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How To Help Someone Who Is Addicted to Cocaine

Speaking to a friend or loved one about cocaine addiction is a difficult bridge to cross, but doing so can make an enormous difference in their decision to seek help in the future. The unfortunate truth is that many people witness signs of cocaine abuse in someone they know but do nothing to help them access or succeed in substance abuse treatment.

Stigma and misinformation can threaten the most well-meant attempts to obtain help for someone you care about. With that in mind, we have put together this short guide to recognizing cocaine abuse, discussing addiction, and ultimately supporting a loved one through drug abuse treatment.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Understanding the signs of addiction can help you assess the severity of your loved one’s cocaine use. Understanding the signs will also help you build the foundations to support them and encourage them to seek treatment.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that “substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.”

According to this, cocaine addiction may have reached a point where it is harmful, recognizable, and treatable regardless of whether it is affecting the individual’s physical, emotional, or social health. In many cases, particularly when considering more extreme addictions, cocaine addiction begins to permeate many aspects of the addicted person’s life, degrading personal health, sabotaging work and relationships, clouding emotional reactions, and hindering rational judgment.

If a person recognizes these impairments and negative consequences but fails to cut back or quit, the signs point clearly to cocaine use disorder.

Interpersonal and Emotional Signs

  • Secrecy. Lying about whereabouts, using in secret, and avoiding sharing the details of where, with whom, or where your loved one has been all raise red flags for many kinds of substance use disorders, cocaine addiction included.
  • Irritability. Changes in a person’s emotional norm and the development of a more irritable, erratic, or agitated personality may point to the development of cocaine dependence.
  • Extreme emotions. Mood swings that vary between high emotional highs and low lows are psychological symptoms that are easily recognizable to family members and loved ones.
  • Stealing. Borrowing beyond means, stealing, or lying about money are often associated with drug abuse.
  • Loss of interest. Cocaine alters the dopamine balance in an addicted user’s brain, dampening the nervous system’s ability to regulate focus and communicate emotions like happiness or interest. Former activities, people, or places that cocaine users may have enjoyed become hard to maintain interest in.

First Steps: Speaking About Cocaine Addiction

If you recognize any of the above signs and symptoms of addiction in a loved one or friend, the possibility that you are dealing with a cocaine use disorder needs to be taken seriously. In most cases, the next responsible step is to start talking.

Bringing up the subject of problematic drug use for the first time can be challenging, so it is important to feel grounded and secure in your observations before you begin. Once you’re ready, it’s time to start talking, but remember that stigmatization, blame games, and alienation are poisonous to recovery. Instead, we recommend the following:


  • Educate yourself in advance about the reality of cocaine addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Proper knowledge of this well-documented medical condition will help you support a loved one both now and later in their recovery.
  • Wait for a calm moment when the person is not under the influence of cocaine or any other substances. The sooner you can discuss treatment, the sooner your loved one will receive treatment; however, this conversation needs to happen at a time when they are available to listen.
  • Vocalize your concerns honestly. Sharing your observations in an open, forthright, and compassionate manner communicates to your loved one that you are a safe person to share this struggle with. Honesty and kindness should rule this conversation – while you should be truthful about your worries, it will not be a good time to air out other touchy arguments.
  • Maintain a positive outlook. The objective of these conversations is to help your friend or loved one seek and succeed in addiction treatment. Cocaine use disorders are highly treatable with medical detox, inpatient or outpatient treatment, therapies, and support groups. The conversations you are starting now can be an act of self-fulfilling hope.
  • Offer help with the process. Addiction to cocaine taxes a person’s mental health and ability to organize effectively. The scope and gravity of the idea of seeking addiction treatment can overshadow the practical steps involved at a time when urgency is needed. If possible, you may want to offer a hand in researching rehab centers and treatment options, booking a substance abuse assessment with a treatment provider, organizing transport, or advocating for other loved ones.


  • Engage if you feel unsafe. It goes without saying that abusive or violent behavior, be it physical, verbal, or otherwise relational, should never be tolerated. If you have reason to believe that speaking to your loved one about their substance addiction will result in anything unsafe, contact an external professional immediately.
  • Enable. Caring for someone who lives with severe cocaine abuse is not always easy, and we know it can be hard not to protect your loved one when the adverse consequences of their actions get too real and intense. Remember, the only way this person can be protected is by obtaining addiction treatment for drug use and following through on the decision to quit cocaine. One of the most detrimental things you can do is hide or shield the person struggling from the reality of what they are doing to themselves. Making excuses for friends or work, calling in sick to bosses, and financing monetary losses can only delay the inevitable realization that help is needed.
  • Blame. With that in mind, do not forget that cocaine use disorder is a mental illness. Many of the occurrences and coincidences that lead to the development of addiction are external to the individual. Genes, background, childhood, and health are just some of the risk factors that play roles. Don’t try to trace the drug abuse back to pass a verdict on anyone’s original fault.
  • Sacrifice your own needs. No matter what your relationship with the person addicted to cocaine is, supporting their recovery should not cost you your own mental, emotional, or physical health. Set boundaries where you need to, get the sleep you require, and give yourself time to process your emotional state on your own. Many people who love those with drug addictions benefit greatly from speaking to a therapist of their own.

On Interventions

Many voices are stronger than one. Likewise, discussing drug abuse one-on-one may not be the best way to get your loved one’s potential addiction seen.

In an intervention, a meeting will be planned by the worried and affected friends and family members of the person who needs help from a treatment center. During the intervention, the various organizers will each share their own experiences of their loved one’s cocaine use, highlighting how it has affected their lives, changes they have observed in the central person’s behavior, and why they feel it is time to stop drug abuse.

Intervention does not need to wait until your friend or a family member has hit their lowest point. In fact, these essential social tools can work even in the early stages of cocaine addiction. The sooner a person checks into treatment facilities and starts receiving specialized care, the better the chances are that they can avoid the terrible health consequences of long-term drug abuse.

During Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Whether they continue living with or near to you or check-in for full-time medical supervision for an extended period, don’t think that because your loved one has signed up for substance use disorder treatment, you can’t do anything to help. There are many things you can do, some of which we have outlined below.

Understand the Treatment Model Your Loved One Has Chosen

Whether they select inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient treatment, put some work into learning what your loved one can expect from the form of treatment they opt for. Check out what kind of therapies and treatment options are on offer for treating cocaine addiction, and do your best to learn about how they work.

Ask About Group Therapy Treatment Options

It can be hard to accept, but casting a therapeutic eye on yourself during your loved one’s addiction treatment can do wonders to help them stay sober. If the addicted person is a family member or spouse, the treatment facility may offer some form of family or couples therapy designed to help you uncover and manage the historic and present-day relationship dynamics that may be contributing to your loved one’s substance use disorder.

Family or couples therapy is a private and convenient solution to dealing with these dynamics and preventing relapse, helping you process the causes and outcomes of cocaine addiction with the expert guidance of a clinical professional.

Finally, Prepare To Welcome Them Back

Social support after treatment is one of the best predictors of success in sobriety. If the addicted person does not live with you or stays elsewhere during treatment, make preparations to adjust to their new needs before seeing them again.

This may include hiding reminders of cocaine use, creating a substance-free living environment, finding local Narcotics Anonymous (NA) chapters, or brainstorming sober activities to do together when you see them again.

Simple acts like this communicate your solidarity and care for the mental health of your loved one and ensure that recovery is sustainable, supportive, and connected.

Contact Us Today

If you are worried about a loved one or friend, contact us today. We can support you in helping them by providing you with a wealth of information surrounding our services.

What Does Cocaine Do to the Brain?

Cocaine is an extremely addictive central nervous system stimulant that induces an intense yet brief high. Associated with feelings of improved mental alertness, confidence, and euphoria, the intense, rapid onset of these emotions can increase the urge to use cocaine continuously. However, these cycles of cocaine use can lead to addiction.

Over time, using cocaine can severely affect the brain and body. Your tolerance will additionally increase significantly, which means you will require larger quantities of cocaine to feel the effects noted above. Sadly, cocaine addiction can have negative implications on your physical and mental health, as well as your relationships, work, and education.

Find out more about what cocaine does to the brain here, or contact us for immediate support and guidance.

What Is Cocaine?

Extracted from the leaves of the South American coca plant, cocaine use has fluctuated over the years. Until the mid-1900s, cocaine hydrochloride was regularly used in medical and recreational settings, initially gaining popularity for its fatigue-combatting properties.

Over time, medical professionals began to notice some negative consequences of using the drug, so restrictions were implemented. Since then, cocaine has been classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a “high potential for abuse.”

Like many other drugs, cocaine appears in different ways. In its powder form – often referred to as coke – cocaine is a hydrochloride salt. Whereas crack cocaine – often referred to as crack – appears as a rock-like product when powder cocaine is mixed with water and another substance, such as baking soda. This mixture is then boiled to form a solid before being broken into small pieces.

Because of the high potency of crack cocaine, it is more addictive than cocaine’s powder form.

Methods of Use

Cocaine can be used in different ways, each with its own dangers. For example, cocaine is usually snorted through the nose in its powder form. The long-term impacts associated with this method of use include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Continuous runny nose
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Pain and difficulty swallowing

In contrast, crack cocaine is usually smoked. The long-term impacts associated with this method of use include:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Coughing
  • High risk of pneumonia

Cocaine is also sometimes administered intravenously. In this instance, the risk of contracting blood-borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C, and skin or soft tissue infections increases drastically.

How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain?

A study by the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Therapy, and Toxicology found that cocaine primarily affects the central nervous system.

When used, the drug creates a spike in neurotransmitters such as dopamine, a natural chemical related to the control of movement and reward. When the brain functions normally, dopamine is recycled back into the cell that releases it, stopping the signal between nerve cells.

However, the presence of cocaine obstructs dopamine from being recycled, thus resulting in large quantities of it collecting in the space between two nerve cells, inhibiting regular communication.

This irregularly high level of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit encourages continuous use of cocaine. Regular cocaine abuse can also cause the brain to adapt over time. In turn, you may feel the need to take larger quantities more frequently to feel the same high you once did. You may also feel as though you need to use cocaine to prevent uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Premature Brain Aging

Your brain is made up of white and gray matter. Gray matter is fundamentally responsible for processing and interpreting information, the brain’s memory, and cognitive function. In contrast, white matter is responsible for transmitting data to other parts of the nervous system.

When you age, gray matter naturally decreases and fades away. This process can take decades in a healthy brain, and it doesn’t necessarily affect your memory.

However, chronic cocaine exposure is associated with premature degeneration of the brain’s gray matter. One study suggested that cocaine addiction could cause people to lose gray matter twice as fast as people who don’t abuse the drug, resulting in memory issues, including the onset of dementia.

Changes to the Brain’s Structure

In addition to inducing memory loss, cocaine can also cause physical damage to the brain. Cocaine abuse can damage the veins and arteries in your brain, leading to restricted blood flow. This can cause chronic headaches and migraines and, in some cases, a seizure disorder, which is a severe and dangerous health problem that can inhibit living everyday life.

Mental Health Deterioration

As mentioned above, cocaine impacts the regular functioning of dopamine. Dopamine is crucial for monitoring and regulating your mood. When cocaine swamps your brain with large quantities of dopamine, it becomes difficult for your brain to rebalance. As a result, you fluctuate between an extreme sense of euphoria to an extreme low after the high has finished, resulting in deep depression.

Cocaine can also increase stress hormones, putting you at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders or psychosis.

Can Cocaine Kill Brain Cells?

As we know, cocaine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Naturally, small quantities of dopamine travel through your brain cells to signal pleasure or satisfaction.

Over a prolonged time, cocaine causes your brain to desensitize to dopamine, resulting in more significant quantities of the drug being needed to create the same dopamine high. The dopamine flood can cause damage to the brain structure and lead to neurological conditions, including a seizure disorder.

Cocaine can also slow glucose metabolism, which can cause neurons to work at a slower rate or die off altogether. Cocaine causes your blood vessels to narrow, which means that your heart has to work harder to transport blood to your brain. This puts your cardiovascular system under great strain and can cause your heart rate to become irregular or, in some cases, starve your brain of the blood it needs, in doing so, killing brain cells.

Can You Recover From the Damage?

Many people ask, “can you recover from the damage?” Studies have been conducted to show that it is possible to repair your brain health, depending on a number of factors, such as:

  • How long you have used cocaine for
  • The quantity you used
  • Your specific brain chemistry

One study conducted in 2014 found that if recovery of moderate cocaine use begins within one year, brain damage was at least partly recoverable.

In addition to this, a 2014 research paper claims that much of the long-term brain damage associated with cocaine use is connected to the withdrawal process. This suggests that five months of complete sobriety could recover much of what was lost in terms of brain function.

Individualized Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Cocaine withdrawal is an extremely challenging process, but it doesn’t usually bring danger to you if you choose a quality treatment program for your recovery. However, withdrawal symptoms can be distressing and uncomfortable. They also carry a high risk for relapse.

Typically the withdrawal process lasts between one to three weeks, with additional treatments lasting for longer.

Cocaine addiction is a highly complex disease. Staying sober is not an easy task, and it requires a strong sense of willpower and determination. Cravings can prevail long into sobriety, so it is essential to surround yourself with a supportive network to keep you on the right track.

At Empowered Recovery, we can guide you on your path to lifelong recovery. We treat addiction holistically, placing you at the center of everything we do. We don’t only aim to cure the symptoms of addiction; we look to the root causes and any underlying mental health conditions which could contribute to your substance abuse.

Help Is Available Today

Our mission is to support you in restoring your health. We know that addiction can put a severe strain on your physical and mental health, relationships, career, and education. You deserve better.

Cocaine addiction is treatable, and there are many treatment options available. If you, or someone you love, struggle with substance abuse, pick up the phone today and let us answer any questions you may have.

Addiction treatment at Empowered Recovery has been the door back to health for many clients; we are confident it can be the same for you.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

Cocaine is a powerful and addictive stimulant that people take to acquire a temporary euphoric high. However, this high is always short-lived. Not only is cocaine illegal, but it is extremely dangerous for your short and long-term health.

With each use comes a greater risk of addiction. The brain’s reward pathways adapt and grow accustomed to this hit of dopamine through prolonged exposure. As the brain enjoys these happy hormones, it begins to crave cocaine at all costs, causing addiction to gradually arise.

Sadly, addiction is a psychological disease that compels users to take drugs despite any adverse consequences to their health or well-being. It can be hard to admit you need help if you have an addiction, but no one can overcome addiction independently.

Unfortunately, the more you take cocaine and sink deeper into addiction, the greater the risk of overdose. A cocaine overdose can cause cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks, seizures, and even death. Overdose is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right treatment and ongoing support, recovery is possible. You are not alone, and we are here to help you every step of your recovery journey.

Whether you are struggling with cocaine addiction or are a worried friend or family member of an addicted loved one, recognizing cocaine overdose symptoms can prevent catastrophic consequences.

This blog outlines some of the most common cocaine overdose symptoms. However, if you want to talk to us directly, contact us today for confidential advice.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug deriving from coca plant leaves found in South America. Originally, cocaine was made as a local anesthetic for surgeries, but nowadays, it is mainly found on the streets and sold for recreational purposes.

Cocaine usually looks like a fine white powder and has a bitter chemical taste. However, color can vary depending on how cocaine is made and what it is ‘cut’ with. Sometimes cocaine presents as a crystal, which is known as crack cocaine.

Common substances that cocaine is cut with include caffeine, prescription painkillers, talc, boric acid, and even rat poisoning. It is impossible to determine what cocaine is cut with, so it should not be taken.

Usually, cocaine is administered via snorting, smoking, and injecting methods. All of these consumption methods can induce health problems such as chronic nosebleeds and blood infections.

What Are the Effects of Taking Cocaine?

A powerful stimulant, cocaine affects the central nervous system, speeding up messages between the brain and body. Using cocaine can cause a host of rapid-onset effects, which quickly wear off.

Common physical symptoms of cocaine use include:

  • Euphoria (a high)
  • A false sense of well-being
  • Increased confidence
  • A rush of energy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Increased libido
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety, panic, and paranoia
  • Agitation and restlessness

If you take cocaine and experience any of the above symptoms, contact us today for professional support and advice. We are always here to offer confidential advice about your drug use.

What Are the Dangers of Drug Abuse?

Cocaine is a Schedule II illegal drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. Using cocaine is dangerous for your health and comes hand-in-hand with short and long-term health problems, overdose, and substance addiction.

Common short-term health complications of cocaine use include:

  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Strokes
  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Exacerbated existing mental health conditions
  • Seizures
  • Overdose
  • Death

Long-term health complications include:

  • Tolerance to cocaine, which can increase the risk of overdose
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis
  • Malnutrition
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Respiratory problems and lung damage (when cocaine is smoked)
  • Chronic nosebleeds and nasal damage (when cocaine is snorted)
  • HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, and blood infections (when cocaine is used intravenously)

Cocaine abuse is a significant problem worldwide. In fact, cocaine-related deaths have grown every year since 2013. This is because cocaine induces many of the health problems noted above and is highly addictive.

While you may think taking a small amount of cocaine is safe, this is not true. There is always a risk of complications, most of which can be life-threatening. The sooner you seek treatment for cocaine use, the greater your chance of a successful long-term recovery.

It is never too late to turn things around and break free from drug abuse. Talk to us today for advice and support.

What Does Cocaine Addiction Look Like?

No one intends to develop an addiction to cocaine or any other drugs. Addiction sneaks in through the back door when you aren’t looking. It is an insidious disease, medically known as substance use disorder (SUD).

It can be hard to admit to yourself that you have a problem with cocaine use. You may brush it off, and you may convince yourself that you could stop at any time. But the truth is substance use disorder is an illness that requires professional treatment and help.

You may be able to mask signs of drug abuse and addiction for some time, but your mask will eventually slip, and loved ones or employers will notice your behavior change as addiction begins to take over.

If you have an addiction, you might notice signs such as:

  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Unexplained financial problems
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Poor hygiene and self-care
  • Sleeping problems
  • An obsession with getting your next fix
  • Sudden and erratic mood swings

What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose?

There is always a risk of overdose when using cocaine. Overdose can happen to first-time users; however, the risk of overdose increases in those with cocaine addiction. This is because the body builds a tolerance to cocaine through prolonged use, meaning you need more to achieve the desired effect. No amount of cocaine is safe, but too much can be fatal.

Cocaine overdose symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Increased sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Dangerously high body temperature
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slow breathing
  • Tremors
  • Severe anxiety and panic
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of consciousness

A suspected overdose requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you experience any of the above cocaine overdose symptoms.

While cocaine overdoses are fatal, they can be overcome through medical intervention. If you witness a friend or family member experiencing an overdose, you must:

  • Call 911
  • Stay calm
  • Turn them on their side to avoid choking
  • Remain by their side and stay on the line until help arrives

Support is available for friends and family members concerned about a loved one’s cocaine use.

How Is Substance Abuse Treated?

Drug addiction, or substance use disorder, can only be treated with professional help. If you have an addiction, it is in your best interest to talk to a rehab center and discuss substance abuse treatment options. This can be overwhelming, but it is the first step to recovery.

Treatment begins with detoxification, which rids the body of cocaine and any other drug traces. This can be unpleasant due to withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings, but you will be made comfortable as you detox under the care of medical professionals.

Detoxing at home is never advised. This is because going cold turkey can be dangerous and even life-threatening. If you have any worries about detoxing in a facility, such as financial struggles, we can talk you through our options.

Take Back Control Today

For many, recovery is a long road. But it can be made easier with help from loved ones, treatment, and support programs. It takes a village, but successful long-term recovery is possible. With our help, you can break free from drugs and regain control of your life.

If you are worried about a loved one and would like to learn more about how you can support them, call us today. We can offer you advice and guidance.

Substance Abuse Group Topics

Substance abuse groups offer a wealth of support and help many people maintain long-term addiction recovery. As a form of group therapy, those who attend substance abuse groups have a shared goal of living a life free from the shackles of drug or alcohol addiction.

Substance abuse groups provide a judgment-free environment for those in recovery to seek advice and guidance from other members. Group sessions are generally led by licensed therapists who prompt and guide discussion and encourage individuals to participate. The therapist might also identify individual issues each member may be facing that reoccur in group therapy and daily life.

The conversation topics in group therapy sessions can vary, but there are many great discussion points to choose from.

Group Therapy Benefits

Group therapy plays an integral part in addiction recovery. Being in a group setting allows individuals to gain a greater understanding of their own problems while building self-awareness by listening to the stories of others. Addiction recovery can be an isolating journey for some, but group therapy presents an opportunity to connect with other people.

Substance use disorder groups also provide a chance for those in attendance to improve their communication skills, build connections with other group members through sharing their experiences, and receive honest feedback and perspectives from peers.

Group Therapy Activities

All substance abuse group therapy activities will be slightly different. However, we share some common group therapy activities below.

List Things To Do Instead of Using Drugs

This may include activities or creative tasks. Members may be asked to reflect on what they can do when they experience cravings and how to prevent cravings in the first place.

Anger Management

Activities related to anger management skills are encountered in substance use disorder groups. These activities often surface several times depending on the group and the group members.

During anger management groups, therapists provide guidance and instructions on anger management techniques, and other group members may share their experiences.

Conflict Resolution

All relationships experience conflict – the key to maintaining a healthy relationship is learning how to resolve them. Substance use disorders can put a tremendous strain on relationships. For this reason, learning to resolve conflict in healthy ways is essential to the recovery journey.

Identify ‘Bad’ Habits

During group therapy, members may be asked to make a list of habits that they perceive to be bad. Following this, the group leader may encourage members to identify why they are harmful and what can be done to replace them. Healthier alternatives may be suggested to help members avoid these habits.

Brainstorm Affirmations

In addition to the above activities, the group may be invited to brainstorm affirmations to share with the group. These could be general affirmations for any of the group members, individual affirmations, or more personal affirmations that recognize individual growth and importance.

Affirmations provide an opportunity to recognize how certain words can significantly impact people’s feelings, behaviors, and self-confidence.

Goal Setting

Setting goals gives those in recovery things to work towards. Goals could be general; however, specific themes such as fitness goals may be encouraged. During this activity, the group is encouraged to discuss aspects of goals that may have already been achieved on each person’s journey, allowing members to seek inspiration from others.


Everyone tends to focus on the future or past now and again. However, taking a moment to stop and focus on the present can be extremely beneficial. As a result, practicing mindfulness is common in substance abuse group therapy.

Group Therapy Topics

As with group activities, topics also vary and tend to follow the lead of members and the therapist facilitating the session. Below, we have outlined a few standard topics.


Discussing the topic of gratitude is an everyday activity in group therapy sessions. Conversations may cover aspects that group members are grateful for, what gratitude is, and how to show gratitude.

Triggers for Substance Use

One of the most common substance use disorder group topics is triggers. All group members may have different triggers, so listening to these could help other attendees identify secondary triggers or coping methods they have not yet identified.

The group leader may ask each member how they have responded to triggers in the past. They may also discuss what coping strategies each member uses to overcome triggers. Reflecting on personal experiences and listening to those of others can be an enlightening experience.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is essential for general health, yet it is something that people recovering from a substance use disorder or addiction can have trouble with. It can be helpful to brainstorm ways to reach sleep goals alongside other people who may experience the same thing.

The Significance of Self-Care

Self-care is essential for long-term sobriety. However, it can be challenging to keep up with self-care goals. For this reason, group therapy can be a great way of keeping each other accountable. Group therapy also ensures that support systems can be developed.

When discussing the importance of self-care, it is not uncommon for members to share their self-care goals and how they are trying to achieve these. Hearing outside perspectives of self-care can help other people create a healthy daily routine, which can enhance mental health.

Letting Go

Talking about forgiveness and overcoming resentment is an essential part of addiction recovery. During group therapy, members may be invited to share who they would like to forgive and if holding on to grudges and resentment has affected their life in any way.

Letting go of hurtful moments and hearing about other people’s experiences can help many gain greater self-awareness.


Although many people may overlook this particular topic, it is important to consider what those in recovery would say to their younger selves if they could. For this reason, group topics often encourage members to consider what they would say, what advice they would give, and what direction they would point their younger self in. Childhood experiences may also be discussed.

Stress Management

Stress affects everyone, so creating healthy coping mechanisms is a vital part of any recovery plan. Group topics frequently surround stress management, helping those in attendance identify stressors in their life.

Members may be invited to talk about how they cope with stress or instances when they feel unable to. From here, consequences can be evaluated. Hearing other people’s responses can be incredibly useful.


In support groups, members may also brainstorm ways to reduce isolation and discuss the risks or benefits of being alone. Discussing isolation risks can lead to conversations surrounding healthy and harmful habits in social situations.

To Conclude

Therapy groups increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and provide a safe place for people who have struggled with substance abuse to talk about their recovery. Groups also enable those in recovery to discuss mental illness, core issues in their lives, the consequences of abusing substances, unhealthy habits, and building healthier ones.

Having a group to discuss these topics with can be incredibly powerful either on its own or in addition to individual therapy. Joining a substance abuse group can additionally improve an individual’s chance of long-term sobriety.

Contact Empowered Recovery today for more information about our recovery support services.

Long-Term Side Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that works by speeding up brain functions. It’s found in powder and rock forms that can be snorted, smoked, and rubbed onto the gums. Cocaine can also be dissolved in water and injected.

The powder form of cocaine is referred to as coke, among other things, whereas the rock form is referred to as crack or crack cocaine.

As with other drugs, there are many short and long-term physical and psychological effects of cocaine. Here we look at some of the impacts associated with prolonged cocaine abuse.

Difference Between Cocaine and Crack

In its powder form, cocaine is a fine, white hydrochloride salt. However, it’s common for the drug to be cut with other substances, such as talcum powder, to increase the quantity.

Cocaine is also commonly cut with other substances, such as amphetamine or fentanyl, which are severely potent synthetic opioids. Recent studies have attributed this lethal combination to the rising rates of overdose deaths.

In contrast, crack cocaine is made from mixing powdered cocaine with water and another substance such as baking soda. Once the powder form of cocaine is combined with baking soda, it’s then boiled to form a solid. From here, it’s broken into small rocks, which are sold as crack cocaine.

Crack is more highly concentrated than powdered cocaine, which increases its addictiveness. However, both forms are highly addictive.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine derives from the coca plant, which originates in South America. Initially, cocaine was used due to its ability to combat fatigue, but it has since been used in a myriad of ways. For example, cocaine hydrochloride was commonly utilized for medical and recreational purposes during the mid-1900s. However, restrictions were later implemented when the negative impacts of the drug came to light.

A powerful stimulant, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse. As a fast-acting central nervous system stimulant, cocaine produces rapid effects on the brain and body, making it particularly risky and addictive.

Despite being illegal, cocaine use is widespread. A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that just under two million individuals over the age of 12 use cocaine every year.

Physical Side Effects of Cocaine

Smoking cocaine often sees people inhaling large quantities for an extended time. Given the relatively short duration of the high, this creates more severe health impacts, including damage to the lungs and tooth decay.

Snorting cocaine can induce problems in the nasal passages and cause chronic nose bleeds. Damage to the nasal tissue may also arise in long-term users. In contrast, rubbing cocaine on the gums can cause painful ulcers, while injecting cocaine can increase the risk of contracting bloodborne diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis.

In addition to the above, cocaine produces feelings of euphoria, increased energy, heightened senses, and mental alertness. Some of the other short-term effects of cocaine include the following:

  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Involuntary muscle movements or spasms

How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

Cocaine is a fast-acting drug. However, the administration method of the drug essentially determines the effects it has on the body and how quickly they arise and last. The quicker cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream; the more intense the high will be.

For example, the effects of cocaine take longer to surface when snorting the drug. When the effects arise, they can last for up to an hour. In contrast, injecting or smoking cocaine can provide almost immediate but short-lived effects.

Symptoms of a Cocaine Overdose

Drug overdoses are on the rise, with almost 100,00 fatal overdoses reported in the United States. High doses of cocaine can make people feel restless, paranoid, and, at times, behave violently. In addition, the following symptoms may be experienced:

  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle twitches
  • Headaches
  • Chest pains

Unfortunately, it’s possible to overdose on cocaine. Symptoms of cocaine overdose may include seizures, brain hemorrhage, kidney failure, heart attacks, coma, or strokes.

In addition, when cocaine is mixed with other substances, fatal consequences can transpire. Yet sadly, it’s common for people to drink alcohol while taking cocaine. However, alcohol and cocaine have increased toxicity for the heart. The combination of cocaine and heroin – or other opiates – also comes with fatal overdose risks.

How Does Cocaine Addiction Alter the Brain?

Dopamine is a chemical naturally produced by the brain when something pleasurable is experienced. It’s a crucial component in the healthy functioning of humans, and it enables us to participate in vital activities such as eating, working, and moving. When cocaine is used, the amount of dopamine in the brain drastically increases.

In a normally functioning brain, dopamine neurons fire into gaps between other neurons and brain cells when pleasure is experienced. Dopamine then travels to receptors on nearby cells, creating communication between cells, which causes us to feel certain sensations. From here, dopamine is reprocessed back into the cell that initially released it, shutting off signals between nerve cells.

Drug abuse can interrupt this process. In the presence of cocaine, the drug binds with the dopamine transporter, which inhibits the removal of dopamine. As a result, dopamine builds up and binds with other receptors, sending continuous pleasure signals. This is what creates the euphoric feeling often experienced immediately after using cocaine.

As the brain experiences this pleasure, it attempts to recreate various sensations. This is why strong urges for cocaine arise when the drug is unavailable. The aftereffect of the high dopamine levels can also cause feelings of emptiness and depression.

Because the human brain is adaptive, substance abuse causes reward systems to alter. The result of this is increased tolerance to a substance, meaning that larger quantities of cocaine will eventually be needed to feel the same high that it initially provided.

Damage of Long-Term Cocaine Abuse

Many health complications can come from using cocaine for prolonged periods. The severe effects are usually related to the cardiovascular system and include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart attack
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Nausea
  • Gastrointestinal problems

As touched on above, some of the effects of cocaine depend on the method of use. For example, snorting cocaine can induce a loss of smell, nosebleeds, and problems swallowing. Meanwhile, smoking cocaine can lead to asthma, respiratory disease, and a high risk of pneumonia.

If cocaine is administered intravenously, there is a risk of contracting bloodborne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.

Cocaine Addiction: Secondary Diseases

Studies, including a report by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), ascertain that cocaine increases the risk of HIV infection. It’s thought that cocaine inhibits immune cell function and encourages the reproduction of HIV.

Cocaine use can accelerate the impacts of the disease, including increased brain damage and other neurological conditions stemming from HIV. Research also shows that those who use cocaine and are infected with HIV may be more vulnerable to contracting other viruses such as hepatitis C.

Drug use and addiction can debilitate intuition and awareness. Unfortunately, people who are addicted to cocaine may have unprotected sex, have sex in exchange for drugs, or use dirty needles to inject cocaine. These behaviors increase the likelihood of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.

Some other long-term effects of cocaine include malnourishment, due to cocaine’s effect of decreasing the appetite, and muscle disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, which can occur after years of prolonged use.

Additionally, it’s common for individuals to experience frustration and restlessness following high levels of cocaine use. Some people also experience extreme paranoia.

Addiction Treatment at Empowered Recovery

At Empowered Recovery, we offer medical detox to support clients through the challenging days of cocaine withdrawal and ensure they get on the right path to sobriety. Our cocaine addiction programs are led by teams of medical experts who design, monitor, and reflect on every stage of each person’s journey.

Throughout our client’s time with us, our medical team and compassionate nursing staff offer emotional support and take care of any physical health complications, should they arise.

We don’t only treat the symptoms of addiction; we are passionate about taking care of the underlying cause of substance abuse. As a result, our therapy sessions address the mental health problems which might be fuelling addiction and arm each person with coping mechanisms to go back into the world with a healthier approach to life.

Freedom From Drug Abuse

Our cocaine recovery program begins with detox, the crucial first stage for anybody looking to overcome a cocaine addiction. However, overcoming cocaine abuse is more than just withdrawal; it requires comprehensive treatment to help understand and address the root causes of addiction.

Our team of medical experts lead treatment programs that provide the entire continuum of care. From the moment our clients walk through our doors, they are treated with complete respect and dignity.

At Empowered Recovery, our programs include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Support groups
  • Family therapy
  • Life skills sessions

Throughout treatment, our medical team works with clients to confront their drug addiction at the source via a holistic approach. During the recovery journey – from detox to aftercare – each person’s health, comfort, and safety are our utmost priority.

Contact Us Today

If you have any questions about our process, flexible treatment options, or therapy methods, get in touch with us today. Our team is waiting for your call.

Cocaine and Pregnancy

Drug use always comes with risks, including short and long-term health problems, overdose, addiction, and death. When you take cocaine during pregnancy, there is a chance of serious harm not only to yourself but to your unborn child.

Cocaine use during pregnancy comes with an increased risk of stillbirth as well as other health issues. For this reason, it is in both your and your unborn child’s best interest to stop all substance use.

However, you should not cease cocaine by going cold turkey, as doing so can have dangerous side effects. Instead, you should seek professional help and treatment for drug use through a rehab center where you will start a detoxification process to rid your body of all substance traces.

We understand how daunting asking for help during this difficult time can be, but we are here to support you. Don’t hesitate to call us today for confidential advice about starting addiction treatment.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a Schedule II street drug with a high potential for harm and addiction. It is derived from the leaves of two coca plant species native to South America.

Though initially used for medical purposes as a local anesthetic and analgesic, today, cocaine is bought for recreational purposes. Cocaine usually looks like a fine white powder and has a bitter chemical taste, although it can be other colors depending on how it is made and what it is cut with. ‘Cutting’ occurs when a person bulks out cocaine supply with other substances for profit.

Common cutting substances include prescription painkillers, caffeine, baking soda, and benzos. Certain cutting agents such as opioids increase the risk of accidental overdose. As cocaine is unregulated, you can never be sure what exactly you are using, making it all the more dangerous.

What Are the Dangers of Cocaine?

Cocaine is usually smoked, snorted, injected, or rubbed into the gums. Sometimes cocaine presents in crystal form, known as crack cocaine, which is generally smoked. All forms of cocaine administration are harmful to your health.

Possible short-term adverse effects of cocaine include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and overdose. Injury and death can also occur from risky behavior due to cocaine making you feel invincible and overconfident. It is extremely dangerous to mix with alcohol as this can cause an overdose.

Cocaine abuse comes with long-term health problems such as:

  • Addiction
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • Cardiovascular issues including heart attacks and strokes
  • Respiratory problems when cocaine is smoked
  • Chronic nose bleeds and risk of a perforated septum when cocaine is snorted
  • HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis when cocaine is administered intravenously
  • Blood infections
  • Brain injury

If you are worried about any potential side effects to your health, it is never too late to talk to someone about your cocaine use and get your life back on track.

What Does Cocaine Addiction Look Like?

If you have taken cocaine, you may have an addiction. Addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), is a brain disease that is difficult to overcome without professional help. Signs of cocaine addiction include:

  • A tolerance to cocaine
  • Withdrawal symptoms if you stop using for even a short period
  • An inability to stop using cocaine despite adverse effects on your health and well-being
  • Obsessions over getting your next fix
  • Secretive behavior and lying to hide your drug problem
  • Withdrawal from family and friends due to drug use
  • Poor performance at school or work due to cocaine use
  • Risky behavior such as driving under the influence
  • Exacerbated existing mental health problems
  • Poor hygiene and self-care

Fortunately, cocaine addiction is treatable. Many people enjoy a long and successful recovery with the right treatment and ongoing support. The hardest step is often admitting you have a problem. Please don’t suffer in silence; talk to us today and start your addiction treatment.

How Does Cocaine Affect the Central Nervous System?

A powerful stimulant (or upper), cocaine affects the central nervous system by speeding up messages sent between the brain and body. Like adrenaline, cocaine affects the cardiovascular system, causing high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and fast breathing.

People usually take cocaine because of how it makes them feel. Cocaine typically brings a false sense of well-being. Cocaine also makes a user feel:

  • Euphoric
  • Energetic
  • Alert
  • Confident

Cocaine has rapid onset effects that wear off quickly. After which, more cocaine is needed to sustain the desired euphoric high. The brain’s reward pathways adapt to this hit of dopamine and begin to crave cocaine at all costs. This is how addiction occurs. Essentially, it becomes a compulsion.

Cocaine can also induce:

  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

There are many adverse consequences to cocaine use, especially if you are pregnant. Taking cocaine is never worth it.

Many people take cocaine to mask negative feelings such as depression and anxiety. As a result, substance abuse disorders such as drug or alcohol abuse and mental health disorders are often co-occurring. Mental health issues should be taken care of appropriately by healthcare professionals.

What Are the Effects of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure?

The effects of prenatal cocaine exposure have long been recognized, and you should be advised on the risks during prenatal care. Many mothers with addiction avoid prenatal checkups, but it is important that you attend, as cocaine use in pregnancy can have devastating consequences to both you and your baby.

Placental Abruption

One of the most significant risks for pregnant women is placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus. A serious condition, this is very dangerous for mother and baby. Placental abruption can sadly lead to pregnancy complications such as:

  • Heavy bleeding which can cause a hemorrhage
  • Premature birth (before 37 weeks) resulting in low birth weight
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth

Maternal cocaine use can harm fetal development, especially during early pregnancy. Traces of the drug can actually be found in the umbilical cord, urine, meconium, and hair of exposed newborns. This is because cocaine crosses the placental barrier during gestation and enters the baby via amniotic fluid.

Risks for a developing baby include:

  • Neurodevelopmental issues that can lead to learning difficulties and behavior problems in later life
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Growth defects in babies
  • Cleft palate
  • Respiratory problems
  • Infections

What Are the Dangers of Drug Abuse in Pregnancy?

It is not recommended to consume alcohol or illicit drugs during pregnancy. This is because there is potential for devastating consequences to both mother and baby. Risks include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Long-term health and development complications for the developing child

Babies exposed to cocaine when in the womb can develop neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Although it most commonly occurs through opioid abuse, the risk is there for any illicit drug use. This can cause irritability, difficulty feeding, respiratory problems, and seizures. Although treatment is available, it is better to avoid this happening in the first place.

The risks of prenatal drug abuse can make for a difficult read, but this is why it is essential to be aware of them to avoid any possible complications. Help is available through your local health practitioner, a rehab center, or a helpline.

How Do I Get Addiction Treatment?

Seeking professional help and treatment for cocaine use or addiction is the right and admirable thing to do for both you and your baby.

Treatment typically includes detoxification to kick the physical addiction as well as therapy and group support for the best chance of successful long-term recovery. This might seem overwhelming at first, but we are here to make the process easier.

Call Us Today

Our team of healthcare professionals can offer personalized rehab care to suit your needs. Talk to us today to discuss your treatment options for cocaine use and addiction.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Using cocaine for a prolonged period can alter your brain’s behavior and structure and cause severe health, emotional, and social problems to arise.

Determining how long cocaine stays in your system can be complex. Many variable factors, such as the severity of your addiction and the length of time you have been using cocaine, contribute to how long the drug takes to leave your body.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful Schedule II drug with a high potential for abuse. As a fast-acting central nervous system stimulant, cocaine produces rapid effects, making it dangerous, not to mention addictive.

Extracted from the coca plant, which originates in South America, cocaine use has ebbed and flowed since the original discovery of the fatigue-fighting properties of the plant. Although cocaine hydrochloride was used widely for medical and recreational use in the mid-1900s, restrictions were put in place surrounding the use of the drug when adverse side effects were noticed.

Today, cocaine is occasionally used in health care settings, but recreational cocaine use is illegal. Despite this, a 2016 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that nearly two million individuals over the age of 12 use cocaine almost every year.

In its pure form, cocaine is a fine, white powder. However, illegal use of cocaine often sees the drug mixed – or cut – with substances such as cornflour or talcum powder to increase the quantity. More dangerously, cocaine can sometimes be cut with other substances, such as amphetamine or fentanyl – two severely potent synthetic opioids.

This combination of synthetic opioids and cocaine is extremely risky, and recent increasing rates of overdose deaths are thought to be partly attributed to this practice.

The Effects of Cocaine

The immediate effects of cocaine are wide-ranging and can vary from person to person. However, most of the symptoms are emotional, behavioral, physical, and psychological.

Emotional side effects of cocaine include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Fear
  • Increased or extreme self-interest
  • Unease

Behavioral side effects of cocaine include:

  • Talking excessively
  • Increased energy
  • Dishonesty
  • Improved mental alertness
  • Lack of need for sleep while using
  • Increased demand for sleep after using
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Aggression
  • Financial or legal problems
  • Abandonment of once-pleasurable activities to get high
  • Continuing using cocaine despite recognizing the problems it causes
  • Neglecting work or school commitments

Physical side effects of cocaine include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • A runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Voice hoarseness
  • High body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Malnutrition
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Increased risk of HIV, Hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Heart attack

Psychological side effects of cocaine include:

  • Dangerous behaviors
  • Difficulties in relationships
  • Intense paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Mood swings
  • Violence
  • Hallucinations
  • Urges to use cocaine
  • Unexplained changes in personality
  • Lack of motivation or drive

Cocaine Addiction on the Brain

Cocaine increases the amount of dopamine within the brain, which is naturally produced when we experience something that causes us pleasure. It helps motivate us to do things that keep us alive such as eating, moving, working, feeling emotions, and reproducing.

In a correctly functioning brain, dopamine neurons expel into gaps between themselves and other brain cells when pleasure is experienced. Dopamine then travels to receptors on nearby cells, triggering communication to induce specific feelings or sensations. From here, it is then reprocessed back into the cell that initially released it. In doing this, it shuts off signals between nerve cells.

However, when cocaine is present in the brain, it prevents dopamine from being reprocessed. In turn, dopamine gathers and collects in the spaces between nerve cells, inhibiting their communication.

The build-up of dopamine binds with other receptors, sending out repeated pleasure signals. This creates the intense high you may experience when using cocaine.

Your brain recognizes these pleasurable experiences and tries to repeat them, which explains why you may experience cravings when you are unable to use cocaine. Additionally, dopamine is responsible for the decrease in motivation, distress, and emptiness you may feel following high levels of cocaine use.

The brain’s reward system adapts to prolonged substance abuse, becoming more tolerant to the substance. Therefore, if you frequently use cocaine, you will gradually find yourself needing to increase the dosage to feel the same intense high as you initially did.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Some people believe that cocaine leaves the system quickly compared to other drugs with similar effects, which contributes to the high rates of cocaine use. However, this is not always the case.

Depending on how cocaine is used, it can remain in the body for weeks or longer.

However, it is almost impossible to accurately determine how long cocaine stays in the body as there are many variables to consider, such as the following:

  • Frequency of use and drug potency. The more cocaine is used, the longer metabolites remain in your system. The purity of the drug can also affect how long cocaine stays in your system.
  • Other substances. Alcohol and caffeine can bind with cocaine and slow down its eradication, meaning that cocaine stays in the system longer when mixed with other drugs.
  • Body fat. Cocaine metabolites collect in the fatty tissue of the body. If a user has a higher level of body fat, cocaine may stay in the system longer due to accumulating in tissue.
  • Hydration. Water can increase the rate at which cocaine metabolites leave the body. Drinking plenty of water can speed up cocaine metabolite excretion, and in turn, the withdrawal process during medical detox.
  • Physical activity. Your metabolic rate increases the rate at which cocaine exits the body. If you lead an active lifestyle and have a fast metabolism, you may find that cocaine withdrawal does not last as long.
  • Method of ingestion. How cocaine is used can also affect how long cocaine stays in your body. Typically, the quicker the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, the faster it leaves the body.

Cocaine Drug Tests

Screening tests for cocaine detect benzoylecgonine, a metabolite produced in the body. There are several common ways of testing for cocaine. Below, we look at the average timelines for the varying tests.

Urine Drug Tests

Cocaine’s metabolites can typically be detected in urine for up to three days after the last use. However, if you use cocaine regularly, it can be detected in your urine for up to two weeks.

Urine tests are the most common drug testing method because it proves to be the most sensitive and accurate when testing specifically for the presence of cocaine.

Hair Tests

Depending on how cocaine is used, metabolites can be detected in your hair follicles for up to three months after last use. Hair tests are not commonly considered, but they have the advantage of a long detection time.

Saliva Tests

In some situations, a saliva test may be used to detect cocaine. This test sees saliva extracted from the mouth before being tested in a tube. This particular drug test can detect cocaine for up to two days.

Blood Tests

Blood tests may be used to detect cocaine in a hospital setting. Here, cocaine can typically be detected up to 12 hours after it was last used.

Addiction Treatment for Cocaine Abuse

Determining how long cocaine stays in your system is complicated, especially as multiple factors must be considered. The good news is that support is available. With comprehensive cocaine addiction treatment, you can recover from your drug addiction and the severe psychological and physical effects of taking cocaine.

If you have a physical dependence on cocaine, seeking addiction treatment and professional medical advice is the most effective way to tackle the problem. At our rehab centers, our treatment facilities and experienced staff can help you take the first step in overcoming your addiction.

Typically, the first stage in treatment is detox. This removes all traces of cocaine from your body in a safe space, enabling you to begin to recover from your physical addiction. Following detox, additional treatments, such as therapy and counseling, will help you understand your addiction and develop coping strategies.

Contact Us Today

At Empowered Recovery, we treat every individual who walks through our doors with utmost respect and dignity. We know that everyone’s journey is different, and we have a treatment process that reflects that.

Contact us today if you require cocaine addiction treatment for drug abuse or any co-occurring disorders. Doing so will help you learn more about our treatment options and how we can guide you along your recovery journey, so you can live the life you deserve.

Does Alcoholism Run in Families?

Alcoholism sadly affects the lives of millions of people every day across the United States. Unfortunately, people who fall prey to alcohol abuse often end up losing everything, including their families, their possessions, and even their self-respect.

If a parent, sibling, child, or other family members struggle with alcoholism, you may ask whether it runs in families. In this blog, we explore that very question.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism, is defined as an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” Alcoholism knows no boundaries, and it can affect people regardless of their age, race, sexual identity, or socioeconomic status.

As a mental illness, alcohol use disorder can arise without warning. Often, it is the result of alcohol abuse or binge drinking. Those living with an alcohol use disorder can find it hard to stop drinking without professional support, especially if they experience withdrawal symptoms.

When this happens, it can be even more challenging to give up drinking despite warning signs that their relationship with alcohol is impairing their life.

Does Alcohol Abuse Run in Families?

You may have noticed that people with alcohol addiction often have other family members who also have an alcohol addiction. For this reason, you may worry that you are at a higher risk of developing an alcohol addiction.

While there certainly is a connection between people in your family drinking unhealthily and you developing unhealthy drinking habits, this is not to say that you will struggle with alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

But what is the manner that this happens? Actually, there are a few ways.

Genetic Predispositions

Research shows that alcohol abuse does have genetic factors, with multiple genes playing a role in the development of alcoholism. This means that if your parents have the gene for alcohol abuse, you may too. This does not mean you will develop alcohol abuse problems, but it does increase the risk. For this reason, you should be more careful when drinking alcohol.

The gene for alcoholism can skip generations, so if one of your grandparents struggles with an alcohol use disorder, for example, you should be mindful of your relationship with alcohol.

Learned Behaviors – Environmental Factors

Children pick up more than we give them credit for. If a child notices that their parents abuse alcohol when they are sad or angry, they may begin to believe that this behavior is somewhat normal.

This learned behavior can increase rates of underage drinking and can also increase a person’s risk of developing alcoholism.


Another factor in developing alcoholism, or any substance use disorder for that matter, is trauma. Trauma arises when something happens to or around us that we cannot process at the time.

When we cannot process trauma, it is locked into our bodies and minds, meaning that we have an increased risk of a substance use disorder, including alcoholism. Trauma also increases the risk of developing a mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or anxiety.

Trauma, like alcoholism, can be thought of as running in families. This happens as one person in a family becomes traumatized, then directly or indirectly traumatizes other family members. This cycle continues until someone does the necessary work to break the cycle.

Tips To Avoid Alcohol Use Disorder When It Runs in Your Family

If you are looking to reduce the risk of a child experiencing an alcohol use disorder, there are many things that you can do. For example, you could:

  • Share information and education about the dangers of abusing alcohol with children at an early age. This information should be developmentally appropriate.
  • Keep track of what your child is doing with their free time, and recommend activities that do not involve drinking.
  • Help to build your child’s confidence in healthy ways. Consider youth leadership programs and get them in touch with older role models.
  • Assist your child in developing their problem-solving, communication, and listening skills.

What Can I Do if a Family Member Has an Alcohol Problem?

If a family member is drinking alcohol on a daily basis and you believe they are not able to stop drinking, it may be time to approach them.

Although it’s common to hope that your family member will be willing to talk to you about their problem, it’s important to be aware that many people struggling with an alcohol use disorder will deny that anything is wrong. They may even become defensive.

Family Interventions

Should you find that your family member does not want to talk about their drinking problem and its negative consequences, it may be time to stage an intervention. Interventions are a meeting of people, including the person struggling with an addiction, designed to help them see that they have an alcohol issue.

The planning stage of an intervention is very important. The best time to stage an intervention is when the person in question is not overly intoxicated, as they may be unable to hear the message if they have drunk too much alcohol.

It’s also important to choose who attends the intervention wisely. Consider people who will be able to keep in the spirit of the intervention, which is one of caring and compassion. If there is anyone that you think may inflame the situation or has a tumultuous relationship with the person with an alcohol addiction, it is probably best to leave them out for the time being.

On the day of the intervention, you should calmly state why you are all there, let the person know that they are cared for and that you all believe that they should get help for their alcohol problem. Relay stories to them about times when you have been concerned, but remember that the purpose of this exercise is not to shame the person; it is to show that you care and that you are concerned for their welfare.

Make sure to speak with an addiction professional at an addiction treatment center before starting the intervention. Having a counselor or therapist at the intervention is also recommended.

If the intervention goes well, the person should leave for the treatment center directly after the intervention has taken place to prevent them from having time to change their minds.

Alcohol Use Disorder and Substance Abuse

Alcohol use disorders and substance abuse frequently go hand-in-hand. Often, those with an alcohol use disorder also develop a substance abuse problem.

When alcohol use disorder and substance abuse coexist, they can be an even more slippery slope than alcohol consumption alone, as substance abuse leads the person to act even more erratically.

The combination of both these disorders is even worse when you consider the dangers of mixing alcohol with other substances. Particularly dangerous interactions occur when alcohol is mixed with other downers. The impact that both disorders have on a person’s mental health can also lead to them experiencing a mental health disorder, making it harder to overcome an addiction.

If you suspect that a family member or loved one has a coexisting alcohol and drug abuse problem, it is best to discuss this with an addiction treatment center. Doing so will ensure that your family member gets the help they need for both disorders.

To Conclude

Although alcohol addictions do run in families, there are a number of different risk factors to alcoholism. It’s important to remember that even if a close family member develops an addiction, this does not necessarily mean that you will.

If a close family member or friend has a heavy drinking problem that they cannot stop, speak with our team at Empowered Recovery. We offer programs suitable for people with alcohol addiction problems, and our first priority is making sure that our clients achieve long-lasting sobriety.

If you would like more information on how we can help you or your loved one, please give us a call on 1-855-949-5518. Our team is on hand to support you.

How To Get Off Cocaine

Cocaine addiction and drug abuse can be devastating; they can cause you to feel lost, helpless, and out of control. Acknowledging the problem takes a lot of strength, so well done for getting this far. Once you have admitted that you need help, you can begin the recovery journey and tackle your substance addiction.

While cocaine is not the most physically challenging drug to get off, it can be challenging psychologically. Some psychological symptoms can be severe, making it essential to undergo detox and cocaine withdrawal under medical guidance. Detox can be completed at an inpatient treatment facility or at an outpatient treatment center, where medical professionals can guide you through overcoming drug use.

In addition to seeking treatment, healthy lifestyle choices, behavioral therapy, and community-based recovery groups are all recommended for those recovering from substance abuse.

Addiction treatment can help you to combat substance abuse and pave the way for a healthy, fulfilled life free from the ties of cocaine dependence.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illicit stimulant drug that works by increasing activity in the central nervous system, which causes users to feel alert, highly energized, and experience euphoric sensations. The feelings of happiness and pleasure that arise upon using cocaine are due to the release of dopamine, which is triggered into production when cocaine is taken. These feelings contribute to cocaine’s addictive qualities.

Although many cocaine users use cocaine in its white, powdery form by snorting it or rubbing it on their gums, some people who participate in cocaine drug abuse use crack cocaine or crack, as it is otherwise known. Crack cocaine is rock-like in appearance and is generally administered by intravenous injection or via smoking it.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine Addiction and Abuse?

Cocaine is a fast-acting drug, meaning it gets to work quickly after entering your system. Usually, a cocaine high peaks after 15 to 30 minutes, while a crack cocaine high typically peaks after two to five minutes.

The duration and intensity of the high depend on several factors, such as the way it is administered, the purity of the substance, whether it is taken alongside other drugs, and the amount consumed.

Cocaine addiction can severely affect both the body and the brain. For example, cocaine elevates blood pressure and damages the cardiovascular system, putting a significant strain on the heart. As a result, cocaine addiction can put users at an increased risk of cardiac arrest, seizures, and stroke.

In addition to the physical effects of cocaine use, some mental health issues linked to cocaine abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?

When it comes to getting off cocaine, medical detox is needed. However, cocaine impacts the reward system in the brain, making it harder for some people to quit the drug altogether.

When detoxing from cocaine, withdrawal symptoms will arise as the body tries to readjust to functioning without the drug. Some cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable. Sadly, this is why many people will binge cocaine or continue using to avoid withdrawal. However, this is dangerous and can lead to a cocaine overdose.

Upon commencing a medical detox, withdrawal symptoms tend to be physical and psychological. Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Unpleasant dreams or nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although these withdrawal symptoms are commonly experienced, the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms depend on various factors, including:

  • The amount of cocaine taken
  • The duration of cocaine abuse
  • Polysubstance dependence
  • Your mental health
  • Your physical health

What Is the Cocaine Withdrawal Process?

To cease your physical cocaine dependency and start treatment, you will, as touched on above, need to go through cocaine detox. Detox involves ridding the body of toxic substances that accompany drug abuse.

Cocaine detox can be completed as part of an outpatient program at an outpatient treatment center or via an inpatient treatment center where round-the-clock care and medical supervision are available.

Although it is possible for some people to detox via an outpatient center or at home under medical guidance, inpatient rehab centers are usually recommended. This is because treatment is available at all times at an inpatient treatment facility.

Inpatient detox is recommended if you:

  • suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses.
  • have attempted withdrawal previously but failed.
  • are suffering from severe cocaine addiction.
  • are experiencing severe depression or intense cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

If you are worried about the detox process, plenty of support is available. Contacting a treatment center, such as our own, will ensure that you have the information and treatment you need to get off of cocaine.

The Withdrawal Timeline

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms generally ease after around seven to 10 days, but cocaine cravings can continue for a while after this.

The half-life of cocaine is relatively short, meaning that cocaine withdrawal symptoms can develop in as little as 90 minutes after the final dose. The withdrawal process can generally be broken down as follows:

  • One to three hours after last using cocaine will see symptoms such as irritability, exhaustion, anxiety, and an increased appetite arise.
  • Intense cocaine cravings often surface during the first week of cocaine withdrawal, as does insomnia, fatigue, vivid nightmares, anxiety, and depression.
  • Cocaine withdrawal symptoms often persist into the fourth week of cocaine withdrawal. During this time, you may feel emotionally unstable, agitated, and lack concentration.
  • Although anxiety and cravings may persist, cocaine withdrawal symptoms start to decrease five to 10 weeks after withdrawal starts.

What Addiction Treatment Options Are Available?

At present, there aren’t any Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications to treat cocaine withdrawal specifically. However, promising medications point toward the possibility of pharmacological treatment. In addition, certain anxiety medications exist, as do medications that block the pleasure response, which can help ease the withdrawal process.

With regards to treatment options for cocaine addiction, upon completing detox, you may be offered a range of treatments such as therapy and support groups. However, these treatments depend on whether you attend an inpatient or outpatient rehab. Should you attend our rehab for treatment, we will offer you a personalized treatment program that is individually tailored to your needs, ensuring that your physical and mental health requirements are taken into account.

Intense cravings make cocaine a hard drug to quit, especially as they can reappear a month after quitting. However, we can help you learn how to handle these as best possible and beat your cocaine use for good.

Treatment facilities, such as our own, generally offer therapy sessions, support groups (such as Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous), and behavioral therapy. Rehab also includes education surrounding relapse prevention and planning for aftercare.

Meanwhile, long-term cocaine addiction treatment focuses on emotional support to continue tackling the psychological addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is recommended for cocaine addiction recovery.


If you have developed an addiction to cocaine, getting off the drug may feel like an impossible task. But with our help, overcoming an addiction is entirely achievable. The process can be intense, but luckily the withdrawal timeline is relatively short for most people.

However, to make a long-term recovery, a medically supervised detox is in your best interest. Likewise, treatment options such as inpatient or outpatient detox followed by rehab treatment programs will help you tackle your cocaine use and treat cocaine addiction safely and with guidance.

To find out more about our addiction treatment, please get in touch with us today. In doing so, our medical professionals can explain our addiction treatment, what a medical detox involves, and discuss our rehab facilities with you. We can also offer any mental health support that you may need.

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal?

Sometimes quitting alcohol can simply mean making small and manageable changes to your lifestyle. But for many, alcohol withdrawal can make stopping drinking more difficult.

When you engage in prolonged heavy drinking, there is potential for addiction. Cutting out alcohol when you have a physical dependence can have adverse effects, including intense cravings and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms are usually unpleasant, but they can be dangerous on rare occasions, and, in extremely rare cases, they can be fatal. This is why you should never quit alcohol cold turkey at home without seeking medical advice.

If your relationship with alcohol has taken a turn for the worst and you find yourself struggling with an addiction, detoxing and going through alcohol withdrawal at a rehab center, such as our own, is recommended.

During your time in rehab, you will receive constant care and support, and your alcohol withdrawal will be monitored.


What Are the Dangers of Alcohol?

Alcohol is a powerful drug that can profoundly affect your mind and body when abused. As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol consumption slows down messages sent between your brain and body, leading to a range of rapid-onset effects, such as:

  • Euphoria
  • A warming sensation
  • A feeling of relaxation
  • Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
  • Reduced reflexes and coordination
  • Reduced cognitive function

Government guidelines advise women not to drink more than one drink containing alcohol per day. In contrast, men should avoid drinking more than two drinks a day. However, many people often overlook this advice to feed their addiction.

What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Abuse?

Drinking heavily is defined as consuming around eight drinks or more per week for women and 15 drinks or more per week for men. Binge drinking typically occurs if a woman consumes four or more drinks within a two-hour period or five for a man. This kind of excessive drinking is considered alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse can cause adverse short and long-term health problems to arise. Potential long-term health consequences of alcohol include:

  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Mouth, colon, liver, and pancreas cancer
  • Brain damage

In addition to the above, long-term health consequences of alcohol abuse can include alcohol poisoning, a condition that requires medical attention. Some signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Severe confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Low heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness

If you think you may have an alcohol addiction, securing help is in your best interest. At our rehab center, we can provide you with the treatment you need to withdraw from alcohol in a safe environment. Likewise, don’t be afraid to talk to someone if you have a problem with alcohol abuse or addiction.

Alcohol rehab support area:

What Does Alcohol Addiction Look Like?

Alcohol triggers your brain to release dopamine, which causes the state of euphoria to occur after a few drinks. Through drinking heavily and frequently, alcohol corrupts our brain’s natural reward pathways.

Many things activate our reward pathways, such as music, food, and exercise. But our brains soon learn that alcohol causes instant pleasure and begins to crave it at all costs.

An addiction to alcohol causes both physical and psychological symptoms. However, you might not realize you are experiencing these symptoms, or you may not be ready to accept them. Yet, the only way to prevent them and combat an alcohol use disorder is via treatment.

Common physical signs of addiction include:

  • Tolerance to alcohol and needing more for the desired effect
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Sleep problems, such as insomnia
  • Unexplained bruises and injuries
  • Lethargy
  • A disorganized appearance
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Common psychological symptoms of addiction include:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Exacerbated mental health issues

If you have developed an addiction to alcohol, your behavior will also begin to change, causing behavioral symptoms to impair your life. Changes in your behavior might be the first clue that you need help. Likewise, changes in your behavior may cause your loved ones to question your health and well-being.

Like many other people, you might not believe that your behavior is changing, and you may not believe you have an alcohol use disorder. However, if you notice that alcohol has slowly gotten the better of you, reach out for help.

Behavioral signs of addiction include:

  • An obsession with getting your next drink
  • Finding excuses to drink
  • Drinking in secret
  • Irritability and agitation when you can’t drink alcohol
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Poor hygiene
  • Prioritizing alcohol above things you once loved and enjoyed
  • Prioritizing alcohol over spending time with your friends and family
  • Defensiveness, secrecy, and lying about the extent of your alcohol use
  • Risky behavior, such as driving under the influence or unprotected sex

Sadly, addiction can slowly take over every aspect of your life. With addiction, you are no longer in control. But treatment is available to support you through the withdrawal process and help you make a long-term recovery.

What Are Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?

If you have an alcohol dependence, the only way to overcome your problem is by seeking treatment at a rehab center. Usually, the first stage of treatment is detoxification.

During detoxification, alcohol withdrawal occurs as alcohol is removed from your body, which enables you to physically begin to recover. However, due to being physically dependent on alcohol, detox can cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable, but detoxing is an essential step to becoming alcohol-free, and such symptoms are a sign that your body is rewiring itself.

Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping problems
  • Vivid dreams
  • Low mood and depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Cravings

Symptoms can start as soon as six hours after your last drink and peak at around 72 hours before tapering off. Rehab centers are designed to keep you comfortable throughout the duration of your detox. They also provide other resources for your recovery, such as therapy and mental health support.

For most people, the detox process only takes up to one week. However, for others, detox may take longer to complete, and more intense and severe withdrawal symptoms may arise.

What Are Delirium Tremens (DTs)?

In the case of severe addiction, detoxing may give way to more intense withdrawal symptoms. These are called delirium tremens (DTs). This particular withdrawal symptom is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition; however, they usually only occur in about 5% of detox cases when a person has a severe prolonged alcohol addiction.

People who experience delirium tremens usually do so around 24 to 48 hours after they stop drinking.

Symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Shaking
  • Chest pains
  • Agitation
  • Nightmares

More serious symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Severe confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever and sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Grand mal seizures

If you experience delirium tremens, supervision from medical professionals is vital. This is because life-threatening complications include sepsis, cardiac arrest, coma, and seizures. However, by attending a rehab center, these symptoms can be managed using medications, such as benzodiazepines.

Can You Die From Alcohol Withdrawal?

Like other people, you may wonder whether you can die from alcohol withdrawal. Due to the treatments available via rehab centers, such as our own, and medication, the chances of this are very rare.

The risk of DTs and other withdrawal symptoms make it important to detox at a specialized rehab facility such as ours. Here you will receive personalized treatment under the supervision of dedicated medical professionals, and all effort will be made to keep you safe and comfortable during your alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal.

To find out more about alcohol withdrawal at our rehab center, please contact us today.

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    3651 Canton Road,
    Marietta, GA 30066

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