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Substance Abuse Counseling: A Look at Cocaine.

Substance Abuse Counseling: The Psychological Effects of Using Cocaine


Substance abuse counselors today are seeing more cases of cocaine abuse. The coca plant is a native to South America which has been cultivated for centuries and then refined into a substance called cocaine. This popular recreational drug is also a powerful central nervous system stimulant apart from being a mild topical anesthetic. The most popular method of consuming cocaine is to insufflate it in a powder form. It can also be injected intravenously into the bloodstream. Yet another method of consuming cocaine is to smoke crack or freebase cocaine. This allows a far more intense high that only lasts a short while.

Cocaine in a pile on a black surface

What substance abuse counseling techniques do you have for someone with a cocaine addiction?


Cocaine causes a myriad of psychological effects. Such effects are dependent on the user and his/her tolerance to the drug. Cocaine is often used as a party drug because it causes euphoria and extreme happiness. Other effects of the drug increase its popularity with party goers. One of these effects lowers fatigue and weariness making cocaine perfect for dancing throughout the night. Like amphetamines, some use cocaine as a fuel for their work. It helps them to concentrate and stay awake and therefore work more productively for longer periods of time.

An individual’s behavior may change in many different ways after consuming significant amounts of cocaine. People on high doses of cocaine are often irritable and irrational. Hallucinations can occur as well as intense feelings of paranoia. These factors all lead to aggressive, violent and antisocial behaviors. In addition to its adverse psychological effects, cocaine takes quite the toll on the human body. The circulatory system undergoes serious adverse effects. As cocaine is introduced to the body, pupils begin to dilate and perspiration may take place. A loss of appetite and decreased desire to sleep is also common. The heart rate as well as the blood pressure increases rapidly. The risk of stroke, heart attack and seizures increases when consumption of cocaine is coupled with the rigorous physical activity.

Compared to opiate withdrawal, withdrawal from cocaine is not nearly as dangerous to the user. The neurotransmitters involved with producing the highs associated with cocaine use include norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine which also play a role in psychological function. To learn more detail regarding these effects you can seek out the consultation of a professional who has achieved substance abuse counseling certification.


Withdrawal symptoms for cocaine include depression, anxiety, fatigue, chills, aches, pain, tremors, increased cravings, and even suicidal thoughts. Panic attacks are much more pronounced as soon as a man or woman undergoes withdrawal due to the fact there is no longer the psychologically “stabilizing” effect of the drug. Men and women undergoing withdrawal are so addicted to having “crack” on hand that they are almost mentally incapacitated by being deprived of it. This means that once the high wears off, users report feelings of sadness and depression which makes them anxious to consume the drug again or they will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia is also an acknowledged side effect when one is forcibly withdrawn from cocaine abuse as cocaine prevents the user from being able to sleep. Nevertheless, insomnia encountered for the duration of withdrawal has a shorter variety of impact compared with typical cases of insomnia.

Mild headaches and occasional periods of extreme fear and anxiety are also achievable signs and symptoms of prolonged abuse although they are not deemed widespread. Such symptoms can be very powerful and frightening for both the person experiencing them and those around them. Therefore, it is best to undergo withdrawal or detox under medical supervision. Cessation of cocaine abuse can also lead to paranoid thoughts, loss of sexual drive, suicidal tendencies and an overall sense of apathy. These symptoms are enough to tempt users to use cocaine just to get rid of them and such self-medication often leads to a cycle of abuse, addiction and eventually a prolonged dependency on the drug.


The long-term risks of using cocaine are basically more serious versions of the short-term psychological effects. Extreme restlessness and anxiety can lead to a barrage of paranoid thoughts and violent mood changes. Insomnia over a longer duration of time combined with the other effects of cocaine can lead to dangerous weight loss while on the drug. A host of health problems (such as lung damage, blockage of arteries etc.) associated with insufflation can occur when cocaine is used by snorting it into the nose.

It is to be kept in mind that cocaine is indeed a dangerous drug. Ironically, the risks of consuming cocaine are downplayed significantly by its reputation as a feel-good party drug. In reality, cocaine can not only cause death after one usage but the psychological effects it imposes on addicts can certainly lead to a violent lifestyle full of paranoid delusions. Enrolling into a substance abuse education courses will help health care professionals stay on top of the new information related to cocaine abuse.

If you are interested in learning about substance abuse counseling then you might want to review our site.

One Response to Substance Abuse Counseling: A Look at Cocaine.

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