Growing numbers of America's youth are succumbing to the misconception that there is a safe level of cocaine use. Many who feel the curiosity or pressure to try the drug recreationally do not realize how rapidly their experimentation can turn into full-fledged addiction, endangering health and derailing otherwise productive lives.
If you have been using cocaine, you might be legitimately concerned that your recreational use is turning into an addiction. It's important that you know the facts about cocaine use. If any of these statements could apply to you, please consider the possibility that you have developed a potentially life-threatening addiction and seek help from local drug counselors and community rehabilitation resources. Here's what to look for to tell if you need help:
- You use more cocaine than you originally planned.
- You have escalated the size of planned doses.
- The expectation of using the drug fills you with excitement, almost like a high in itself.
- Its use interferes with necessary parts of your daily life (work, school, social life, family life).
- It is creating a financial strain or undermining your financial stability.
- You experience physical symptoms of addiction, such as a constantly runny nose, chest irritation, rapid heart beat, etc. (For more physical symptoms, please consult our article, How To Recognize Cocaine Addiction).
- You lie about how much you use.
- You feel anxious that people are growing aware of your habits.
- Family or friends have approached you and you've denied that you have an addiction.
- Use leads to feelings of depression or guilt.
- You tend to use up all of your cocaine in binges.
- You occasionally feel like your life is out of your control. You wish (however fleetingly) that you'd never tried it.
- Your thoughts constantly return to the drug after you run out of it.
Friends and family who suspect that a loved one has become addicted face not only great pain, but also the difficult challenge of encouraging their loved one to seek professional help to take control of life once more. It is often incredibly hard to convince an addict that he or she is truly addicted and in need of treatment. Generally, the person must be willing to admit to the addiction before making any progress toward quittin. Here's how to help:
- Don't try to help from within the drug use. Using cocaine with her, even once, is not only dangerous to your health, but also won't help you gain any credibility with your loved one. When trying to convince her to seek help, maintain the position of someone who doesn't use drugs. Make yourself that example of what she can once again be if she overcomes the addiction.
- Encourage him to find help. Getting professional treatment is the best thing for the addict. Your loved one's rehabilitation process might be fraught with fears that ordinary happiness has become impossible. Addicts in treatment are very susceptible to relapse, but your loved one must find help.
- Don't focus on behavior. If you try to make your loved one ashamed of her behavior, your efforts will probably be met with resentment rather than cooperation. Remember that she's most likely felt ashamed and depressed about her behavior already. Focus instead on the many ways that cocaine destroys healthy lives, and constantly remind her that there are solutions.
- Intervention. The results of interventions are mixed. Sometimes a large group of loved ones together can convince an addict to take the necessary steps to quit. However, he must not feel like you're rendering judgment or using any form of intimidation. It's only natural for someone to become defensive when he feels like all of his friends are ganging up on him. But knowing how many people love you can truly inspire you to make changes in your life. When interventions succeed, they owe their success to an overwhelming sense of the love and good intentions that everyone has for the sufferer.
- Remain positive. Don't ever be unrealistic as you offer your support to a recovering addict. Acknowledge the challenges but always emphasize and praise the successes, no matter how small.
Whether you are struggling with your own abuse or to help a loved one confront and defeat their addiction, treatment and loving support are abundantly available and are, together, the weapons that can help overcome this terrible problem.