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7 Signs Someone is Addicted to Cocaine

- 10 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Cocaine is an illicit, addictive stimulant drug. People who abuse cocaine can experience many harmful short and long-term effects.

Repeated cocaine use can change how your body and brain work. These changes can make it incredibly challenging to stop using cocaine when you choose. People who struggle with cocaine addiction require comprehensive treatment and continuing support to stop using it and avoid relapse.

Seeking treatment as early as possible can give you the best chance to recover fully. This article will outline seven signs someone is addicted to cocaine. You will also learn where to find treatment and support for cocaine abuse.

Reach out to the Carolina Center for Recovery specialists to explore our substance abuse treatment programs or to schedule an intake assessment.

Cocaine Addiction: An Overview

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug. Cocaine is derived from the South American coca plant. It is available in several forms, including a white powder and a solid form called crack cocaine.

Research shows cocaine use has increased in the United States over the past five decades. There have been a greater number of cocaine-related deaths, and the number of people seeking cocaine abuse treatment has risen.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released research that shows approximately 4.8 million people 12 and older in the US had used cocaine in 2021. This research also revealed that about 1.4 million people in the United States were addicted to cocaine.

Cocaine affects dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical involved in the brain’s pleasure and reward systems. When people use cocaine, they experience pleasurable side effects, including:

  • Heightened senses
  • Mood changes
  • Increased energy
  • Euphoria (intense pleasure and well-being)

These effects may make people want to use cocaine more. Over time, repeated cocaine use can lead to physical dependence. People who develop cocaine dependence usually require professional treatment and support to safely stop using it and avoid relapse.

7 Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine use can change the way a person behaves, thinks, and looks. Knowing the signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse can help you identify a problem and seek treatment as quickly as possible.

Here are seven signs of cocaine addiction.

1. Isolation

Many people think about cocaine as a popular party drug, but the reality of cocaine addiction is much different. People with cocaine addiction often become socially isolated. They may become paranoid or fear others will discover their substance use.

2. Appearance changes

Cocaine users may have increased energy and appetite loss. This can lead to quick, drastic weight loss in some cases. You may also notice the powdered form of cocaine on people’s faces, clothing, or in their homes.

Long-term cocaine abuse can lead to malnutrition, which can affect people’s hair, skin, teeth, and more. People who abuse cocaine or other drugs may neglect their hygiene.

3. Cardiovascular issues

Cocaine impacts cardiovascular health because it increases central nervous system (CNS) activity. It also constricts blood vessels. People who use cocaine frequently may experience high blood pressure, chest pain, and other cardiovascular problems.

People with a history of cardiovascular problems may have a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening conditions. However, people without additional risk factors may still have cardiovascular issues related to cocaine addiction.

4. Mental health problems

Cocaine use can increase the risk of mental health conditions. It can increase feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Research suggests that up to 84% of cocaine users experience paranoia that can last for weeks.

Cocaine abuse may make symptoms of an existing mental illness worse. It can also cause symptoms in people without existing mental health conditions.

5. Mood changes

People who use cocaine may have noticeable changes in their mood. They may swing from energetic and euphoric to irritable and depressed very quickly.

Many cocaine users feel euphoric and energized while using cocaine, then sink into a depression as the drug wears off.

6. Cognitive problems

Cocaine abuse can cause significant cognitive issues, including:

  • Impaired declarative memory
  • Working memory deficits
  • Shortened attention span

People who abuse cocaine may have noticeable changes in their functioning. In many cases, this damage is permanent.

7. Skin problems

People who abuse cocaine may experience the sensation of bugs crawling under their skin. As a result, they may scratch or pick at their skin. This can lead to infections, scars, and wounds that take a long time to heal.

People who inject cocaine may face skin infections, scars, and a higher risk of bloodborne diseases.

The effects of cocaine addiction can be devastating. Understanding cocaine addiction and knowing how to recognize it can help you get addiction treatment to overcome it.

Find Help Now

If you or someone you love has symptoms of cocaine addiction or another substance use disorder, contact the Carolina Center for Recovery for help. Our intake specialists can answer your questions and verify your insurance. They will also schedule an intake assessment so that you can begin your recovery journey as quickly as possible.