Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at RiverWoods Behavioral Health System to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at RiverWoods Behavioral Health System.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Cocaine Abuse Causes, Addiction Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects

No one experiences cocaine addiction the same way as someone else. Understanding the signs, symptoms and side effects of cocaine addiction is a key component toward starting the recovery journey.

Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Learn about cocaine addiction

Often called the “caviar of street drugs,” cocaine addiction is frequently portrayed by the media as being a glamorous type of drug to abuse. The reality of cocaine abuse, however, paints a much uglier picture. Cocaine abuse can lead to drug addiction which has many life-threatening effects on the heart and brain, as well as devastating consequences to emotional well-being.

Cocaine is a purified extract of the Erythoxylum Coca bush which grows in the Andes region of South America. Through different chemical processes, there are two primary types of cocaine created each of which affects the intensity and duration of the high experienced.

Powdered cocaine, otherwise known as “blow” or “coke” dissolves in water and can be snorted or injected. The high from snorting powdered cocaine can last between 15 and 30 minutes while the high from injecting cocaine can last a shorter time but provide a more intense high.

Crack cocaine, otherwise known as “freebase,” “rock,” or “crack” is produced by a chemical process that creates a crystallized rock which is often smoked. The crystal is heated to create a smoke that is inhaled then absorbed into the bloodstream by the lungs. Smoking crack cocaine may produce a high that lasts 5 to 10 minutes.

As the duration of the high is relatively short, people who abuse cocaine typically use the drug in a binge and crash fashion. This means that the drug is taken repeatedly within a short period of time at higher doses in order to sustain a high. This process can lead to cocaine addiction which is a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and intense drug-seeking behaviors.

Cocaine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is generally released in response to a potential reward then recycled back into the cell that released it stopping the signal between brain cells. Cocaine prevents dopamine from being recycled which leads to extreme levels of dopamine between the brain cells. This increases the dopamine’s effect and changes the way the brain communicates. Long-term cocaine use can change the way the reward system in the brain functions.

Cocaine is often involved in polydrug – or multiple drug – abuse, most especially combined with sedatives like alcohol or benzodiazepines which serve to intensify the high as well as ease the crash associated with cocaine abuse. Cocaine abuse can cause major problems in all areas of a person’s life and without proper intervention and treatment, it can cause life-threatening consequences.


Cocaine addiction statistics

Cocaine use continues to be a growing problem and one of the most abused major stimulant drug in America. It has recently become the drug that is most frequently involved in emergency room visits. Approximately 1.9 million people use cocaine each month of which about 359,000 were crack cocaine users. Adults ages 18-25 have a higher rate of cocaine usage with 1.5 percent of young adults reporting the usage of cocaine in the past month. More men than women abuse cocaine each month.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Cocaine addiction and co-occurring disorders

  • Other addictions
  • Alcoholism
  • Benzodiazepine abuse
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for cocaine addiction

People experiment with drugs for a variety of reasons, such as curiosity or to relieve stress or anxiety. Drug abuse doesn’t always lead to addiction, but it’s important to note that drug abuse is less about the amount or frequency of abuse and more to do with the negative consequences, such as losing a job or your home.

As is the case with many drugs, there is no single cause for addiction to cocaine. Addiction is generally considered to be the combination of genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological factors working together

Genetics: people who have grown up with an addict, especially a first relative have higher rates of addiction. However, not all individuals who grow up in high-risk homes will develop an addiction to cocaine.

Biological: current research indicates that repeated cocaine abuse causes a change in the brain that can lead to altered levels of a protein responsible for the action of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that leads to pleasurable sensations in the brain.

Environmental: there has been researching that indicates that people who come from homes that have a history of trauma such as child abuse, or child neglect may have an increased likelihood of developing an addiction later in life. Early usage of drugs may also increase the chance that a person will become addicted to drugs.

Psychological: many people use recreational drugs in order to manage symptoms of an underlying mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. Cocaine may also fill a powerful emotional void for some.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction

Cocaine is a powerful and addictive drug which means that it can be a challenge to correctly identify the way in which a person will react to cocaine use. Some of the more common signs and symptoms are as follows:


  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Panic
  • Feeling supreme or better than other people
  • Fearful


  • Talkative during periods of high
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Bizarre and erratic behaviors
  • Violence
  • Continuing to take the drug in spite of mounting problems the drug is causing in one’s life.
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work or school
  • Legal problems
  • Abandoning once-pleasurable activities to get high
  • Stealing or borrowing money


  • Vasoconstriction
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nasal perforation
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Kidney failure
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronically runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Pupil dilation
  • Increases body temperature
  • Increases heart rate
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite, often leading to malnutrition
  • Bowel gangrene
  • Risks for HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood-borne pathogens
  • Tremors and muscle twitches
  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Heart attacks
  • Coma


  • Reckless risky behaviors
  • Severe paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling as though the drug is needed for survival
  • Inability to use good judgment
  • Drug cravings
  • Rationalization of drug use and abuse
  • Problems in interpersonal relationships
  • Unexplained changes in personality
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Lack of motivation

Effects of cocaine addiction

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Legal problems
  • Unemployment
  • Domestic violence
  • Divorce
  • Coma
  • Heart Attack
  • Blood-borne diseases, such as HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B and C
  • Stroke
Withdrawl Effects

Withdrawl effects of cocaine addiction

While unpleasant, cocaine withdrawal is rarely a serious type of withdrawal, unless the withdrawal is accompanied by suicidal thoughts. The symptoms of withdrawal from cocaine addiction only last one to two weeks, and may include:

  • Depression
  • Anhedonia, an inability to feel pleasure sensations
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Intense craving for cocaine
  • Aches
  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Pains
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