Cocaine isn’t often listed as one of the top “gateway drugs.” In fact, it’s usually the fourth or fifth substance someone uses after trying lighter drugs first.1 Unfortunately, cocaine is often considered a party drug, which makes it easy to obtain and even easier to dull your senses.
When you start using coke, you might become desensitized to other drugs. This is especially true when it comes to other “party drugs” like hallucinogens or opioids.
So, how can an addiction to cocaine lead to the abuse of other drugs? In order to know the answer to that, it’s important to understand more about the impact of drug use in social settings.
Is Cocaine a Gateway Drug?
Again, cocaine isn’t usually considered a gateway drug. The three most common gateway drugs are:
- Prescription medications
It doesn’t take long to notice a common theme that connects these substances: They’re usually taken in social settings, among friends. Places from small get-togethers to rave parties have become central locations for drug use. There are even parties dedicated to abusing substances, such as “pharm parties,” where prescription medications are handed out like candy.2
Drug use at parties and in social settings is more of a serious problem than most people think. In fact, about 76% of people who try drugs for the first time do it around one or more of their friends.3
Many times, these gateway drugs are considered “lighter” or milder than some of the harder drugs available, like cocaine, heroin, etc. There is plenty of controversy surrounding these substances and how much they influence people to move on to harder drugs.
Enough research has been done to suggest that gateway drugs absolutely do open doors to trying harder substances. As you might expect, one of those substances is cocaine.
What Are the Signs of Coke Addiction?
So, why would cocaine ever be considered a kind of gateway drug? It isn’t necessarily for the same reasons as marijuana or alcohol. Cocaine can lead to harder drug use because it tends to desensitize the person using it.
Symptoms of cocaine use include things like dilated pupils, a runny nose, or excitability. A lasting cocaine addiction comes with far more serious signs. Some of the most common symptoms associated with a cocaine addiction include:
- Mood swings
- Weight loss
- Social isolation
- Dangerous behaviors
- Need for privacy
- Increase in self-esteem/confidence
Another sign of a cocaine addiction is irritation and agitation. When someone is an addict, they can become very easily agitated when they don’t have access to the drug.
It’s no surprise, with these signs, that a coke addiction can lead to trying harder drugs. People who use cocaine around friends or in party settings often feel excited and may even be willing to try risky things because they have a sudden boost in confidence. As a result, substances like hallucinogens and other party drugs come into play.
How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Coke?
So, if gateway drugs like marijuana and alcohol can lead to trying cocaine, how long does it take for someone to become an addict?
Obviously, the answer is different for everyone. There are instances in which someone tries cocaine and never touches it again. Others may use it casually or continue to use it in social settings.
In some cases, though, people can become “addicted” almost instantly to the way cocaine makes them feel after they use it. Cocaine is a stimulant, but the effects of it only last around 15-20 minutes each time you use it. Because those effects make you feel so good, it’s easy to become addicted and want more.
Each person is different when it comes to getting addicted to cocaine, especially when it’s used as a party drug. Many people go on “binges” with the substance to get a continued high throughout a social event, rave, party, etc.
How to Get Help for a Cocaine Addiction
If a cocaine addiction has become a problem due to other gateway drugs or experimentation, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. If you’re the person struggling with an addiction, an intensive outpatient program is a great solution.
A cocaine outpatient treatment program, like the one offered at BlueCrest Recovery Center, can help you find hope and help to restore your life. The immediate effects of cocaine detox are scary. An individual going through a detox usually experiences withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, that’s only the beginning of the long road to recovery.
The effects of cocaine addiction are often long-lasting. This includes physical, mental, and emotional effects that can stay with you for years. The longer you struggle with addiction, the harder it can be to break free.
What’s the Best Outpatient Treatment Center for Cocaine Addiction?
When you choose an outpatient detox program, it’s important to go with one that focuses on more than outside support. BlueCrest Recovery Center takes a holistic approach to cocaine addiction treatment, focusing on clinical and spiritual aspects of recovery.
Some people will benefit from an inpatient treatment program. These are often more intense and do require you to remain at a facility while you get the necessary rehabilitation treatment. While BlueCrest doesn’t offer an inpatient program, we do have a referral program that can get you the help you need.
It’s our goal as an intensive outpatient program to restore your quality of life or to do so for someone you care about who is struggling with cocaine. Whether the addiction began at a party with friends or by first experimenting with other drugs, getting help as soon as possible can give you your life back. It can also help you to fight the urge to try other, harder drugs in the future.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a cocaine addiction, contact BlueCrest Recovery Center today. We’re with you every step of the way on your journey to recovery. We pride ourselves on giving people real hope and real results for a restored life, free from drugs.