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Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is processed from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to Central and South America. Cocaine is considered a Schedule I controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. According to the American College of Medical Toxicology, cocaine still has some medicinal uses in the United States, such as being used as a local numbing agent that is applied topically for certain types of nasal and oral surgeries; however, it has been replaced in most instances by other types of medications.
Cocaine is one of the most common and popular drugs of abuse in the United States. It is commonly snorted, smoked, or injected, and it produces very short-term effects, such as euphoria, talkativeness, and high levels of energy.
It also has dangerous physical side effects, such as increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and the increased potential for heart attack or stroke.
There is a long list of risk factors for the development of a substance use disorder (drug abuse or addiction). A risk factor is some particular quality or situation that increases the probability that an individual will develop some type of a disorder or illness. Risk factors are not determining factors; that is, just having a risk factor does not mean that you will develop the condition or disorder, but that your probability of developing a specific disorder or condition is increased. If one has more than one risk factor, these may combine in ways to increase risk far beyond their additive effects.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine,and numerous other sources, risk factors for developing a substance use disorder, such as a cocaine use disorder, include:
The American Psychiatric Association lists formal symptoms of substance use disorders, such as a cocaine use disorder. Obvious behaviors, such as the individual using more cocaine or using cocaine longer than originally intended, using cocaine in hazardous situations, financial issues as a result of cocaine use, etc., are also part of the symptomatic criteria for a substance use disorder.
There also other signs and symptoms that may indicate that an individual is suffering from issues with using or abusing cocaine. These include:
Cocaine is a highly addictive substance; however, it does not carry the severe physical addiction and physical dependence that drugs like alcohol and heroin do. Nonetheless, individuals who stop using cocaine will often experience periods of extreme depression and apathy that may increase the risk for self-harm due to accidents or as a result of suicidal ideations. In addition, because of the severe psychological and emotional symptoms that are associated with discontinuing the use of cocaine, individuals are often very prone to relapse in the early stages of recovery. Thus, it is extremely important for individuals attempting to quit use of cocaine to seek professional assistance.
A number of treatment options for cocaine use disorders are available. These can include all, or any combination, of the following:
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