Learn About The Symptoms & Signs of Cocaine Addiction

The signs, symptoms, and effects of cocaine addiction can be different for every person impacted. Learning about cocaine addiction is one of the first steps towards getting better.

Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Learn about cocaine addiction and substance abuse

Known for its potent and addictive properties, cocaine is an illicit, stimulant substance. Cocaine, which comes in the form of a powder or a hard substance resembling a rock, is often snorted or smoked by users as a method of obtaining a mind and mood-altering short-term high that increases focus and energy, while also bringing on feelings of pleasure and invincibility.

Whether consumed alone or in conjunction with other substances, cocaine can cause an extensive amount of damage on an individual’s life. For those who abuse this substance, the high is so attractive that an individual continues to abuse it more and more and in amounts that can lead to a deadly outcome. For this reason, it is imperative for an individual who is struggling with this type of addiction to look into obtaining effective and appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. If an individual who is addicted to cocaine partakes in treatment, the risks associated with ongoing cocaine abuse can be lessened or avoided altogether.


Cocaine addiction statistics

According to the fifth and most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, men are more likely to abuse cocaine than women are. In addition, this same manual (which is published by the American Psychiatric Association), reports that men are four times more likely to partake in the abuse of cocaine, and the rate of men diagnosed with cocaine use disorder is 0.4% in comparison to 0.1% of women.

Finally, it has to be concluded that, in adults ages 18 and older, the prevalence of cocaine addiction is believed to be 0.3% in total. In addition, it was reported that 0.1% of adults between ages 45 and 64 abuse this substance, too.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for cocaine addiction

There are a handful of reasons why and how an individual might come to abuse, and eventually grow addicted to, cocaine. The following risk factors and causes are of some of the most commonly cited by experts in the field of addiction:

Genetic: Research has proven that the probability of an individual developing a cocaine addiction can be somewhat impacted by his or her genetic background. For instance, those who possess a family history of cocaine abuse and addiction and/or mental health concerns are more likely to abuse cocaine at some point in their lives.

Environmental: Since the environment in which an individual was raised or spent/spends the majority of his or her time can impact his or her chances of abusing cocaine, there are specific external factors that can impact the development of this type of addiction. For example, if an individual is exposed to cocaine or other substance abuse, an unstable home environment, community violence, or those who distribute this drug, that individual is more likely to abuse cocaine. In addition, if an individual is exposed to cocaine while in utero, there is a greater risk that he or she will turn to the use of cocaine later in life.

Risk Factors:

  • Residing in an unstable home environment
  • Being exposed to violence
  • Associating with others who use or sell cocaine
  • Family history of mental health conditions or substance abuse
  • Lacking effective impulse control
  • Personal history of mental health conditions
  • Personal history of abusing other substances

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction

If an individual is struggling with a severe addiction to cocaine, the textbook warning signs of this type of addiction can become obvious to others. If you, a concerned loved one, are worried about whether or not someone you care for is abusing this substance, it can be helpful to note the presence of any of the symptoms below:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Failing to keep up with responsibilities and obligations at home or work
  • Using cocaine despite being aware of problems caused by the use of this substance
  • Spending a great deal of time acquiring, using, or recovering from cocaine abuse
  • Being unable to control the amount of cocaine one uses
  • Abusing cocaine in hazardous situations
  • Using cocaine in favor of engaging in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Social isolation

Physical symptoms:

  • Irregular heartrate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Restlessness
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Sweating
  • Having a tolerance to increased amounts of cocaine
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Increased heartrate
  • Slowed movements
  • Muscle weakness

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Rapid thought processes
  • Strong cravings for more cocaine
  • Increased alertness
  • Confusion
  • Hindered judgement

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Increased aggressiveness
  • Agitation
  • Inability to display appropriate emotions


Effects of cocaine addiction

Cocaine abuse, especially if it happens for a long period of time, can cause an individual to experience an exceptional amount of upset within numerous areas of his or her life. The effects listed below are of the many consequences that can occur if an individual does not obtain treatment to defeat a cocaine addiction:

  • Decline in work performance
  • Job loss
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Damage to arteries or veins from repeated injections
  • Onset or worsening of mental health symptoms
  • Damage to nasal cavity from snorting cocaine
  • Polysubstance use
  • Involvement with the legal system
  • Separation or divorce
  • Contracting HIV/AIDS or another blood-borne virus or infection due to intravenous drug use
  • Social isolation
  • Financial strife
  • Demise of meaningful relationships

Co-Occurring Disorders

Cocaine addiction and co-occurring disorders

Cocaine addiction, also known as cocaine use disorder, is known to occur simultaneously with other mental health conditions and substance use disorders. In the event that an individual obtains treatment, he or she might receive care for his or her addiction, as well as one or more of the following co-occurring conditions:

  • Other substance use disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Gambling disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of cocaine withdrawal: Prolonged cocaine abuse can cause an individual’s body to become used to the presence of this illicit substance. As soon as a tolerance to cocaine develops, an individual will likely struggle with withdrawal symptoms after his or her abuse ceases. The following effects are those that might occur when an individual is going through withdrawal from cocaine:

  • Insomnia
  • Oversleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Depressed mood
  • Increased appetite
  • Nightmares

Effects of cocaine overdose: Viewed as a medical emergency when it occurs, an overdose following the overuse of cocaine can be fatal if the proper care is not obtained. For this reason, medical personnel should be contacted if any of the effects listed below are apparent:

  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Aggression

This was the best place I could have ever chosen to go get help at! Unlike other behavioral health places in the Memphis area, Crestwyn is a very nice facility staffed with the kindest and most helpful people ever!

– Former Patient