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Cocaine Addiction

Symptoms, Consequences and Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

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Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that increases the concentration of dopamine in the brain. This results in feelings of extreme pleasure and euphoria. Because of these effects, cocaine is very powerful and a person may become addicted even after just a few uses. Symptoms of cocaine addiction may include:

  • Requiring more cocaine to achieve the same effect (developing a tolerance)
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when cocaine usage is stopped
  • Continuing to use cocaine despite physical and social problems
  • Spending a large amount of time using cocaine or figuring out how to get it
  • Feeling unable to control usage habits
  • Neglecting other responsibilities such as family, work, or school

Consequences of Cocaine Abuse

Short-term and long-term cocaine abuse can lead to a number of serious health problems, in addition to psychological and social issues.

Health problems caused by cocaine abuse may include:

  • Heart attack
  • Seizure
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Heart muscle damage
  • Brain damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of HIV and Hepatitis C

Psychological problems associated with cocaine abuse and addiction may include:

  • ADHD
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts

Cocaine abuse and addiction can cause (or contribute to) social problems as well, including:

  • Job loss
  • Violent crime
  • Homelessness
  • Financial insecurity
  • Legal problems

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Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction

If you or a loved one is addicted to cocaine, there are several different options for treatment that can help you overcome it. The ideal treatment plant suited to you or your loved one will depend on a number of circumstances, including:

  • Their previous treatment and relapse history
  • Their willingness to enroll in a rehabilitation program
  • Their motivation for seeking help
  • Their financial circumstances

If you need help determining the appropriate level of care for yourself or your loved one, a substance abuse treatment specialist or counselor may be able to help you get started. Based on the circumstances of the addicted individual, he or she may be better served with one or more of the following types of treatment programs for cocaine addiction.

Medically Assisted Detox

Medically assisted cocaine detox programs help clients withdrawal safely after discontinuing the use of cocaine. Each program is individually designed by multidisciplinary treatment team based on the results of a comprehensive need-finding assessment. This results in thorough care that addresses all aspects of an individual’s addiction—not just the physical effects. Individual and group counseling may also begin during detox, giving the client time to process emotions and work with a counselor to discuss options for continued addiction treatment.

Residential Inpatient Treatment

Long-term residential treatment for cocaine addiction requires that the client lives in a monitored facility for at least 90 days while participating in addiction treatment. Each treatment plan is personalized based on the client’s individual circumstances and needs, offering a comprehensive approach to treatment. Addiction programs are facilitated by clinical addiction counselors and recovery specialists who work together to provide a balanced blend of treatment therapies and modalities including 12-step facilitation therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (among many others) to address the complexities of addiction. Educational lectures and family support round out an all-inclusive treatment program that plays a primary role in maintaining lifelong sobriety.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment for cocaine addiction helps bridge the gap from residential treatment to independent sober living. Unlike with inpatient programs, clients are not required to live in a facility. Instead, they attend group and individual counseling sessions several times a week. This allows for greater flexibility with work and school schedules. During sessions, clients work through the 12-step program with their peers, receive additional addiction education, and gain valuable life skills and tools they can use to fight relapse while living out their sobriety at home.

Sober Living

Sober living programs offer a structured, substance-free community lifestyle that invites clients to practice the skills and tools they learned while in rehab. Clients enjoy more personal freedoms in a sober home but are still required to abide by the rules and standards of the community. Accountability is maintained with regular drug testing, on-site support staff, and individually assigned program coordinators who ensure each client is progressing through the program without issue.


Aftercare programs are ideal for clients who have completed a residential program for cocaine addiction but would like the continued support of their peers and counselors during early recovery. Clients in aftercare programs typically meet once a week for group sessions to discuss stressful situations they are experiencing, celebrate successes, or share wisdom and advice gained from personal experience.

A combination of these treatment programs can help you or your loved one overcome their cocaine addiction and bridge the gaps from detox and residential care to an independent sober lifestyle.

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