Get in front of an cocaine addiction by learning the signs and symptoms. Read what causes cocaine addiction, what signs to look out for, and potential long-term effects. Understanding your symptoms is the first step to successful healing.
Learn about cocaine and substance abuse
Cocaine is a dangerous and highly addictive stimulant.
When you ingest cocaine, you typically experience a powerful but temporary boost in energy, mood, and motivation. The intensity of these effects, and the emotional crash that occurs when they wear off, can compel you to use the drug again and again.
Every time you use cocaine, you put your health at risk. Continuing to use the drug can expose you to increasingly dangerous outcomes, including addiction.
Cocaine addiction can be extremely difficult to overcome on your own. Without effective care, you may feel as though you are trapped in the downward spiral of continued cocaine use. However, cocaine addiction is treatable. With the right type and level of treatment, you can regain control of your behaviors and achieve long-term recovery.
Cocaine addiction statistics
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have reported the following statistics about cocaine abuse in the United States:
- From 2000 to 2015, the annual rate of cocaine overdose deaths rose from 1.26 per 100,000 people to 2.13 per 100,000 people.
- Research indicates that about 1.6% of young adults (ages 18-25) have abused cocaine in the past month. This is the highest rate of past-month cocaine abuse among all age groups.
- Cocaine abuse is twice as common among men as among women. About 0.8% of men and 0.4% of women abuse cocaine.
Causes and risk factors for cocaine addiction
The following are among the many factors that can influence your risk for cocaine addiction:
- Family history of substance use, addiction, or mental illness
- Having a parent or sibling who has struggled with addiction
- Prenatal exposure to cocaine
- Prior personal struggles with substance use or mental illness
- Adversity during childhood (such as having an unstable home environment or being exposed to community violence)
- Having an impulsive personality
- Associating with friends who abuse cocaine
Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction
A person who is struggling with cocaine addiction may demonstrate a wide range of symptoms, including the following:
- Acting with uncharacteristic energy, aggression, or recklessness
- Talking extremely rapidly
- Demonstrating uncharacteristic self-confidence
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Attempting to borrow or steal money
- Losing interest in activities that were once of great importance
- Dilated pupils
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Significant changes in energy level
- High blood pressure
- Diminished appetite
- Weight loss
- Racing thoughts
- Inflated self-esteem
- Dramatic mood swings
- Angry outbursts
Effects of cocaine addiction and substance abuse
Failing to get effective treatment for cocaine addiction can lead to a wide range of negative outcomes, including the following:
- Liver and kidney damage
- High blood pressure
- Heart damage
- Physical injury due to behaviors while under the influence of cocaine
- Strained or ruined friendships
- Family discord
- Poor performance in school or at work
- Inability to find or keep a job
- Financial problems
- Arrest, incarceration, and other legal problems
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Onset or worsening of co-occurring mental health disorders
- Pervasive sense of hopelessness or helplessness
- Suicidal thoughts
The good news is that when you enter treatment, you can avoid further harm and start to heal from past damage. With the right help, you can end your dependence on cocaine and pursue a healthier future.
Cocaine addiction and co-occurring disorders
If you have become addicted to cocaine, you may also have an elevated risk for the following co-occurring disorders:
- Other substance use disorders
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Gambling disorder
Effects of drug withdrawal and overdose
Effects of withdrawal: One of the characteristics of cocaine addiction is that your body will adapt to the presence of this substance. Then when you try to stop using cocaine, or when you’re unable to acquire the drug, your body responds with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as the following:
- Powerful cravings for cocaine
- Persistent fatigue
- Sleep problems (either insomnia or hypersomnia)
- Intense nightmares
Effects of overdose: When you ingest more cocaine than your body can safely process, this experience is known as overdose. The following are common signs of cocaine overdose:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Extremely rapid or otherwise irregular heart rate
- Dangerously high body temperature
- Intense confusion
- Twitches or tremors
- Loss of consciousness
Cocaine overdose can be extremely dangerous. Anyone who demonstrates the symptoms above after using cocaine needs immediate medical attention.