Cocaine use, abuse and addiction have been problems in the United States since the late 1800s. The drug has actually been used for thousands of years, beginning with ancient South American civilizations’ use of the naturally occurring coca plant. European explorers discovered the plant on their travels and quickly capitalized on its stimulant and anesthetic effects. It was popularized in the 1850s as a recreational supplement and “medicinal” solution for problems ranging from cold sores to exhaustion. It was added to everyday beverages (including early recipes of Coca-Cola), marketed to soldiers as “pep pills” and used among workers with labor-intensive jobs.

By 1906, the ill effects of cocaine were recognized enough that the US government began requiring labeling on all products that contained the drug. But it wasn’t until 1970 that it became heavily regulated as an illicit, harmful substance. Now considered a Schedule II drug — which means it has limited medical uses, but a high potential for abuse and addiction — recreational use of cocaine is illegal and proven to be medically dangerous.

Unfortunately, this proven medical danger does not stop over two million Americans from abusing the drug every year. Among these numbers, adolescent cocaine addiction and abuse is a concern: in a 2017 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, an estimated 26,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 had reportedly used cocaine within the last month. In the same age group, 19,000 adolescents met the criteria for a cocaine use disorder, or cocaine addiction. These numbers include both powder cocaine (“coke”) and crystallized cocaine (“crack”). Some teens may be at a higher risk than others; factors like family life, access and exposure to drugs, mental health, socioeconomic status and geographic location can influence whether a teen discovers cocaine and begins using it.

Cocaine and crack cocaine are highly addictive for people of all ages and can cause serious physical and mental health problems with long-term abuse. If you think your adolescent is using coke or crack, it’s important to get them into treatment as quickly as possible. It’s time to reach out for help. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center provides cocaine treatment for adolescents in Oxford, Mississippi.

How Cocaine Addiction Works

Used recreationally, cocaine is a stimulant drug. This means that it causes over-activity in certain pathways in the brain — notably the areas that control things like mood, reward, alertness, and inhibition. When you are high on a drug like coke or crack, you feel a rush of happiness, pleasure, energy and sociability. Cocaine use also trains the brain to know that using it will deliver these pleasurable feelings, which results in uncontrolled cravings and the development of a cocaine use habit.

Continued use leads to tolerance, which means that users require increasingly higher doses of the drug to achieve the same high. This introduces a growing danger of overdose, which can be fatal with both coke and crack. Larger doses also make the highs and lows of cocaine use more drastic — the highs will be more intense, but, as the chemicals produced by cocaine use wear off, the overactivated pathways in the brain feel drained and empty. This leads to withdrawal symptoms and more intense cravings — characteristics of cocaine addiction.

When adolescents use coke and crack in particular, the drastic effects on the brain are especially concerning. Because the human brain does not stop developing until around the age of 25, when teens use drugs like cocaine, interruptions are created that interfere with their normal brain development. This leaves the adolescent at a high risk for long-term problems such as mental health disorders and other nervous system issues.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine — both powdered coke and crystallized crack — is a substance that causes significant changes in an individual’s behavior, lifestyle, appearance and more. There are ways to tell if your teen is using cocaine or other drugs based on the way they act and their overall health. If you suspect that your child is developing a substance use disorder, it’s best to talk to a healthcare professional, mental health counselor or other addiction professional to learn more about the signs of addiction, get your teen evaluated and find an appropriate cocaine use or addiction treatment program.

Signs and symptoms of cocaine and crack abuse in adolescents include:

  • Changes in usual interests or friend groups
  • Poor performance in school or extracurricular activities
  • Lying or avoiding questions about whereabouts
  • Seeming overly energetic, talkative or excited (during a high)
  • Seeming depressed, anxious or irritable (after a high)
  • Uncharacteristic mood swings
  • Sudden weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia or disrupted sleeping patterns
  • Frequent nosebleeds or other nasal problems
  • Injection site “track marks”
  • Burns around the lips or hands

You may also see signs of the drug itself in your teen’s room or belongings, including drug paraphernalia (needles, rolled paper, razors or pipes), powders, pills or crack “rocks.” Cocaine can be snorted, ingested or injected in powder form, or smoked in crack form.

If cocaine addiction goes ignored or untreated, your adolescent may be at risk for serious long-term physical and mental effects. Issues that individuals who struggle with untreated cocaine addiction can experience include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • High potential for stroke or heart attack
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High risk for blood clots
  • Nasal difficulties (from snorting powdered coke)
  • Mouth and throat problems (from smoking crack)
  • Increased resting heart rate

Treating Cocaine Addiction

Identifying cocaine addiction and seeking appropriate treatment right away is critical to your adolescent’s immediate and long-term health. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center specializes in helping teens who struggle with substance use, including addiction to coke and crack cocaine. Our dual-diagnosis residential program lasts from 30 to 90 days. Beginning with detox and following through aftercare, the treatment process for adolescent cocaine addiction begins with a foundation of treatment over the course of 2-4 months. The teens in our programs don’t fall behind in their academics — we offer an on-site, nationally accredited academic program and can accommodate remote schoolwork under the supervision of our educators.

We work closely with every patient and their families to ensure that everyone involved understands the disease of addiction, the possible consequences of cocaine use and the importance of open communication and trust. We emphasize emotional, physical and spiritual wellness to help the teens in our programs build a strong foundation for their health and renew confidence in themselves, substance-free.

The team at Stonewater is uniquely trained and experienced in helping teens through the specific pressures and worries this age group encounters in independent life. We are an adolescent-only program for ages 12 through 17, and we work to ensure that our patients go on to live long, happy and healthy lives. We help the teens in our programs overcome whatever drove them to start using cocaine so that they know how to avoid relapse and find fulfillment in sobriety.

Stonewater provides a continuum of care for adolescents who are struggling with cocaine addiction and other substance use disorders. Our addiction treatment options include:

Cocaine can often require a medical detox to help clients get the drug safely out of their brain and body. But physical sobriety is not enough to establish long-lasting recovery – a complete program of addiction therapies such as group and individual talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and experiential therapies is needed to create healthy behavior patterns, build essential life skills and restore self-confidence. At Stonewater, our residential curriculum incorporates all of these modalities, among others. Our programs are individualized to each patient’s needs according to our process of admission, evaluation and psychological testing. We provide a recovery experience that engages and excites the adolescents in our programs, so they can rediscover passions, strengths and talents and find new hope in their future.

Reach Out to Stonewater Today

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center provides addiction recovery treatment for adolescents aged 12 to 17 in Oxford, Mississippi. We welcome patients from all locations and backgrounds who are struggling with substance use, including cocaine and crack cocaine addiction. No matter what your adolescent or your family has experienced from the time addiction entered your lives, we are here to help you get the treatment you need to heal together. Please call us at 844-520-2004 to learn more about adolescent cocaine addiction treatment with Stonewater or to start the admissions process.