Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive substance that has a strong potential for abuse. According to the DEA, there is no classified use of cocaine that is considered medical. Any use of cocaine is illicit and potentially dangerous in nature. If you or someone you know uses cocaine, addiction to this substance is almost inevitable. Call our admissions team at 833-397-3422 to learn more about cocaine addiction treatment options available at our Florida drug rehab center.

How addictive is cocaine?

Cocaine is one of the most addictive stimulants in the world.

Studies run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse have shown that over 43 million Americans over the age of 12 have either experimented or regularly participated in the recreational use of cocaine. The drug is famous for its popularity throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s party scene, while the hype of the drug has slowly faded- the usage and overdoses have not. Erythroxylum Coca, otherwise known as cocaine, is a derivative of natural substances-  coca leaves. The cocoa plant grows in the lush mountainsides of Peru, Bolivia, and other areas in South America, and its potent elements are extracted and transformed into cocaine.

The stimulant is surrounded by notoriety and is one of the most famous party drugs of all time. In 2020 cocaine is a household name for many, it is almost impossible to listen to a song lyric or watch a movie without subtle or direct nods to the use of cocaine. Cocaine is known by many different nicknames such as “Coca, Coke, Crack, Blow, Rock or Snow”.

Is cocaine physically addictive?

Due to the incredible stimulating effect that cocaine addiction has on the brain, it is more likely than not, that individuals who experiment with cocaine will become addicted after the first try.

Methods of Cocaine Abuse

The methods of cocaine administration are just as dynamic as the drug itself.

  • Nasal Ingestion

By far the most popular way to consume cocaine is via nasal ingestion. Most often via snorting cocaine or smoking cocaine. The drug is often cut into lines and snorted up the nose with the assistance of a straw, tube, or dollar bill. Alternatively, cocaine can be exposed to heat and smoked through a pipe- this is often referred to as “freebasing” or “smoking crack”. This is a type of cocaine consumption that gives a more intense high and also leads to larger hospitalization rates and subsequent overdoses.

  • Oral Consumption

Cocaine can be rubbed onto the user gums, a.k.a “gumming”, this can produce an extremely effective numbing sensation that can last for quite some time. The practice of numbing can cause severe dental problems such as gum diseases and decay of the tooth with long term use. “Parachuting” or “Bombing” is another variation of cocaine use that is often practiced to help the user avoid the taste of the drug itself, if the user is opposed to the taste of the drug. To parachute, the drug is traditionally rolled up or wrapped in tissue, toilet paper or an easily dissolved material and ingested.

  • Intravenous Administration

Almost identical in administration to another narcotic, heroin. Injecting cocaine can be self-administered by dissolving the powder into water, transferred to a syringe, and released into the bloodstream instantly.

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

Cocaine addiction symptoms can begin relatively slowly and over weeks or months of use, a person abusing the substance can have a total shift in behavior, personality, and outlook on life. The biggest red flags indicating cocaine abuse symptoms are

  • Mood swings
  • Development of aggression or agitation
  • Noticeable changes in weight
  • Constant headaches
  • Complaints of stomach pain are common cocaine symptoms.


Cocaine paraphernalia is an easier indicator to help in spotting the early signs of recreational drug abuse. If you believe a friend or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse keep an eye out for these objects

  • Needles
  • Razor blades,
  • Pipes
  • Cut straws or tubing
  • Small spoons
  • Rolled up dollar bills

Other indications of drug abuse might be eyedrops to hide red eyes from days of insomnia and drug abuse. And small, yet convenient containers that are easy to smuggle drugs in- such as cosmetic bags or even candy wrappers or other unsuspecting items.

Physical Signs

Is cocaine physically addictive?


Like many other narcotics, the physical signs of cocaine abuse can vary depending on the frequency of dosage, individual body chemistry, and the presence of other substances in the body. While signs may differ, there are classic indicators that are easily identified linked to the use of cocaine.

  • A racing heartbeat
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • One of the classic physical signs of cocaine use is drastic weight loss
  • Frequent headaches
  • Chest pain- leading to cardiac arrest
  • Seizures, tremors or convulsions
  • Stroke

Behavioral Signs

Cocaine is more frequently associated with the behavioral effects it can have on a person with a substance abuse disorder- more so than the physical manifestation. It can be rather simple to identify if someone close to you is participating in the use of cocaine.

  • Speed

Everything this individual does becomes drastically faster. This is not exclusive to speaking patterns, working hours and increase partying habits

  • Sex Life

Individuals who are struggling with the use of cocaine are often known for their sudden changes or increases in their sex life or sexual habits. This can include an increase in multiple partners or engage in unsafe sexual behavior.

  • Personality

Being under the influence of cocaine- which correlates to the highest degree of stimulation. Shifts in personality are not uncommon. Impatience, aggression or even violent behavior might develop-even in the most peaceful of people. It is not unlikely for individuals who are participating in frequent drug use to have an increase in reckless behavior that ultimately leads to run-ins with law enforcement.

Side Effects of Cocaine Use

The side effects of cocaine use can appear in physical or behavioral symptoms- but not always simultaneously. The first and most noticeable effect is a surge of happiness- or for some a drastically uplifted mood. As cocaine is released into the bloodstream, the central nervous system (CNS) is manipulated by the release of dopamine and serotonin; which makes the user highly stimulated by their surroundings- such as light, sound, and physical touch. Other classic side effects of cocaine addiction are changes to sleeping patterns and “non-stop” behavior until the drug wears off and the user takes another dose or hit of cocaine. As substance abuse continues more extreme physical symptoms might occur such as gastrointestinal complications and immune system deficiency which are long term effects of cocaine use.


Long Term Effects of Cocaine Use

The long term effects of cocaine use have some of the most volatile consequences in comparison to other narcotics. The presence of short term symptoms may remain, but the intensity will rise with the continuation of abuse.

  • Psychosis

Psychosis is a mental health disturbance, wherein an individual begins to see and hear things that do not exist within reality. Hallucinations and psychotic episodes are often associated with psychosis. This is a common effect of long term abuse and statistics have shown an increase in paranoia occurs in 68% to 84% of patients who have abused cocaine.

  • Violent Behavior

Long term effects of cocaine can result in an increase of stimuli over time, violent behavior often emerges in individuals who never in the past were aggressive or had violent tendencies. While this is not inclusive for all individuals who have consumed cocaine, violent behavior is executed with as many as 55% of patients with psychiatric symptoms such as psychosis. Homicide has been correlated to 31% of cocaine abusers, as well as the presence of cocaine in the body of the victims of suicide as high as 22%

  • Compromised Health

The extended use of cocaine can wreak havoc on mental health; the consequences of drug abuse can permanently damage the body’s regenerative immune system and can trigger kidney failure, respiratory problems due to smoking, and put one at risk of heart problems such as cardiac arrest or stroke. The likelihood of contracting Hepatitis, HIV, or AIDs increases due to the use of cocaine injection, shared needed, and unsafe sex practices while under the influence.

Short Term Effects of Cocaine Use

While each substance abuser has a different experience with secondary responses, the short term effects of cocaine use are not as severe as its lengthier counterparts. Side effects may include

  • Nosebleeds or runny nose
  • Appetite reduction
  • Weight loss
  • Erratic mood swings are an early warning sign and one of the short term effects of cocaine use
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Surge of confidence
  • Introduction of aggressive and reckless tendencies are closely related with short term effects of coke.
  • Paranoia
  • Sensitivity to stimuli
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Uncontrollable muscle twitching

 Polysubstance Abuse

Polysubstance abuse is common in recreational drug use such as party culture, raves, concerts, and music festivals.

  • Cocaine and Alcohol: This combination of mixing a stimulant and depressant is incredibly dangerous. This mixture of cocaine and alcohol can increase the risk of heart complications, blood clots, bleeding inside of the brain, and dispersion of toxins throughout the body.
  • Cocaine and Xanax: This particular combination of cocaine and Xanax abuse is often consumed by individuals who are taking anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax and want to counteract the side effects of sleepiness and lethargy that are associated with anxiety medication.
  • Cocaine and Heroin a.k.a “speedballing” by mixing cocaine and heroin can produce a more intense effect that can last twice as long as traditional cocaine use. This combo is deadly and can lead to respiratory and or heart failure.

What Causes Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine use manipulates the central nervous system in the brain (CNS). The CNS is responsible for the release of dopamine which is responsible for regulating the levels of happiness and pleasure in the brain which is often related as one of the causes of cocaine addiction.

What causes cocaine addiction?

Since the drug triggers the reward center of the brain after each use, the side effects become addictive and leave the user with an insatiable craving for more…

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can begin as quickly as the last dosage of the drug and last for as long as a week. Since the drug has a direct link to the composition of the central nervous system, the neurological impact can be intense and withdrawal can lead to psychotic episodes, hallucinations and leave the patient with difficulty separating reality from the figments of imagination created by the drug. Other signs of cocaine withdrawal can include

  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • The insatiable craving for cocaine

It is best for a person in pre-recovery to undergo the cocaine withdrawal process in a residential treatment center to prevent any complications with withdrawal that can appear. It is generally not recommended to quit cocaine “cold-turkey” because of the adverse withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine Abuse Facts and Statistics

As one might have guessed, cocaine holds the place of the world’s second-most abused drug next to cannabis. Interesting facts about cocaine were released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A stunning cocaine abuse fact is that the United States continues to lead as the number one buyer of cocaine each year which costs approximately 28 billion dollars annually. Other cocaine facts are as follows

  • Signs of cocaine use in men: Unfortunately, symptoms of cocaine use in men are generally easy to spot due to the stimulant’s intense nature. The male population is the highest ranking in regards to cocaine use and overdose, violence, and reckless behavior correlate with the male population. While this does not occur in every individual who consumes cocaine, violence and increased agitation are classic signs of cocaine abuse in men
  • Signs of women doing cocaine: Women and cocaine normally do not have an akin experience as their male counterparts. Variables such as hormonal imbalances, stress management, and traumatic history of abuse can push women towards the use of narcotics. Some of the early warning signs of women doing cocaine are changes in social interactions, financial difficulties, and an increase in sexual habits.
  • Signs of teen cocaine use: How many teens do cocaine? The answer is well, quite a lot. Teen cocaine use often begins during social gatherings at parties at an early age. The introduction of cocaine in social environments can begin as early as 12 years old. Characteristics of teen and cocaine use might include anxiety, dilated pupils, aggressive behavior, and issues with law enforcement.

Facts & Statistics on Cocaine Addiction in Florida

Cocaine in Florida might come to mind as a central hub for drug trafficking in the years past. Miami is one of the first cities that might come to mind regarding cocaine. In the 1980s drug cartels rampaged the city with the import and exportation of cocaine, polluting the city with narcotics to fuel the city’s nightlife and never-ending party scene.

  • Cocaine was the main cause of death in comparison to any other drug in 2016. Drug-related deaths increased by 22% concerning 2015 and deaths related to cocaine were doubled than the past four years alone. Miami-Dade County averaged about 36 cocaine-related deaths each month in 2016.
  • Medical examiners recorded 3,350 more cocaine-related deaths than the federal government had tracked in those 15 years.
  • The impact of Covid-19 has created a surge in drug use across Florida and the entire nation, especially with individuals who are already experiencing mental health or substance abuse issues.

Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine is known for its incredibly fast-acting impact on the living- and even in death- coke overdoses can occur in 3 minutes or less…

The risk of cocaine overdose can increase with polysubstance users and individuals with heavy drinking habits, history of mental health problems or substance abuse of other drugs.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

When it comes to a cocaine overdose, every second counts. If you notice any signs or symptoms of cocaine abuse call 911 immediately. Cocaine overdose symptoms can become noticeable within minutes of drug administration

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Convulsions or seizure
  • Loss of color in skin / Pale
  • Severe chest pain
  • Vertigo
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Respiratory failure

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Watching a loved one struggle from cocaine abuse can be difficult. The most important concept to keep in mind is that there is hope for recovery and there are many different options available for recovery. Many rehabilitation centers run programs that last from 30 days to 6 months. Factors that can impact cocaine addiction treatment plans are

  • The severity of substance abuse
  • Length of time under the influence
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Cost of treatment
  • Polysubstance abuse
  • Co-occurring disorders that might be present may require cocaine addiction treatment methods that are longer-term


If you suspect cocaine abuse in a friend or a loved one, it is imperative to have a full understanding of the situation at hand. Ensure all facts and evidence are compiled before informing friends of the family of the predicament at hand. The three most important elements to stage an intervention are

  • Knowledge

Understand the nature of substance abuse, addiction is a disease and the road to help one toward recovery should not be taken lightly.

  • Support System

Enlist the support of close friends, family, and spiritual mentors who are close to the individual who is struggling with substance abuse. An intervention is a private and sensitive matter and only the most trusted of people should be included in this process.

  • Research

Research the origin of substance abuse, triggers, and be sure to have thoroughly researched treatment plans and rehabilitation centers before beginning an intervention. Lack of concrete knowledge and awareness can backfire quickly.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

There are several paths that one can take when it comes to Cocaine addiction treatment.  Cocaine abuse treatment can be treated via inpatient or outpatient care and may vary in length depending on the severity of the patient in question. Cocaine overdose treatment that is residential and longer in length is generally advised for individuals who have been struggling with abuse long term

  • Detox: How to detox from cocaine? This can be done by slowly tapering off the use of cocaine or implementing medically assisted therapy treatment. The cocaine detox process can be completed inpatient, outpatient, or in a residential rehab center specifically for cocaine overdose treatment.
  • Rehab: Cocaine rehab. this is often the most effective approach to treating substance abuse. The patient in recovery can make a full recovery in a peaceful environment free of distraction.
  • Outpatient Treatment: This is quite different from traditional inpatient treatment, with outpatient care the beginning stages of diagnosis to post recovery are done outside of a facility.
  • Dual Diagnosis: This treatment is a hybrid that is created to assist individuals that are suffering from mental health disorders and substance abuse concurrently.

Get Help for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is one of the most abused drugs in the United States and across the world. While there is a negative stigma that is generally associated with cocaine abuse, it is time that these negative connotations are absolved. Cocaine addiction is nothing to be ashamed about, addiction is a disease. The good news is, signs of cocaine addiction can be easy to recognize in early stages and it is a disease that can be treated with the right rehabilitation facility. Call St. John’s Recovery Place at 833-397-3422 to learn more about the cocaine addiction treatment programs we have available.