Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Learn About Cocaine Addiction

Derived from the cocoa plant, cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that produces short-term euphoria, bursts of energy, and talkativeness. This highly addictive drug is usually found in powdered or crystalized form and can be ingested by snorting, injecting, or smoking. No matter how an individual chooses to abuse this drug the resulting consequences can be far reaching and extremely destructive.

The continued abuse of cocaine causes changes in the structure and function of a person’s brain, which will make it extremely difficult for that individual to experience pleasure without using this drug. Furthermore, cocaine abuse places an individual at an increased risk for multiple serious health consequences including heart attack and stroke. When used in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol the resulting consequences can be even more devastating; in some instances, it can be fatal.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Cocaine Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

The following disorders have been known to co-occur with a cocaine abuse disorder:

  • Additional substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Bipolar disorder


Cocaine Addiction Statistics

Recent research suggests that about 35 million adults in the United States have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime, with approximately two million adults having used cocaine within the past 30 days. Furthermore, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), about one-fourth of all drug-related emergency room visits are due to cocaine use.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Cocaine Addiction

While there is no one single cause of cocaine addiction, research strongly suggests that the disease of addiction can be attributed to a combination of genetic influences and environmental risk factors. Please consider the following:

Genetic: Multiple research studies have identified a strong correlation between a family history of addiction and a personal development of an addiction. These findings suggest that when an individual has a close relative who has struggled with a cocaine addiction, they themselves are at an increased risk for the same problem.

Environmental: The environment in which one is immersed in can play a large role in why an individual begins to use substances, such as cocaine, which may subsequently lead to an addiction. For example, growing up in a household without proper parental supervision or one in which family conflict is high are at an increased risk for beginning to abuse drugs. Also, those who grow up surrounded by drugs and violence are at an increased risk for drug use.

Risk Factors:

  • Being male
  • Being a younger adult
  • Family history of cocaine abuse or cocaine addiction
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Family or personal history of mental illness
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Having cocaine easily accessible
  • Lack of parental impairment

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse may lead to earlier intervention and recovery. Ultimately, the sooner a cocaine abuse problem is treated the greater the chance that some of the potential negative effects can be avoided. Some signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of a cocaine abuse problem and the need for treatment include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Isolating oneself
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Suddenly abandoning past friendships or relationships
  • Extremely talkative
  • Unable to sit still
  • Erratic behavior
  • Frequent need for money
  • Stealing from friends and family members

Physical symptoms:

  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Nose bleeds
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Constantly runny nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweaty
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Muscle spasms
  • Irregular heartbeat

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • False sense of confidence
  • Confusion
  • Inability to focus
  • Feeling invincible or all-powerful
  • Paranoia

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Expressions of unprovoked anger or aggression
  • Hostility


Effects of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine abuse has been associated with a wide range of negative effects that can significantly impact a person’s life. The physical consequences associated with cocaine abuse can lead to permanent damage, including death.

  • Perforated nasal septum
  • Respiratory problems
  • HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases as the result of intravenous drug use
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Death
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Decline in work performance and loss of job
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal problems
  • Incarceration
  • Strained or ruined relationships

There was a point in my life where snorting coke was as much of a routine as brushing my teeth was. After an intervention, I admitted myself into Starlite. Starlite Recovery Center was the only rehab solution that helped me make a breakthrough! I am now 4 years sober and look forward to many more years of sobriety!

– Michael S.