Cocaine is a very powerful drug made from the leaves of a coca plant found in South America. It was once considered the drug of high social status during the 80s and 90s, and continues to remain popular today. In fact, research shows that in the United States, 1.5 million people over the age of 12 have done cocaine in the past month. Continuous use of this drug can lead to a cocaine addiction and long-term consequences to your health.

Friends and family members will usually pick up on the strange behavior changes, but not realize their loved one is doing coke. The ability to recognize these signs is vital to the individuals’ health and safety. Cocaine dependence is a serious concern and should be treated in a professional, structured environment. Our drug rehab in San Diego offers substance abuse treatment for those struggling with substance use disorders, such as a cocaine addiction.

What Does Cocaine Do to You?

Cocaine is a potent, addictive stimulant that a lot of people find alluring and enticing. Taking over your body and mind, cocaine changes the way you act and feel. It is common for the user to feel invincible like they are capable of accomplishing anything. Once the drug and its effects wear off, they will start to experience a mood swing. During a cocaine come down, you will experience a rush of feelings such as sadness, tiredness, and irritability. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes. Whereas the high from smoking it may last 5 to 10 minutes.


cocaine addiction

Signs of Cocaine Use

There are common signs of cocaine addiction and should be taken with concern. If you believe yourself or a loved one may have a drug addiction, look carefully for the common effects of this substance.

Extreme Mood Swings

Perhaps one of the most prominent side effects of this drug is excessive mood swings. Users will experience moodiness during and after taking the drug. During the early stages, individuals will be extremely social, chatty, and vibrant. Since cocaine stimulates the brain, the user feels elevated or on top of the world, often portraying manic behavior. However, later crashing into sadness and despair.

After one single use of cocaine, the user will experience a come down due to the strength of the stimulant. Additional feelings an individual might experience during the comedown of cocaine include:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness

Financial Problems

Possibly one of the reasons cocaine is viewed as a high social status drug is because of its cost. This substance is not cheap, and people who routinely use it may have money problems. In some cases, when money gets tight, users will steal or commit fraud to pay for the drug. In severe situations, the effects of cocaine can make it hard for someone to keep their job.

Physical Changes

A long-term effect of cocaine is a change in their brain, resulting in a lack of emotion when they are not high. Repeated use can lead to nosebleeds, a loss in sense of smell, and severe bowel gangrene. Additionally, it is common for an individual abusing cocaine to stay up late and even into the morning, which causes bloodshot eyes.

You might experience the disappearing act while out, where the user is continuously seeking privacy. In order to use the illicit drug in public, the individual needs to do so in an intimate manner. Excusing themselves to the restroom or another private area often is a common sign of cocaine use.

Mental Health Symptoms

When an individual abuses cocaine or crack cocaine over a period of time, mental health symptoms can appear. When the individual is not on the drug, they may seem to be experiencing paranoia, anxiety, or depression. Due to these emerging mental disorders, users will need to receive dual diagnosis treatment for their cocaine addiction and mental health issue.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are mostly psychological and overwhelming for many. When a user binges cocaine, this will create irregular sleeping patterns. Users may experience withdrawal symptoms that include: 

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Depression 
  • Increased appetite 
  • A craving to get high

Due to the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms, it is recommended to quit under the care of medical professionals in an addiction treatment facility.

cocaine addiction

How Does Cocaine Use Lead to Addiction?

Considering cocaine is a highly addictive substance, it can lead to addiction after continuous use. The drug causes long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit by adapting to the extra dopamine produced by the drug. A user will eventually take stronger and more frequent doses to feel the desired effects as before and to obtain from withdrawal. 

Can You Overdose on Cocaine?

Yes, an individual can overdose on cocaine, whether it was intentional or unintentional. An overdose can cause life-threatening symptoms and death. Death by overdosing can happen on the users’ first time or anytime afterward. Serious health consequences that are frequent from a cocaine overdose include:

  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Heart attacks
  • Seizures and strokes

Cocaine users tend to drink alcohol at the same time, which can make an overdose more risky. It is also common for individuals to mix cocaine with heroin, which is a dangerous and lethal combination.

Unfortunately, there is not a particular medication that can reverse a cocaine overdose. The care involved in an overdose will depend on the present symptoms. For example, a cocaine overdose often results in a heart attack, stroke, or seizure. For responders and ER doctors will treat the overdose with the goal of:

  • Restoring blood flow 
  • Restoring oxygen-rich blood supply to the affected part of the brain
  • Putting a stop to the seizure
cocaine addiction

How Can People Get Treatment for Cocaine Addiction?

It can be a difficult process finding the right care for a loved one or yourself. Not to mention, there are a variety of different ways to treat a cocaine addiction. Healthy Life Recovery in San Diego recognizes that everyone’s situation is different, which is why we provide individualized treatment. Some different treatment options for cocaine addiction include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: a common type of talk-therapy that is done in a structured environment with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist). This therapy allows the individual to recognize negative thinking, and to view challenges more clearly.
  • Support groups: the 12-step program is a popular and effective group where individuals can relate to others on their challenges, and follow the same guidelines.
  • Medicated-assisted Treatment: medication that is given when needed to help ease the withdrawal symptoms the individual is experiencing.

Get Help at Healthy Life Recovery Today

Cocaine is an extremely addictive stimulant that can affect your health and have fatal consequences. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, cocaine abuse accounts for the most emergency department visits related to illicit drug abuse at 40.3 percent. It is vital to seek treatment as early as possible before an emergency situation could happen. Call our addiction center today if you or someone close to you is struggling with a cocaine addiction.

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