Cocaine Use: From Recreation to Addiction

group laying down with sunglasses on

People who use “hard drugs,” cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine for instance, are taking a huge risk. But, just because someone is using those types of drugs does not necessarily mean they are addicted. You may be thinking that nobody gets into a situation where such drugs are being used without be touched by the disease, and in many cases that is true. However, there is such a thing as a recreational hard drug user.

On every weekend, in practically every major city, young adults congregate to imbibe alcohol and, in some cases, use cocaine in a complementary fashion. Given that stimulants like cocaine allow individuals to drink more without experiencing the sleep inducing qualities of alcohol, one can say that mixing the two substances is a logical choice. After all, Friday through Sunday is not that much time, and people want to make the most of it. While that last sentence is accurate, it is in no way an endorsement of such a practice.

There is a fine line between recreational use and addiction, but it is not always clear to users when that threshold has been crossed. There are thousands of Americans who use cocaine a couple times a week who may have already developed the disease of addiction, but since they only use in social settings they can convince themselves that they do not have a problem.

Recreational Cocaine Use

Researchers at McGill University found that non-dependent cocaine users experience cues that result in a release of dopamine in the region of the brain believed to promote compulsive cocaine use, according to a news release.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, indicates that there may be people who view themselves as recreational cocaine users could actually be closer to addiction than they think. “The study provides evidence that some of the characteristic brain signals in people who have developed addictions are also present much earlier than most of us would have imagined,” says Marco Leyton, an expert on the neurobiology of drug use and addictions and professor in McGill’s Department of Psychiatry.

Cocaine use causes a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter tied to the brains reward system, according to the article. Over time, just seeing certain things associated with cocaine use can result in the brain craving the drug. Once that occurs it is vital that one try to stop using cocaine, if you have trouble with that, then it is vital you seek help immediately before the disease of addiction progresses any further. The switch from casual use to the brain craving a drug can happen in a short period of time after initiation. Professor Leyton says the research highlights the “importance of providing help early” to avoid the repercussions typical of addiction.

Cocaine Treatment

Cocaine is a drug that remains prevalent, despite the rampant opioid addiction rates in America. It may have seemed like the drug had disappeared, but in fact it was just talked about less. If you are one the many people with untreated cocaine addiction, please contact Simple Recovery today. The longer one waits, the worse it gets. Always.