skewed perspectives. As part of group therapy, patients can begin learning how to build strong connections with other women and find common ground in what led them to seek therapy and a sober life.
Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561.841.1272.