Is Cocaine Addictive?

According to the Foundation for a Drug Free World, cocaine creates the greatest psychological dependence of any drug, next to methamphetamine. It stimulates key pleasure centers within the brain and causes extremely heightened euphoria. Cocaine addiction, tolerance and dependency builds quickly. If someone uses cocaine, they will not get the same effect as the very next time they do it with the same amount.

Understanding Cocaine

Cocaine is a white, powdery substance. It creates a high by reacting with the body’s central nervous system, releasing high amounts of dopamine. In turn, this creates energy and a euphoric feeling. Cocaine is most commonly snorted, but it can also be smoked or dissolved into liquid and injected into the bloodstream. In addition, cocaine can be rubbed on to the gums to create a numbing sensation.


When someone uses cocaine, the high is very short-lived. It only lasts about 30 minutes, even less in cases where someone injects or smokes it. People who use cocaine use it very often, and keep their high lasting by continually snorting small “bumps” of cocaine throughout the day.

Since cocaine is an extremely potent stimulant that causes a huge surge in energy, there are many side effects that someone can experience while they are high on cocaine. These can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Alertness
  • Talkativeness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Overconfidence
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Short attention span
  • Mood swings

When someone uses cocaine in the long term, it can have many damaging, permanent side effects. These can include:

  • Disturbances in heart rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pain
  • Malnutrition
  • Nosebleeds
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Hoarseness
  • Increased risk of HIV
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden death

Cocaine and Other Substances

Many people who experiment with cocaine are often in a social, party-type situation where other drugs are being used, as well. This leads to people often mixing cocaine with other substances. When someone mixes two drugs together, it is extremely dangerous.

Since cocaine is often used in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol or marijuana, it is also known as a “poly-use” drug. Although using any substance while also using cocaine is extremely dangerous and runs the increased risk of overdose, one of the deadliest combinations of cocaine is when it is used with heroin or fentanyl.

Am I Addicted to Cocaine?

It does not take very long to become addicted to cocaine, due to its short-lived high. This means people can form dependencies rather quickly, and while some may be able to quit on their own, many people require the help of treatment.

If you feel as if you may be forming an addiction to cocaine, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I neglect my responsibilities or obligations in favor for cocaine?
  • Do I spend a lot of money on cocaine, going to great lengths to get it?
  • Are people concerned about my weight, behavior or changed personality?
  • Do I have increased impulsivity, including trouble with the law?
  • Am I hiding my cocaine use from others?
  • Am I using cocaine at inappropriate times throughout the day, such as in the morning or during work?
  • Have I lost my job, dropped out of school or been kicked out of my home?

Treatment Options

The earlier you are able to get help for your cocaine addiction, the better it will be for you in the long run. However, no matter how long you’ve been suffering from cocaine addiction, help is available to you.

The first thing you will experience in cocaine addiction treatment is the detoxification period. It is likely that you have already experienced the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms of cocaine, since the high of cocaine is so short and withdrawal kicks in rather quickly. These feelings are also referred to as being dopesick, or as the comedown of cocaine.

Luckily, we offer medications and other therapies to help you through this uncomfortable period of time. Medication is available to help you with these uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, as well as your intense cravings. Being able to focus on your recovery without the distractions of withdrawal symptoms or the desire to use is extremely important and comforting to many people.

Depending on the length and severity of your cocaine addiction, an individualized treatment plan will be developed for you. In addition, we will develop an aftercare program for you, so that when you complete treatment you will know exactly what to look forward to.

About Cliffside Malibu

If you or a loved one is addicted to cocaine, it is extremely important to seek help as soon as possible. Cocaine is an extremely dangerous, potent drug that causes long-term damage to the body. We are here to help you through the difficult time of breaking your addiction to cocaine, and give you the tools to live a healthy life in recovery.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

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