Cocaine Addiction, Symptoms and Treatment Information

A cocaine addiction can be devastating for everyone involved. The patient, as well as their friends and family, are all affected. Cocaine is a drug that is easily abused, and many people who make the mistake of trying it find themselves dependent upon it. There are different ways of ingesting the drug, including snorting through the nose or injecting it under the skin. Crack cocaine is processed into a crystal form and smoked through a pipe.

People try cocaine for various reasons. Many people believe that it is a non-habit forming, safe drug. Some college students use the drug as a method of staying up all night for study purposes. Other people cave in to pressure from friends to try cocaine. Whatever the reason for trying the drug, people quickly become addicted, putting their health in serious danger. They also put their loved ones at risk for losing them, creating potentially devastating circumstances.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Cocaine Addiction?

One of the first signs that someone is abusing cocaine is that they begin to neglect their responsibilities. The person may miss excessive amounts of work or school, often without explanation. Their appearance may change, and they appear messy or unkempt most of the time. Another sign is that the person is experiencing financial difficulty. They may be asking everyone around them if they can borrow money. The addicted person may seem desperate, perhaps even lying about what the money is needed for. An addicted person will say whatever is needed to entice someone to help them financially. Many people even resort to stealing money from friends and family in order to support their habits.

If you suspect someone you know of having an addiction to cocaine, you may notice that their hygiene habits have deteriorated. The person may go days without showering or changing clothes. Their skin and hair appear greasy. You may notice that the suspected person is rapidly losing weight without dieting. Dilated pupils, frequent nosebleeds, erratic sleeping patterns, and white residue around the nose and mouth are obvious signs of an addiction. Another sign is that the addicted person abandons people who were once close to them in favor of new friends who support their drug use. One of the most important signs that someone is abusing cocaine is when they leave drug paraphernalia behind. You may find that the person has dollar bills that are tightly rolled up, mirrors, plastic bags, straws and razor blades in their possession or living space.

What To Do If You Suspect Someone Of Being Addicted To Cocaine

If you suspect that someone you know or love has an addiction to cocaine, you need to intervene as soon as possible. Cocaine is an extremely dangerous drug, and an addiction should not be ignored. You may have to stage an intervention. There are times when friends and family have to make a painful decision to alert the police about someone’s cocaine use. Unfortunately, this may be the only way to get the person to see the danger that they are putting themselves in.

Once the addiction has been identified, the first step is speaking with a counselor. Behavioral therapy addresses many issues, such as the reason for the drug use. It helps the patient see how they are hurting themselves and those around them. The user may have to attend several counseling sessions, both alone and with friends or family members. It is during this time that the patient is usually advised by their counselor to start fixing mistakes. This can be paying back borrowed or stolen money, apologizing to those who have been hurt by the addiction or removing oneself from the contact of people who have enabled their drug use in the past.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

A patient may choose a rehabilitation program that is on an inpatient basis. This type of therapy is intensive and usually lasts from 30-90 days or longer depending on individual needs. The patient spends the majority of each day in both group and individual meetings to address needs and concerns and teach new, healthy behaviors.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This is a type of substance abuse treatment that teaches a patient to live a healthier life by addressing the reasons for the drug use. It combines behavioral therapy with cognitive therapy to change the patient’s unhealthy habits and lifestyle. The therapy teaches the patient to replace bad habits with good ones in order to live a life without cocaine.

Support Groups

There are a number of support groups within many communities that can help with addiction. 12-step programs are available, as well as groups like Narcotics’ Anonymous.

These programs provide the patient with housing and drug treatment for a period of time, allowing them to take the necessary steps to overcome their addiction.


Perhaps one of the most important steps in the recovery process is aftercare. The patient needs to know how to surround themselves with positive support after completion of a rehabilitation program. Without proper aftercare, patients increase the risk of falling back into unhealthy habits and becoming addicted to cocaine once again. Aftercare may include regular group meetings, drug testing, one-on-one meetings with a therapist, or any other type of positive influence that is recommended. Often, the aftercare lasts from several years to a lifetime.

Beyond The Addiction

An addiction does not have to ruin someone’s life. After they realize how they have hurt themselves and others, there are always ways to make up for things that have happened. Overcoming an addiction to cocaine is often a long and sometimes painful process. The patient may have to remember unpleasant situations along the way. Friends and family members will have to admit to the patient how they have been hurt and affected by the addiction. With the right course of treatment, anyone can overcome an addiction and be on the road to living a healthy, drug-free life.


Further Reading:

Coke Addiction Behaviour
How to Help Someone with a Crack Cocaine Addiction
How to Spot a Coke Addict
Rehab for Crack Addicts
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
What Helps with Cocaine Withdrawal