Cocaine addiction can occur very quickly and be very difficult to break. Individuals who struggle with cocaine addiction do not set out to destroy themselves, everyone and everything in their path; rather, these disastrous consequences are the effect of the vicious cycle of drug addiction. For many, cocaine seems to be a means of averting emotional and/or physical pain by providing the user with a temporary escape from life's sometimes uncomfortable realities.
Example, an individual tries cocaine. The drug APPEARS to solve his problem. He feels better. Because he now SEEMS better able to deal with life, the cocaine becomes valuable to him. The person looks on cocaine as a cure for unwanted feelings. The painkilling effects of cocaine becomes a solution to their discomfort. Inadvertently cocaine now becomes valuable because it helped them feel better.
This release is the main reason a person uses cocaine a second or third time. It is just a matter of time before he becomes fully addicted and loses the ability to control his cocaine use. Cocaine addiction, then, results from excessive or continued use this physiologically habit-forming drug in an attempt to resolve the underlying symptoms of discomfort or unhappiness.
Animal studies have shown that animals will work very hard (press a bar over 10,000 times) for a single injection of cocaine, choose cocaine over food and water, and take cocaine even when this behavior is punished. Animals must have their access to cocaine limited in order not to take toxic or even lethal doses. People addicted to cocaine behave similarly. They will go to great lengths to get cocaine and continue to take it even when it hurts their school or job performance and their relationships with loved ones.
The compulsion to use cocaine can take over the individual's life. Cocaine addiction often involves not only compulsive drug taking but also a wide range of dysfunctional behaviors that can interfere with normal functioning in the family, the workplace, and the broader community.
Drug addiction also can place people at increased risk for a wide variety of other illnesses. These illnesses can be brought on by behaviors, such as poor living and health habits, that often accompany life as a drug addict, or because of toxic effects of the drugs themselves.
Attempts to stop using the drugs can fail simply because the resulting depression can be overwhelming, causing the addict to use more cocaine in an attempt to overcome his depression. This overpowering addiction can cause the addict to do anything to get cocaine.
Recent studies on cocaine and addiction have shown that, during periods of abstinence from cocaine use, the memory of the euphoria associated with cocaine, or mere exposure to cues associated with cocaine use, can trigger tremendous craving and relapse to cocaine, even after long periods of abstinence.