ADHD and Cocaine Addiction

If you or someone you care about is struggling with cocaine abuse, know that you’re not alone and effective treatment is available. While many people use this powerful stimulant recreationally, people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be drawn to it for the unique way it affects their brain chemistry. If you’re wondering about the link between ADHD and cocaine or seeking a rehab program, call 17135283709 or send a message to The Right Step online. We’re standing by to answer your questions and tell you more about our evidence-based cocaine addiction treatment centers.  

What Is Cocaine and What Are Its Effects on the Body?  

Cocaine is a potent central nervous system stimulant that speeds up communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Derived from the leaves of the coca plant, cocaine is native to South America, where humans have been aware of its properties for thousands of years. Today in the U.S., it’s often refined into a white powder and snorted in a recreational context for the energetic euphoria and high it produces in most users.  

Others dissolve the drug in water and inject it intravenously, rub it onto their gums, or heat up the crystal form of the drug and inhale the smoke. Cocaine’s many street names include coke, snow, blow, crack, and rock, with the latter two specifically referring to the drug’s crystalline form. While many believe recreational cocaine use is relatively safe, the drug can actually trigger many serious health and psychological side effects, including:  

  • Pronounced irritability and anger or other mood disturbance 
  • Intense paranoia  
  • Hypersensitivity to sound, sight, or tactile sensations 
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Headaches 
  • Lung damage in those who smoke it 
  • Loss of sense of smell and nasal damage among those who snort it 
  • Bowel decay among those who swallow it 
  • Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis among those who inject it 
  • Developing tolerance, meaning more and more cocaine is needed to get the same effect 
  • In individuals who have become tolerant and addicted to the drug, memory issues and slower reaction times 

 How Are ADHD and Cocaine Linked?  

The reason people with ADHD are often at a higher risk for developing cocaine use disorder stems from brain chemistry. Those with ADHD live with a reduced ability to focus coupled with hyperactivity and impulsivity. These symptoms are due in large part to lower dopamine activity in their brains. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter or messenger molecule, is responsible for important psychological phenomena such as motivation, pleasure, and a sense of reward upon achieving a goal. 

Cocaine has the effect of increasing dopamine activity in the brain. For people without ADHD, this usually produces an elevated or even manic euphoric rush and “high.” Among those with ADHD who try cocaine, however, the effect is almost the opposite. For them, it can generate desirable feelings of calm and the ability to focus to a greater extent than is generally possible. Indeed, many prescription ADHD medications have similar chemical structures to cocaine or even fall into the same class of nervous system stimulants known as amphetamines. 

This is not to say that cocaine is a legitimate treatment for ADHD, given its many pronounced health risks and basic toxicity for humans. It does, however, do much to explain the drug’s appeal to people living with this challenging condition. Rest assured, if you or a loved one has ADHD and is struggling with cocaine use, more effective medication is available, and treatment for cocaine dependence is likewise within reach.  

Get Help With Cocaine Addiction and ADHD Treatment at The Right Step  

With The Right Step’s dual diagnosis approach, you or your loved one can receive mental health treatment and substance abuse rehab at the same time. This maximizes the odds of lasting recovery and is truly the ideal way to work with co-occurring ADHD and cocaine dependence. Call 17135283709 or reach out online to begin getting answers and access to support at one of our treatment facilities in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania. 

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