Cocaine Addiction: Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Use

4 min read · 8 sections

Signs of Cocaine Use & Addiction

Signs of cocaine use include:

  • Excitability
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Social isolation
  • Risky behaviors
  • Nosebleeds
  • Boost in confidence
  • Talkative habits
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • White powder residue around the nose and mouth
  • Burn marks on the hands and lips
  • Deterioration in hygiene habits
  • Financial difficulties
  • Loss of interest in things that once brought joy
  • Increased need for privacy
  • Spoons, razor blades, plastic baggies and other drug paraphernalia in the person’s room or clothing pockets

If you begin to notice some of the signs of cocaine addiction above in a friend or a loved one, it is never too late to get help. Call us today at

Statistics on Cocaine Use

Over 14 percent of all Americans age 12 and older have used cocaine in their lifetimes, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports. Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that increases energy levels and keeps people awake while raising heart rate and blood pressure. Cocaine also makes people feel good by flooding the brain with dopamine, one of the chemical messengers that increase feelings of pleasure.

There are two main types of cocaine: a powder that is snorted, injected, or smoked, and a rock form called crack cocaine that is generally smoked, although sometimes it is placed into body orifices. Cocaine abuse accounts for most of the emergency department visits related to illicit drug abuse or misuse at 40.3 percent, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report in 2011. There has also been a 29 percent rise in cocaine overdose deaths between 2001 and 2013, and close to 5,000 people died from an overdose on cocaine in 2013, NIDA publishes.

In order to prevent a potentially tragic outcome, it is beneficial to recognize the warning signs that a loved one or family member may be abusing cocaine.

Take Our “Am I a Drug Addict?” Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute “Am I A Drug Addict?” self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with drug addiction. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

When Cocaine Abuse Turns Into Addiction

Cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug in the United States by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in part due to its high potential for addiction. Cocaine makes people feel good by changing the way the brain feels pleasure, making it more difficult to feel as good without the drug.

Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Regular use of cocaine can cause someone to become tolerant to the drug, and higher doses must be taken in order to continue to feel the effects that are desired. More and more time may be spent trying to obtain the drug, using it, and then recovering from using cocaine as control over drug use becomes harder. Other duties such as schoolwork, familial obligations, or workplace responsibilities may be overlooked or neglected completely. It may be difficult to rely on people who are addicted to cocaine, and they may withdraw from loved ones and peers, and stop participating in activities or events that they used to enjoy.

Addiction is a disease affecting the motivation and reward circuitry in the brain. When people are addicted to cocaine, they may feel that they need the drug in order to feel any sort of balance. Someone addicted to cocaine may seek out the drug in order to feel some relief from physical and emotional withdrawal side effects that may occur as soon as the drug leaves the bloodstream. Withdrawal symptoms may include drowsiness and fatigue, increased appetite, depression, irritability, mood swings, nightmares, and drug cravings. Cocaine may not have the same physical withdrawal symptoms as other drugs; however, the emotional toll can be just as difficult to manage without help.

In 2013, the National Survey for Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that 1.5 million Americans were considered current users of cocaine, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published that 855,000 were classified with a substance use disorder due to cocaine abuse that same year. The physical and emotional side effects of cocaine abuse and addiction can generally be reversed with proper care and support.

Cocaine Addiction Intervention

Once someone realizes that they have a cocaine addiction, it may be best to seek professional help. You can start your process of finding professional help through your family physician, reach out to your insurance company to find treatment that will fit your financial budget, or call a rehab center directly to speak to an admissions coordinator.

Because many people who suffer from a cocaine addiction may either struggle to see that they have a problem with cocaine or deny it altogether, they may refuse to seek treatment. In these cases, holding a professional intervention may be an effective option to encourage someone to get professional assistance.

Ways to Get in Contact With Us

If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with addiction, let us hear your story and help you determine a path to treatment.

There are a variety of confidential, free, and no obligation ways to get in contact with us to learn more about treatment.

Find Cocaine Rehab Facilities Near Me

Dangers Of Mixing Cocaine With Other Drugs

Cocaine is often abused with other drugs or alcohol.

For instance, the Treatment Data Episode Set (TEDS) from 2002-2012, which details admissions to substance abuse treatment services in the United States, reported that 7 percent of all admissions for illicit drug use were for people primarily abusing cocaine, while double that number cited cocaine as a secondary or tertiary drug of abuse.

If cocaine is abused in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol, this is called poly-drug abuse and there may be additional noticeable physical and psychological side effects. For example, injection drug users may mix cocaine with heroin, which is called a “speedball.” Since cocaine is a stimulant and heroin is a central nervous system depressant, there may be a conflicting effect. Anxiety and stress are dampened by heroin, which may accompany the high energy and excitability indicative of cocaine abuse. Someone taking both of these drugs may have impaired motor functions and blurred vision in conjunction with suppressed appetite and lack of sleep.

All of the potential side effects from each drug may be multiplied by mixing them, and mental health issues may also be compounded.

When a large amount of cocaine is taken at once or in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol, the risk for an overdose or other negative health consequences increases also. An overdose occurs when too much of the drug is ingested at one time for the body to handle, and drug amounts reach toxic levels in the bloodstream. The signs of an overdose from cocaine include nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, elevated heart rate, chest pain, and a rise in blood pressure and body temperature. A cocaine overdose can result in a stroke or heart attack, and it is a medical emergency. If an overdose is suspected, call for professional help immediately.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

In our American Addiction Facilities—with locations in Texas, Las Vegas, Florida, and more—we treat cocaine addiction with high-quality evidence-based behavioral therapies. Many of our facilities also offer holistic, expressive, and recreational therapies to help you find healthier ways of dealing with negative emotions and grow your coping skills. Based on the facility you choose, trauma-based therapies may also be available to help you understand and cope with past traumas. Therapies that help with trauma include eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and Seeking Safety, among others.

Treatment at AAC facilities is customized to your personal needs. We do a thorough assessment of your mental and physical health to determine how best to treat you. Our staff, which includes doctors, nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, behavioral health technicians, and case managers all work together to make sure you get the best shot at lifelong recovery from cocaine addiction. Many of our facilities also offer specialized treatment tracks that target specific populations, such as veterans or LGBTQ+ individuals. Not only that, but we provide co-occurring disorder treatment for those individuals who struggle with addiction plus another mental health disorder, such as depression. Our programs give you all the tools you need to put cocaine abuse behind you.

Of course, recovery from cocaine is a lifelong journey that doesn’t end when you leave a treatment facility. All AAC programs incorporate aftercare planning to set you on the right path. When you arrive, we begin preparing an aftercare plan for you and adjust it as necessary so you’ll be fully prepared when you leave our program. You can learn more about your payment options at AAC through a discussion with our friendly admissions navigators.

American Addiction Centers can help you move past addiction and find joy in a life of recovery.

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