Cocaine is a highly addictive drug used extensively across Australia, producing many serious consequences. Cocaine users may feel that it helps them have a good time, but users risk health issues as well as financial and social problems. Cocaine use has also been linked to criminal behaviour and can be fatal. Why, because it is illegal and also expensive. A gram of cocaine is over $200. Those with an addiction require several grams per day. The cost of a cocaine addict habit can be anywhere between $500 – $2,000 per day.
What is cocaine?
Cocaine is made from the leaves of the South American coca bush and is a stimulant, which means it speeds up the messages going to and from your brain. It’s a white powder with a bitter, numbing taste that comes in three main forms: cocaine hydrochloride, freebase and crack.
Cocaine hydrochloride is mixed with other substances and typically snorted through the nose, or injected, rubbed into the gums or added to food and drinks. Freebase and crack cocaine are usually smoked.
Cocaine is also called blow, Charlie, dust, flake, nose candy, snow, white, crack, rock and freebase.
People who use cocaine get a rush, making them feel happy, confident and alert. But they also have a racing heart, tremors, reduced appetite, overheating and sweating. People who use cocaine regularly can have fits, poor sexual performance, kidney failure, poor mental function and an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases by sharing needles. Snorting cocaine can also damage the inside of your nose including destroying the septum (middle part) of your nose, leading to collapse of the nose. Cocaine can harm your unborn baby if you use it while you are pregnant.
An overdose can cause seizures, or a stroke or a heart attack, leading to coma and death. If you think someone has overdosed on cocaine, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. Ambulance officers don’t have to call the police.
Find out about cocaine’s mental health effects.
Cocaine is highly addictive. Withdrawal symptoms last for up to 10 weeks, but intermittent cravings for cocaine can last much longer. Withdrawal symptoms include cravings, agitation, anxiety, an inability to feel pleasure and lack of energy.
Find information about how to find help on the Drug Help website or by calling the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
There are certain signs you can look for that will help you identify a case of a cocaine addict. We have divided them into two categories: those to look for in yourself and those to look for in a loved one.
- Thoughts of cocaine consume a good portion of your day
- You find yourself looking for new ways of procuring cocaine
- You frequently worry you won’t have access to cocaine during your day
- Cocaine is affecting your job, finances or relationship
- You get upset when others question you about your cocaine use
Through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a counselor will work to identify the thoughts and feelings that link to your addiction behaviour.
CBT is a popular and effective form of therapy that helps you change your behaviour for good. During CBT sessions, you learn how to properly examine your thoughts and recognise the types of negative and damaging thoughts that cause you psychological and physical harm through your drug use.
The value in CBT is not only in the immediate benefits you’ll experience during your treatment but in the skills and techniques you will develop to look after yourself mentally for the rest of your life.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
1 in 4 adults suffering from a mental health disorder also battle addiction issues. As mentioned above, people suffering from cocaine addiction commonly also suffer from a variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and psychotic disorders.
Dual diagnosis is the treatment of both the addiction and mental health illness.
It is imperative that in such situations that both the mental health illness and addiction are treated at the same time as neither issue can be treated effectively without treating the other.
The value of exercise as part of your life in recovery and staying drug and alcohol free cannot be underestimated. Physical exercise helps you stay sober by helping you feel great, building a sense of achievement and self-respect, and providing a new way to interact with your community.
We provide regular exercise programmes which include walks, yoga and boot camps. A personal trainer visits the retreat during the week. A structured exercise program promotes regular sleep patterns. Healthy meals are freshly made three times a day. Healthy sleeping and eating are an essential part of physical recovery.
It is usual to express heavy feelings of guilt, shame, trauma and remorse while undergoing recovery. We provide intensive counselling sessions to help them come to peace with these feelings.
Individual counselling allows you to talk about your life and your addiction in a safe and supportive environment. All our therapists are specially trained and can help you understand the way alcohol and drugs affect you and the people around you.
By talking with your personal counsellor, you can challenge negative and unhelpful thinking. Your counsellor will help you identify ways to break down overwhelming and damaging thoughts into smaller more manageable pieces.
Individual counselling can be extremely effective for people with addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and mental health problems.
Group therapy helps you understand your drug or alcohol addiction and your path to recovery by hearing other people’s stories. Group therapy recognises that while everyone’s life and experience are different, there are common feelings and thoughts that come with the disease of addiction.
In group therapy you are free to share in a safe and supportive environment. By teaching recovering addicts to be able to communicate their feelings they are less likely to suppress the feelings that ultimately lead to them re-using.
As part of the treatment program, a family therapist may work with your family to identify and address underlying issues that may be caused by or contributing to your alcohol or drug dependence. Counselling sessions can help the family overcome these problems and support the whole family through your recovery process.
Once rehab is finished returning to a “normal” life can be challenging so we ensure that while in treatment you are in a community that is safe and therapeutic and encourages people to be social.
The therapeutic community approach is a major component of our residential treatment program. It is designed to expand our clients’ support network and give them a sense of belonging in a secure, non-judgemental peer group.
The basic philosophy is simple: Aiding long-term recovery through peer support, social learning and mutual self-help.
One of the best ways to stay sober during and after your treatment is participating in a 12 Step program. Depending on individual circumstances, a therapist will recommend the best program to attend and you will undertake daily meetings while undergoing the treatment program.
12 Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provide a supportive and understanding group of people who are also committed to living a drug and alcohol free life. They offer a similar environment to group therapy and recognise that recovery is an ongoing process.
Meditation is a valuable and effective way of reflecting on your thoughts and controlling anxiety and cravings. Many people think of meditation as a religious or spiritual habit, but it can also be simply about creating a safe and calm mental environment that allows you to channel your thoughts in a positive way.
Meditation sessions will teach you how to train your mind to become peaceful and calm when you need it, whether you’re at home or out in public.
Our addiction education program is designed to provide you the knowledge to support your ongoing recovery. If you don’t understand how addiction works or know the signs of possible relapse, how can you expect to continue your recovery outside of the treatment program?
Art therapy can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, and building confidence and a sense of achievement. It also relaxes you and allows your mind to focus on positive thoughts.
Whether you are a gifted artist or a willing amateur, art can help you deal with your emotions in a safe and non-threatening environment.
Reach Out (2019) How to Tell if You Have a Drug Problem
University of Sydney News (07/03/2017) Hugs not Drugs: Revolutionising the Treatment of Addiction
Dual Diagnosis Org (2019) Dual Diagnosis Treatment
National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) 2016
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