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Cocaine Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and More

“With coke, you are like a moth stuck on a light. It attracts you more and more and you can’t stop it. It’s not physical. It’s in your head. The more you have it, the more you take it. I have injected it in myself every ten minutes. I borrowed money from the bank to buy it. One day I became unemployed. It was worse. I used to shoot up all the time. This thing made me insane. I knew it, but I continued. I became a total failure.” -Anonymous Addict

Does this resonate with you?

Many cocaine addicts have shared their real life experiences with The Foundation for a Drug Free World online to help people realize the dangers of cocaine abuse.

Think about your story. How is cocaine disrupting your life? You have the opportunity to change things if you want to, and we can help you. In an effort to motivate you to seek treatment for your drug addiction, we will discuss what the powerful stimulant drug is doing to your mind and your body.

First, it is important for you to understand the difference between cocaine and crack cocaine. They are different in how they are made, how they are abused, what they cost, and the side effects they produce.

Cocaine, a fine white powder, bitter to the taste, comes from the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca plant that grows in the Andes Mountains in South America. The cocaine alkaloid is available in many forms: coca leaves, coca paste, powder cocaine and cocaine base, known as crack. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reports that all of the cocaine coming into our country arrives as powder cocaine. It is modified and made into crack by dissolving pure cocaine in a mixture of water and either ammonia or baking soda.

Crack, which is almost always smoked, takes about 20 seconds to reach the brain. Its effects last for about 30 minutes. When powder cocaine is snorted, it can take up to 20 minutes to reach the brain. In terms of cost, cocaine is much more expensive than crack.

Both crack and cocaine produce euphoric, energetic, and mentally alert feelings that are taking lives and sending more than 180,000 people to rehabilitation each year. In 2014, more than 5,400 people died from a cocaine overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse .

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Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

Were you at a party or simply having a bad day when you decided to try cocaine for the first time? Maybe a friend pressured you into it or you wanted to feel more confident in social situations. What began as recreational use can turn quickly into addiction. In order to sustain cocaine’s short-lived high, did you fall prey to the common cocaine binge pattern? This is when you abuse substances repeatedly within a relatively short period of time, at increasingly higher doses. Naturally, you are going to run out of your supply and need to come up with more money to support your habit.

Are you willing to go that far? You might be if you do not seek help for your cocaine addiction. Medical research shows that people with an addiction do not always have control over what they are doing. In combination with a drug like cocaine, that can be dangerous.

Let us help you before you lose control.

Cocaine Abuse Signs and Symptoms

The effect that cocaine has on your brain is strong. It can harm or kill your brain cells that trigger the high that you feel. As you continue to abuse cocaine, your brain’s dopamine “pleasure center” is reset. When that happens, you are no longer taking the drug because it makes you feel good. You are taking it to avoid the negative feelings associated with the absence of cocaine.

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Short-term and Long-term Effects of Cocaine

  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased appetite
  • Heightened mental alertness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increase in temperature
  • Headaches
  • Loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, chronic runny nose; all caused by snorting cocaine
  • Bowel gangrene
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Irritability, restlessness, and anxiety


Your cocaine abuse also puts you at risk for contracting HIV and Hepatitis C whether you share needles or not. This is because your addiction impairs your judgment, which might lead to risky sexual behavior.

Overdose Symptoms of Cocaine

The more cocaine you take, the more life-threatening the side effects and symptoms become.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cold sweats
  • Strokes or convulsions
  • Heart attack or cardiac arrest
  • Severe paranoia – a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis in which you lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucination

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Cocaine Withdrawal and Detox

We understand that detoxification might be the scariest thing you will ever do. We can pair you with an experienced medical professional who will help you get through the first phase of your treatment in a safe environment. A lot of cocaine abusers report having similar withdrawal symptoms while in rehabilitation. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you will be.

Cocaine cravings During your drug detoxification treatment, you might experience a strong desire to take more cocaine. This craving is common. A normal response to pain is to seek pleasure. This is your opportunity to figure out what else, besides cocaine, makes you happy? It might be exercise, or chocolate, or reading a book.

Mood changes and depression It is normal to feel depressed, anxious or irritable during withdrawal. Cocaine depletes your brain’s supply of “feel good” chemicals or endorphins. Euphoria does not last forever, and unfortunately, cocaine abuse amplifies the sadness. This will pass.

Fatigue Allow yourself to rest. Cocaine abuse is exhausting and you might have worn yourself out through lack of sleep and energetic activity while you were high.

Insomnia It might be hard to sleep at first, and it is not unusual to have vivid and unpleasant dreams during cocaine withdrawal.

Increased appetite You probably were not eating properly while you were high on cocaine, so do not be surprised when you feel hungry more often.

Cocaine Treatment and Rehab

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You already know what it is like to live with cocaine. Are you wondering how you will live without it? There will be a period of transition as you make peace with yourself and your past. You might discover things about yourself you do not like and need to work on. This can be painful, but is an important part of your healing. It is possible to enjoy life again.

You can reconnect with friends and family you might have neglected to maintain your addiction. The treatment programs for addiction we recommend will support you through aftercare programs and possible outpatient treatment once you leave the rehabilitation center.

How long will this process take? We cannot say for sure because all cocaine abusers respond to treatment differently. But the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that rehabilitation should last three months or longer to be your best assurance of success. What matters most, though, is the result – lasting sobriety.

This is the result offered by many cocaine treatment centers around the world that we are intimately familiar with. If you would like to hear more about the rehabilitation process, call to speak with one of our experts.

Recognizing and Addressing the Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine abuse can change the way you think, how you react to the world around you, and your behavior. The drug might give you a confidence you never had so you feel like you can do anything, say anything, and overcome anything. But once the drug wears off, you might sleep for long periods of time, and become depressed.

As a result, you might neglect your obligations to work or school. Everyday tasks such as cleaning the house, walking the dog, doing your homework, or cooking dinner will become a challenge.

Rehab Treatment Process

  • Step 1: Intake

    When you arrive at your facility you will be assessed by the medical professionals to determine your treatment through detox, as well as your rehabilitation program.

  • Step 2: Detox

    After your assessment or intake you will be taken to your room where you can rest and be monitored while you go through the withdrawal of your drug use. Detox can range from 1 day to a week, depending on the drug of choice and the user.

  • Step 3: Rehab

    After you finish detox you will be ready to begin your addiction treatment, which can range from a variety of different options. This is when you will be able to meet others, attend lectures, participate in group or individual counseling, and learn the tools you need to stay clean.

  • Step 4: Aftercare

    When your time at the facility is over, you will have to go back to your life. This can be a challenge for a lot of people, but part of your treatment includes aftercare. This is usually outpatient counseling in a group or individualized setting, where you are slowly introduced back to your life and responsibilities.

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Coming to Terms with Your Cocaine Addiction

Whether you have used cocaine for the first time or have been an addict for many years, you might feel guilty. You will learn through drug rehabilitation treatment that you should not punish yourself for your addiction. Maintaining a positive mindset in rehabilitation will help you realize that we all make mistakes and you deserve a second chance.

Helping a Friend or Family Member Address Their Cocaine Addiction

Your loved one’s cocaine abuse might be destroying your family. You might be so consumed with his or her addiction that you have lost yourself in the dysfunction. There are a number of ways you can try to help your loved one and cope at the same time.

  • Educate yourself on addiction and recovery
  • Try not to accuse or judge
  • Provide a drug-free environment to reduce triggers
  • Allow your loved one time to go to meetings
  • Understand that your lives will change
  • Do not enable
  • Do not shield your loved one from the consequences of addiction
  • Set boundaries that you agree upon
  • Recognize and acknowledge your loved one’s potential

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The Bottom Line: You Can Beat Cocaine Addiction

If you’ve reached this point it is hard to deny the fact that you’re serious about beating your Cocaine addiction, and that is something to have pride in and celebrate. Your life matters and there is no reason why you should allow a drug to dictate the rest of your life when help is available.

Remember, choosing to go into a Cocaine rehab treatment center for Cocaine abuse will help you rid yourself of the horrible side effects you’ve had to endure, extend your life span, and most importantly place you on track towards regaining you own life. So don’t fight addiction alone. Instead allow us to help you live the life you deserve to have.

Payment Options for Cocaine Abuse Treatment

We are hoping that you’ve made the decision to enter a treatment facility, but you’re probably wondering how you’re going to pay for it. That is why we are here. At Elite Rehab Placement, we coordinate everything between your insurance provider and our treatment facilities. If we can not get you into one of our cocaine rehab centers we will quickly point you in the direction of resources who can help you find a good match.

Your treatment might be less expensive somewhere outside of your home state. We’ve already done all of the research and own and operate several high-quality centers. There is no cost to you to use our services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Call us today and let us help you get on the road to recovery!