Cocaine Abuse & Addiction Signs, Effects & Symptoms

Acadiana Addiction Center helps individuals struggling with cocaine addiction build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving Louisiana, Acadiana is the premier provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment for adults.

Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Learn About Cocaine Abuse & Addiction

Cocaine, also called coke or blow, is a dangerous stimulant that can be found in both powdered and crack rock form. Powdered cocaine is used by snorting it or liquefying the powder and injecting it. Crack cocaine is consumed by heating the rock in a pipe and inhaling the smoke. The high resulting from cocaine varies depending on the method in which it is consumed.

The high achieved from cocaine use last only a short amount of time which causes the addict to abuse in a binge and crash pattern. When first consumed an individual will experience a rush of pleasurable feelings. After a short period of time the good feelings dissipate and the addict is left in a state of depression and exhaustion. In order to avoid the negative symptoms brought on by a crash, individuals will take more cocaine. Sadly, once an addiction to cocaine has developed, it can be extremely challenging to overcome without effective professional help.

Cocaine addiction is caused by the changes in the structure and function of the brain. When used cocaine affects the central nervous system and increases the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Eventually cocaine stops the natural process of dopamine production in the brain preventing it from being recycled back into the brain cells. The individual will require more and more cocaine in order to experience the good feelings they initially had, this is when treatment is recommended.

Statistics

Statistics for Cocaine Abuse

It is estimated that 1.9 million people use cocaine each month. Adults between the ages of 18-25 years report higher rates of cocaine usage with 1.5% reporting cocaine usage in the last month. Additionally, it has been reported that more men abuse cocaine each month than women.

Causes & Risks

Causes & Risk Factors of Cocaine Addiction

It is most likely that many factors such as genetic, environmental, biological, and psychological work together and cause the development of a cocaine addiction. Some of the most common theories include:

Genetic: Over the years research has shown that individuals with relatives who have addiction problems are more likely to develop an addiction themselves. The chances are higher if it is a first degree relative like a parent.

Biological: Biological factors like changes in the structure and function of the brain have been linked to addiction problems. When dopamine levels are low an individual may abuse substances in order to maintain pleasurable feelings.

Environmental: It has been hypothesized that individuals who have come from unstable home environments have a greater chance of developing an addiction problem. Additionally, life stressors such as child abuse, death of loved ones, or traumatic events cause stress and individuals turn to substance abuse as a type of self-medication.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

The following is a list of some common signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse:

Mood symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of superiority
  • Euphoria
  • Panic
  • Irritation
  • Fearfulness

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Extremely talkative
  • Increased energy
  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Erratic, bizarre behaviors
  • Violence
  • Abandonment of activities once enjoyed
  • Reckless and risky behaviors

Physical symptoms:

  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Increased need for sleep after usage
  • Headaches
  • Muscle twitches
  • Malnutrition
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Chronically runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nasal perforation
  • Hoarseness
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Gangrene of the bowel
  • Risks for HIV, Hepatitis and other blood borne pathogens
  • Tremors
  • Cravings

Psychological symptoms:

  • Intense paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Violent mood swings
  • Hallucination
  • Break from reality
  • Unable to exert good judgment
  • Rationalization of drug use
  • Lack of motivation

Effects

Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Some common side effects of cocaine abuse may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Changes in heart rhythms
  • Blood borne disease
  • Legal problems
  • Unemployment
  • Marriage problems or divorce
  • Coma
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Death

Co-Occurring Disorders:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Additional substance abuse disorders
  • Depression

Withdrawal Effects

Effects & Symptoms of Withdrawal from Cocaine

Although cocaine withdrawal is rarely serious it produces a number of very unpleasant side effects. Symptoms generally only last for about a week or two and may include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Pain
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Exhaustion
  • Challenges in concentration
  • Intense craving for cocaine

Fortunately, there are treatment options available that can help abusers of cocaine overcome their addictions and rediscover a sober life.

Take a Free Online Assessment

An assessment is an important first step toward treatment of and recovery from addiction and co-occurring mental health issues.

My son was addicted to coke. He came to us looking for help and we didn't know what to do.. so we looked online to rehabs. Acadiana gave us hope that he could find sobriety and get his life back on track. Now, after completing his program, he is sober and is doing great.

– Jeff R.