If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to cocaine, this page provides valuable information that can help you to better navigate your recovery journey.

If you or a loved one is in urgent need of support for a cocaine addiction problem, don’t hesitate to call SpringBoard’s FREE & CONFIDENTIAL helpline!

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which means that it has high potential for abuse but can be administered by a doctor for medical uses. However, repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward systems, which can lead to addiction. Users begin to take stronger and more frequent doses to feel the high they did initially and to get relief from withdrawal symptoms.


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Cocaine addiction is a problem that has been around for a very long time. It is an illegal stimulant drug that some experts say can lead to a quick addiction when it is being abused. It is highly dangerous, and once a person gets addicted to it, it can be very hard for them to…


Fortunately, there are ways for people to get help to recover from cocaine addiction. Professional treatment is always highly recommended, but other types of programs can be helpful too, such as Narcotics Anonymous. Getting the right support – both from professionals and from peers – is often a critical aspect of cocaine addiction recovery.

Many people who are addicted to cocaine do not have a proper understanding of the drug at all. It is important to know how addictive it can be and the effects it can have on a person’s mind and body. We want to provide that information as well as talk about the various treatment options that are available for cocaine addiction.




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Narcotics Anonymous came along about 20 years after AA began. They also rely upon the 12-Steps of Recovery, but with some variations. They are also free to attend.


SMART Recovery is not 12-Step based, and theirs is a more scientific approach to addiction recovery. They promote peer support and education. Their meetings are free to attend.


Al-Anon is an organization that offers free support group meetings to the families of addicts and alcoholics. They typically meet on a weekly basis.


Alateen is a part of Al-Anon, and the support groups they offer are only for teens and young people with addicted loved ones. They are a great opportunity for teenagers to get support from a group of their peers who understand what they are going through.



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The coca plant is native to South America, which is what cocaine is made from. It is illegal in the United States for recreational use. As we mentioned previously, this drug is a stimulant, which mShort-Termeans it increases energy and makes the user feel more alert and awake.

Most people use cocaine by snorting it through their noses, but it can also be mixed with water and injected into a vein. Either method gets the drug into the blood stream very quickly, allowing it to travel to the brain.

It is not uncommon for people to mix cocaine with other drugs or alcohol. It is often combined with heroin to form what is known as an 8-Ball.

Using these two drugs together is known as speedballing.

Street Names

Like other drugs, cocaine is rarely sold by its name on the streets. Dealers and addicts alike usually prefer to call it by one of a number of street names, which include:

  • Coke
  • C
  • Snow
  • Blow
  • Bump
  • Rock
  • Toot
  • Flake
  • Coca
Are Crack and Cocaine the Same Drug?

Crack cocaine is not the same as cocaine, but it is made from cocaine, just as its name suggests. Whereas cocaine can be snorted or injected into a vein, the same is not true for crack.

Crack is made by lacing cocaine with other substances, such as cornstarch, flour or another non-addictive substance. This is also called cutting. Once mixed, it is cooked down to remove the hydrochloride and produce a product that can be smoked. This is typically in the form of a rock that is off-white or yellow in color.

Making crack first became popular in the 1980s. It was a way for drug dealers to make more money on cocaine because it stretches the product further. Once introduced, crack cocaine’s popularity surged quickly.

The History of Cocaine in the U.S.

The history of cocaine is very interesting. Around 3000 BC, ancient Incas who lived in the Andes would chew the leaves of the coca plant as a way to speed their heart rates and their breathing due to the thing mountain air. Historically, many societies would chew the leaves during religious ceremonies.

Cocaine was first extracted from coca leaves in 1859 by Albert Neimann, a German chemist. But it did not become popular in the medical community until the 1880s. Sigmund Freud was a proud user of the drug, and he used to promote it as a cure for depression and sexual impotence. He called it a magical substance. Freud believed that there was no such thing as a toxic dose of cocaine, and when he prescribed it for one of his patients, they died as a result.

Coca-Cola actually got its name from cocaine because it was an ingredient that was included in the soda until they were forced to remove it in 1903. The United States government reported that there had been 5,000 cocaine-related deaths in one year in 1912. But it was not until 1922 that the drug was made illegal in our country.

Since that time, people have still continued to use this drug. Over the years, it has become common in Hollywood and among people with high-profile jobs. Today, hundreds of tons of cocaine are produced and exported every year. It is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that it does have some medical uses, although most doctors prefer to use safer alternatives.

Understanding Cocaine’s Side Effects

Cocaine is a powerful drug that can be highly addictive; especially with repeated use. Using this drug even one time can have serious side effects, and they include:

  • An intense sense of euphoria.
  • Reduced fatigue and increased energy levels.
  • Increased mental alertness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Less need for sleep.
  • Feelings of restlessness.
  • Irritability and anxiety.
  • A state of paranoia with high doses.


People begin abusing cocaine for any number of reasons. They may:

  • Be suffering from depression, bipolar disorder or another mental illness. Using cocaine may temporarily help with their symptoms and make them feel better.
  • Be seeking a way to stay awake to work at night, and some college students will use it to help themselves study at night.
  • Be responding to peer pressure by their friends who have tried the drug before.
  • Be curious about the drug and decide to just try it out.
  • Be using it as a way to cope with their problems.

Regardless of a person’s reasons for using cocaine, this drug is dangerous at any dose. No one really knows what a “safe” dose is because everyone is different.


Cocaine addiction is first caused by cocaine abuse, just like with other drugs. Abuse and addiction are different because when a person is abusing a drug, they are not compelled to use it. When they are addicted to it, they feel as though they have to use it. Without it, they do not feel like themselves and they may not even be able to function properly. Some people even believe that they will die if they do not get their normal dose.

When a person uses cocaine, they contribute to a surge of dopamine into their brains. The drug then blocks the brain’s natural process of recycling that dopamine and the brain becomes flooded with the feel-good chemical.

Over time, the person’s brain is no longer able to produce or manage dopamine on its own. At that point, they are addicted to cocaine.

What are the Signs of Cocaine Addiction?

Someone who has a cocaine addiction will demonstrate most, if not all, of the following signs. They may:

  • Have a faster heart rate than normal.
  • Talk, move and think faster than other people.
  • Have a high body temperature.
  • Experience shaking and twitching.
  • Be unable to sleep much at night.
  • Be unable to sleep much.
  • Experience quick mood swings.
  • Have paranoia.
  • Go through a “crash” after using, which can cause them to feel tired and sad for many days.
  • Have extreme cravings for cocaine.
  • Suffer from nosebleeds.
  • Lose their sense of smell.
  • Have a runny nose all the time.

Some other signs of addiction include:

  • Going through withdrawal when the drug is out of the person’s system.
  • Feeling the need to increase how much of the drug they use in order to get the same effects.
  • Experiencing physical or mental health issues as a result of the drug use, yet refusing to quit.
  • Choosing to use the drug in secret.
  • Making sure they always have a good supply of their drug of choice on hand at all times.
  • Denying that they have a problem with cocaine.
  • Giving up activities or hobbies they enjoy because they would rather use the drug.
  • Taking dangerous risks in order to obtain their drug of choice.
  • Using as a way to cope with one’s problems.
Who is at risk for getting addicted to Cocaine?

There are several factors that can put a person at risk for cocaine addiction and abuse. They include:

  • Having a family history of addiction – Researchers say that genetics may account for 40%-60% of the risk.
  • Family environment – The fact that many people actually witness drug abuse from family members plays a role too.
  • Influence from peers – Friends can easily influence people to start using drugs like cocaine. This is especially true during the teenage years.
  • The age of first use – Young people who try drugs have a much bigger chance of getting addicted later on in their lives.
  • The method of use – People who smoke or inject drugs have a higher chance of getting addicted. This is because these methods provide quicker access to the brain.
  • The type of drug being used – Certain drugs are much easier to get addicted to than others. For example, marijuana is known to be non-addictive physically. But a drug like cocaine can lead to addiction within just a few uses.


Using cocaine for any period of time is going to have a profound effect on the mind and body. But there are some differences depending on how long the drug is being used.

Short-Term Effects

Many of the short-term effects of cocaine are pleasurable. This only increases the chances that a person will use the drug repeatedly. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the drug’s effects will appear almost immediately after use.

The short-term effects of cocaine include:

  • A feeling of euphoria.
  • Becoming more talkative.
  • Becoming more mentally alert.
  • Becoming hypersensitive to touch, sound and sight.
  • Less of a need for food and sleep.
  • Constricted blood vessels.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • An increase in body temperature.
  • An increase in heart rate.
  • An increase in blood pressure.

If a person is using larger doses of cocaine, they could demonstrate, violent, bizarre behaviors. Panic, tremors and paranoia are also common.

Long-Term Effects

Continuing to abuse cocaine long-term can be detrimental to brain function. It can cause significant changes in the brain that may not be reversible.

Some additional long-term effects of cocaine addiction include:

  • Increased displeasure.
  • Negative moods when not using the drug.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer in the system.
  • Tolerance, which means that more of the drug is needed to achieve the same or similar results.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Paranoia.
  • Full-blown psychosis.
  • Irritation of the nasal septum.
  • Tears and ulcers in the intestinal tract.
  • Weight loss.
  • Heart problems.
  • An increased risk of stroke.
  • An increased risk of seizures.
  • An increased risk of bleeding in the brain.


Recovering from cocaine addiction means addressing both the physical and psychological sides of the problem. This is done through detox and rehab, and both are recommended for this drug.

Drug Detox for Cocaine Addiction

In order for treatment to be effective, it is important for the person to get help for their withdrawal symptoms first. This is accomplished through drug detox, which utilizes a variety of different methods to help the body rid itself of harmful toxins.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Stopping the use of cocaine will lead to withdrawal, which are uncomfortable symptoms that can make it hard not to return to drug use. Some common withdrawal symptoms for cocaine include:

  • Feeling depressed.
  • Becoming agitated and restless.
  • Feeling extremely fatigued.
  • Having intense cravings for cocaine.
  • A general feeling of discomfort.
  • Having an increased appetite.
  • Having vivid and unpleasant dreams.
  • A slowing down of physical and mental activity.

Some people may also develop suicidal thoughts related to depression once they stop using cocaine. This is one reason why it is so important do so in a professional setting.

Options for Cocaine Detoxification Programs

Someone who is recovering from cocaine addiction will most likely be recommended for medical detox and holistic detox treatments. Both can effectively address their withdrawal symptoms and help them feel better faster.

Medical detox involves the use of medications to help with withdrawal. For example, a person may be placed on an antidepressant to help with symptoms of depression. Holistic detox involves the use of more natural treatment methods, such as starting a new exercise program or making changes in one’s diet.


The detoxification process may take around 7-10 days, depending on the individual’s progress. After their withdrawal symptom are controlled, they are ready to move on to drug rehab.

Drug rehabilitation programs offer various types of therapy for the purpose of treating the addiction’s underlying cause. It is important to determine why the person started using cocaine in the first place. Because of the nature of this drug, many people who use it are actually suffering from mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder or even PTSD. This is called having a co-occurring disorder.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are very common in people who use drugs like cocaine. Addicts will frequently use the drug as a way to self-medicate their symptoms away. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about half of people in need of rehab are suffering from a mental health issue that has not been addressed properly. Many people are not even aware that they have one.

Dual diagnosis treatment is a method of treating co-occurring disorders at the same time as the addiction. It is very beneficial because it removes the reason for the person’s drug use. That gives them a much better chance of being successful in recovery.


At SpringBoard Recovery, we have worked with many people who were struggling with cocaine addiction. We use only the most modern methods of treatment that have been proven to be effective.

The first step is to provide the client with a detox referral so they can get help for their withdrawal symptoms. We only refer to programs we know and trust.

Next, the client will return to us for their treatment. We offer one of the best outpatient drug rehabilitation programs in Arizona. Personalized care is something we specialize in because we know that every patient and every addiction is different.

Many of our clients come to us from all over the country to get treatment. Whether they are traveling for rehab, or they live locally and need additional support, our sober living home offers them a safe place to stay while they recover.


It can be difficult for anyone to recover from cocaine addiction without the right support. But the good news is that they do not have to. We can provide people with the help they need to successfully treat this addiction and go on to live the life they have always dreamed of.

Would you like to learn more about cocaine addiction? Do you have questions about our drug rehab program or about sober living? Please do not hesitate to contact us.



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