Cocaine dependence is a form of physical and psychological dependence that develops from regular cocaine use, with the user taking more and more in the belief it will help them to function properly. Withdrawal states include emotional-motivational deficits and high-level cravings. People with cocaine dependence can also develop tolerance, needing increased amounts of the drug to achieve the desired effect or “hit.”
Cocaine is a highly addictive, potent stimulant due to its effect on the reward pathways in the brain. It acts by increasing the number of feel-good chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.
Cocaine dependence leads to numerous psychiatric and legal issues, personality changes, and an obsession with having “enough” cocaine at the expense of any other job, school, or relational activity or relationship.
Cocaine is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, rubbed on the gums, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Effects usually begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between 5 to 30 minutes. Street names include blow, crack, coke, snow, and rock; and might come mixed with talcum powder, flour, or cornstarch to appear more substantial.