Cocaine Treatment for Teens
Cocaine abuse among teens is a serious problem, and use of the drug can impact school performance, relationships and everyday life. Teens try cocaine for a variety of reasons, from peer pressure to unhealthy coping to curiosity. In 2013, 2.6% of high school seniors had tried cocaine, down from a high of 6.2% in 1990, but many who try the drug become addicted to it.
If you're concerned about a teen's cocaine use, call us any time at (844) 319-5239 to learn more about cocaine abuse and addiction. Our trained counselors are ready to help your teen get started on the path to recovery.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is made from the South American plant coca. On the street, cocaine comes in two forms, a powder form and a crystalline rock form. The powder form is sometimes mixed with other drugs, such as other stimulants or painkillers, or with inert substances such as sugar, talcum powder or cornstarch. Cocaine in powder form is usually snorted or injected into the body, while the rock form is smoked.
What Is Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is the crystalline form of the drug cocaine, which resembles small rocks. The name comes from the cracking sound this form of the drug makes when heated. Crack cocaine users heat up the rocks of cocaine in a glass pipe and inhale the smoke to get high.
Recognizing When Teens Are Talking About Cocaine
Teens often use slang for cocaine, especially when they don't want authority figures to know what they are talking about. Cocaine nicknames include coke, coca, snow, c, blow, bump, flake, Charlie, rock, toot yayo, and candy. Using slang for cocaine is one way that teens try to hide their drug use, and hearing your teen using these cocaine nicknames might indicate a familiarity with the drug.
How Teens Fall into Cocaine Abuse
Teens start using cocaine for a variety of reasons. Some teens experience pressure from friends and start using the drug as an attempt to fit in with peers. Others want the thrill of feeling rebellious. In some cases, teens see older role models using cocaine and emulate that behavior. Teens from any family or socioeconomic background can get addicted to cocaine. Addiction can develop even in someone who has only tried cocaine once.
Many teens who use cocaine start with other drugs or alcohol. Prior issues with marijuana use and underage drinking might signal a propensity for trying illicit substances, although some teens start using cocaine without having tried other drugs first.
Because cocaine causes a strong high followed by an emotional crash, teens who use it often feel a craving to take more once the high wears off. During a crash, an addicted teen feels sad or tired, and another hit of cocaine can immediately banish those feelings. Binging on cocaine to keep the high going can lead to the quick development of an addiction that's hard to escape.
Signs of Cocaine Use
Parents and other family members sometimes notice the signs of cocaine use in a teen before knowing for certain that the teen is a drug user. Teens often exhibit characteristic behaviors when they are using illicit drugs, including cocaine.
Signs that your teen might be using drugs include:
- Changes in behavioral patterns, sleep patterns and eating habits
- Reduced interest in things the teen once enjoyed
- Hanging out with a new group of friends and abandoning old friends
- Being careless about grooming
- Declining academic performance
- Making a habit of missing classes and skipping school
- Increased secrecy
- Problems maintaining good relationships with friends and family members
Cocaine users also exhibit specific physical signs, especially after they've been using the drug for a while. Specific signs of cocaine use in a teen include:
- Frequent runny nose
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Declining sense of smell
- Needle marks on the teen's arm
- Shaking and twitching
- Increased restlessness
The specific symptoms of cocaine use depend on how the teen abuses the drug, so all signs won't be present in all users. Those who snort the drug might show nasal symptoms, while teens who inject cocaine may have needle marks instead of nosebleeds. If you suspect that your teen might be using cocaine, call us at (844) 319-5239 for a free assessment and advice on how to get your teen into treatment.
The Effects of Cocaine
The stimulant drug cocaine has strong effects on the brain and body. Cocaine works by increasing dopamine production in the brain and by preventing dopamine from clearing out of the brain efficiently. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure, so cocaine use causes a pleasurable high for most users.
The side effects of crack and powder cocaine are similar. The effects start to develop almost immediately after the user takes the drug, and they last for a period ranging from a few minutes to about an hour. Injecting cocaine speeds up the onset of the effects, but the high lasts a short time. Snorting cocaine or smoking crack produces a slower-building yet longer-lasting high. Some things a cocaine user might experience after smoking, snorting or injecting the drug include:
- Feelings of intense euphoria
- A boost in energy
- An elevated mood
- Enhanced alertness
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound and touch
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Increased body temperature
- Heart attack
Teens who use cocaine are also at a higher risk of accident, injury and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. The euphoric high that the drug causes often leads teens to engage in risky behaviors.
Teens who become addicted to cocaine may develop tolerance, so they take more of the drug each time in order to get the same intense feeling they initially experienced. Some users become so addicted that they don't feel normal pleasure anymore without the drug.
Taking higher and higher doses of cocaine makes an overdose more likely. However, an overdose can occur the first time a person takes cocaine, so any use can be dangerous. Over 5,400 people died of a cocaine overdose in 2014, and combining cocaine use with other drugs increases the risk.
How Cocaine Detox and Treatment Work
Teens who use cocaine typically can't break free from the drug on their own. Cravings and cocaine withdrawal symptoms make relapses likely, and willpower alone often isn't enough to keep a teen on track throughout recovery. Some teens who try to stop using cocaine on their own turn to other drugs or alcohol to reduce the withdrawal symptoms.
At Teen Treatment Center, we assess your teen and develop a cocaine detox and treatment plan that maximizes the chance of success. Our doctors, trained therapists, professional nurses and staff all have experience dealing with teens addicted to cocaine, so we can provide appropriate treatment throughout the entire process.
Cocaine detox and treatment involve complete abstinence from the drug. In our inpatient treatment program, your teen lives at Teen Treatment Center and works through the process of becoming drug-free and learning to live without drugs. The controlled setting keeps the focus entirely on achieving long-term freedom from cocaine or other drugs.
The Process of Cocaine Withdrawal
Upon starting treatment, your teen will go through cocaine detox. During detox, the drug leaves your teen's system and the brain returns gradually to normal functioning. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms during and immediately after detox can be intense, and our medical staff remains on hand through the process to help your teen get through those symptoms.
Some typical cocaine withdrawal symptoms your teen might experience include:
- Vivid unpleasant dreams
- Increased appetite
- Intense drug cravings
While withdrawal symptoms from cocaine aren't usually dangerous, they are uncomfortable enough that many teens fear the detox process. Medical staff at Teen Treatment Center is available 24 hours a day to help teens get through the effects of cocaine withdrawal as safely and comfortably as possible.
Treatment After Detox
After detox and withdrawal from cocaine, your teen will take part in a comprehensive treatment program designed to achieve a full recovery and prevent future relapses. Some of the things your teen might participate in during treatment include:
- Individual therapy to work through the issues that led to your teen's drug use and to teach methods for staying drug-free
- Group therapy to share experiences with others in the same program and get support and encouragement during the recovery process
- Family counseling to repair relationships damaged by the teen’s cocaine use and to build a support network to rely on after leaving Teen Treatment Center
- Optional faith-based counseling
- Lessons in basic living skills to keep teens engaged in self-care
- Court liaison services for teens ordered into treatment by a judge
- Academic support to get recovering teens back on track with schoolwork
In addition to treatment for cocaine abuse and addiction, Teen Treatment Center also provides treatment for any co-occurring conditions that might affect recovery. Teens who use other drugs or alcohol in addition to cocaine can get help for all of their substance abuse issues at once. Also, our staff is trained to treat mental illnesses often associated with teen drug use, including depression, attention-deficit disorder and anxiety.
Call Teen Treatment Center at (844) 319-5239 to get your teen started on a path to recovery from cocaine abuse and addiction. Our admissions counselors are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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