Cocaine Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Cocaine is a strong stimulant substance that brings about short-term euphoria and energy boosts, as well as appetite suppression. For those who are already grappling with issues linked to healthy eating and weight management, the abuse of cocaine can have seriously damaging impacts on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Learn about cocaine addiction

The brevity and severity of the effects of cocaine can cause individuals to go through extreme desires to abuse this substance over and over. Cocaine is attractive to those who are engaging in unhealthy eating patterns to lose weight, and those with eating disorders often turn to the use of cocaine, which can quickly cause a tolerance and dependency on this drug to develop.

Luckily, cocaine dependence can be treated. However, in those instances where cocaine addiction co-occurs with an eating disorder, it is imperative that the individual obtains treatment for both the eating disorder and the substance abuse problem, as well as any other outstanding physical and/or mental health concerns in order to find true healing.


Cocaine addiction statistics

Experts approximate that roughly 35 million Americans have abused cocaine at least one time in their lives, and roughly two million of these Americans have used it within the previous 30 days. In adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, the rate of past-month cocaine abuse is 0.2%, and the lifetime abuse of this drug sits at 1%.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for cocaine addiction

Dependency upon cocaine or any other addictive substance tends to occur because of a number of factors, including genetics and one’s environmental influences.

Genetic: Those with a sibling or a parent who has a substance abuse disorder are at a greater risk for developing a similar issue than someone who does not share this same family background. If a parent or a sibling has substance abuse problems, the risk that the related individual will face similar struggles can be three to eight times greater than the general population. Additionally, a history of family illness also increases one’s likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.

Environmental: Growing up in a family that has been impacted by mental illness, including substance abuse, can influence one’s development of a substance use disorder. Children who are exposed to the abuse of drugs are more likely to participate in similar behaviors compared to those who grew up in homes where substance abuse was not present. Other environmental factors such as pressure, stress, or trauma can heighten one’s risk of abusing cocaine.

Risk Factors:

  • Poor parental oversight
  • Personal history of prior substance abuse
  • Living in an environment where drug use is prominent
  • Living or working in a high-stress environment
  • Family history of substance abuse and/or mental illness
  • Personal struggle with mental illness or prior substance abuse
  • Drug abuse in one’s house or neighborhood
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction

The signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse can vary from person to person, depending on a number of different factors. Some of the most common symptoms of cocaine abuse and addiction include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Reckless and risky behaviors
  • Borrowing or stealing money
  • Increased energy
  • Apparent lack of need for sleep
  • Rapid speech patterns
  • Lying about whereabouts and activities
  • Unprovoked emotional outbursts

Physical symptoms:

  • High blood pressure and increased heart rate
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Excessive sweating
  • Runny nose and persistent nosebleeds
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Excessive confidence
  • Poor decision-making capabilities
  • Psychosis
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Euphoria

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in issues and events that were previously important
  • Inability to experience pleasure without drugs
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Depression

Effects of cocaine addiction

Below are some of the many ways in which continued cocaine abuse can impact one’s life:

  • Declining performance at work
  • Unemployment
  • Academic failure
  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory distress
  • Hypertension
  • Irreversible cognitive impairment
  • Financial devastation
  • Strained or ruined personal relationships
  • Damage to liver and kidneys
  • Stroke
Co-Occurring Disorders

Cocaine addiction and co-occurring disorders

The following disorders often co-occur alongside cocaine abuse:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Schizoaffective disorder
Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of cocaine withdrawal and overdose

Effects of cocaine withdrawal:

The abrupt cessation of cocaine use can trigger a number of withdrawal symptoms to develop since the user’s body has grown dependent on this substance. Some of these symptoms can include:

  • Nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Depression

Effects of cocaine overdose:

Cocaine overdose can be so severe that it results in death. If an individual shows the following signs and symptoms of cocaine overdose, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Delirium
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Respiratory distress
  • Kidney failure
  • Highly elevated blood pressure and/or body temperature

When I was struggling with a cocaine addiction, it seemed unstoppable. But at Montecatini, I finally turned my life around.

– Former Client
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