Cocaine Addiction

The Harmful Effects Of Cocaine

As a young college student, Jessica (not her real name) started to sell small quantities of cocaine here and there to help pay her bills. She didn’t see the harm: she was not using herself, and the tiny amounts she was selling were not exactly keeping the drug industry alive. She was not even a drop in the cocaine supply pool.

It didn’t take long for her occasional selling to become a very lucrative business for her. She was able to finance her college tuition, plus cover her rent and living expenses – and still have plenty of money left. But then, when she became involved with one of her customers, it all came crashing down. 

For the first time, she started to use the drugs she was selling: within a year, she had abandoned her studies, her friends, and all of her interests. Her supplier, fed up with not being paid, dragged money out of her and then cut her off. She was evicted for not paying rent, and after a brief stint living with an abusive boyfriend, she ended up alone on the streets, relying on prostitution for survival.

Jessica’s story may be unique – all stories about drug addiction are – but what many of these stories have in common is how quickly the lives of the addicts fall apart.

It is sometimes said that in order for a cocaine addict to get help, they have to reach rock bottom. But this is a dangerous stance because, for many people, rock bottom means death. The sooner we can reach an addict and help them get into a program of cocaine addiction treatment, the better. Because the longer it is left, the more damage can be done.

Harm #1: Cocaine Is Extremely Addictive

Cocaine Is Extremely Addictive
What makes cocaine appealing to its users is that it generates a rush of energy and euphoria within moments of consumption. All of a sudden, fatigued people have the energy to get through a busy day, and those with social anxiety have the confidence to not only endure but actually enjoy a party.

The problem is that these effects are short-lived, and users are driven to consume more cocaine in order to recreate those feelings. But in order to achieve the same levels of euphoria and high energy, higher doses of the drug have to be taken, with less time between doses.

Harm #2: Cocaine Damages Physical And Mental Health

Even short-term use of cocaine can cause a lot of damage. It raises the body temperature and constricts the blood vessels, causing the heart rate to shoot up. If a large dose is taken, the user may start to act erratically. Uncharacteristic violent behaviour is sometimes attributed to the feelings of panic and paranoia that often come with cocaine use.

Those who use cocaine regularly over an extended period of time are at risk of several damaging effects, including the following:

  • A tendency to neglect nutrition, resulting in rapid weight loss, increased propensity for illness, and organ failure
  • Damage specific to the method of ingestion: damage to nasal tissues (snorting); lung damage and an increased risk of respiratory complaints (smoking); track lines, collapsed veins and risk of infection from shared needles (intravenous use)
  • Cardiac risks: elevated heart rate; high blood pressure; ruptured blood vessels; stroke; cardiac arrest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Reduced sense of judgment, resulting in potentially risky behaviour without regard for danger
  • Risks during pregnancy: Premature delivery; delivery of babies with low birth weight; delivery of babies born addicted to drugs
  • Cocaine carries a high risk of fatal overdose

Related article: Cocaine Withdrawal: What To Expect

Harm #3: Cocaine Is Not Always Just Cocaine

Because cocaine is an illegal street drug, there is no cocaine available that is legally produced. It is made in laboratories that do not follow any health and safety standards. Furthermore, unscrupulous manufacturers often combine or “cut” the cocaine with other products in order to increase their profits. Some of these additional ingredients – examples include chalk, baking soda and detergent. Not only does this pose additional risks to the user, but it can also be difficult for first responders to treat cases of accidental overdose.

Harm #4: Cocaine Can Ruin All Aspects Of Your Life

Cocaine Can Ruin All Aspects Of Your Life

One thing that cocaine addicts quickly discover is that cocaine use is very expensive to maintain. As we saw in Jessica’s story, cocaine addiction can very quickly lead people down a path of financial devastation. The precise outcomes of this vary from person to person. 

Some addicts are abandoned by loved ones who can no longer tolerate them lying and stealing to support their addiction. Others end up in jail for illegal activity. Divorce, job loss, bankruptcy, and loss of children to the child welfare system are all common outcomes of cocaine addiction.

Harm #5: Cocaine Withdrawal Can Be Dangerous

It is very difficult to stop using cocaine, because the withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable at best, and downright dangerous at worst. Many addicts who try to quit on their own suffer relapses fairly quickly because they just cannot handle the cravings and sensations that happen when the body is suddenly deprived of a substance it has come to rely on.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Intense cravings that may lead to anxious, agitated behaviour
  • A tendency to be exhausted even after mild physical activity
  • Muscle aches, nerve pain, chills and tremors
  • Depression and anxiety, that may be accompanied by suicidal thoughts and actions

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

The sooner an individual gets help, the less damage their cocaine abuse symptoms will ultimately do, and the more likely they will be to repair their relationships and reclaim a life that is positive and productive.

Cocaine addiction treatment starts with medical detox, a process whereby the addict is medically supervised during withdrawal. This keeps them safe and comfortable as the last of the drugs leave the system. 

Detox is followed by a program of cocaine addiction treatment and rehab, during which the addict is guided through the process of exploring areas of their life that may have contributed to the addiction. Addiction treatment varies from person to person and often involves a combination of group, individual and family therapy, along with exercise programs, nutrition coaching, life coaching, creative therapies and other modalities.

What Happened To Jessica?

Jessica’s story has a happy ending. After coming face to face with the frightening probability of her own death, she pulled together the courage to talk to her family. With their help – and after several relapses – she was finally able to achieve lasting sobriety. She is an example of the fact that it is never too late to get help.

Call 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: How to Quit Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine Addiction

Common Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a very addictive substance. As a result, the signs of addiction are easy to spot. However, for people mired in the quagmire that is cocaine addiction, spotting the signs may be difficult. Most of the time, what starts off as a harmless act can quickly spiral into a life-threatening issue with vast consequences in terms of work, relationship and physical health. 

As a controlled substance, cocaine can be classified as a stimulant for the central nervous system. It boosts energy levels while also increasing blood and heart rate levels. In addition, it also floods the system with dopamine, increasing feelings of pleasure. In fact, this attribute is why the signs of cocaine addiction are easy to ignore for an addict. Typically, the focus is always on the pleasure that dopamine brings with the negatives sidelined.

Mostly, the signs that you need cocaine addiction treatment are there regardless of the mode of consumption. Some people snort cocaine. Others choose to smoke crack cocaine or place it in certain orifices. Regardless of which method is used, cocaine addiction comes with severe symptoms.

cocaine addiction

Thankfully, with cocaine addiction treatment, it is possible to get your life back on track. However, you have to be able to recognize the signs of cocaine abuse. This way, you can make a decision on whether to get professional help.

The Signs of Cocaine Abuse To Look For

The symptoms below may be an indicator that you or a loved one is abusing cocaine:

  • Dilated pupils 
  • Constant loss of appetite 
  • Extreme overconfidence 
  • Extreme paranoia 
  • Legal issues due to cocaine use 
  • Issues at work due to indulgence in cocaine 
  • Unpredictable mood swings 
  • Frequently sniffles and a runny nose 
  • Financial problems caused by cocaine-related expenses 
  • Irritability 
  • Depression 


The signs above are easy indicators that it’s time to get cocaine addiction treatment. However, there’s more to it. Another common sign that cocaine usage is getting too much is chest pain. Constant cocaine usage constricts blood vessels. Consequently, this stresses the heart as well as the cardiovascular system. It’s a symptom of cocaine addiction that you need to know. In fact, the risk of getting a heart attack doubles as much as 12 times after you use cocaine.

Cocaine comedown

Another of the recognizable signs of cocaine addiction, a comedown, occurs when you suddenly stop indulging. A comedown is a type of withdrawal. However, since it’s unintentional, getting a quick fix may seem like a simple solution.

Nevertheless, a comedown is often an indication of a bigger problem. Usually, it may mean an increased dependence on cocaine. Some of the common symptoms of a cocaine comedown include feelings of depression, irritability, anxiety and extreme tiredness. Additionally, it comes with really strong cravings. 

Cocaine psychosis

One of the signs that you need cocaine addiction treatment comes in the form of psychotic feelings. Some symptoms of cocaine psychosis include paranoid delusions as well as seeing things that aren’t there. As a frequent user, if you or a loved one notices that you’re hearing things that are not there, it may be time to find where to get cocaine addiction treatment.

Cocaine psychosis is very real. Studies show that as many as 68% of cocaine abusers experience this condition. Usually, it is associated with severe dependence as well as taking higher doses of the substance.

Symptoms of cocaine abuse by snorting

The most common method of using cocaine, snorting the substance comes with its own set of telltale signs. Therefore, if you’re worried that you or a friend may be doing cocaine, here are symptoms to look out for.

  • Nosebleeds 
  • A runny nose 
  • Loss of the ability to smell (temporarily)
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Frequent cold-like symptoms

Mostly, these symptoms are caused by chemicals added to the substance by dealers. In the same vein, it constricts nasal blood vessels, cutting off vital oxygen supply. 

Related article: The Harmful Effects Of Cocaine

What are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Addiction?

If you are wondering whether to get expert cocaine addiction treatment near you, perhaps knowledge about the long-term effects can serve as a pointer. Some of them include:

  • Weight loss
  • Severe malnourished look 
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Movement issues that resemble Parkinson’s disease 
  • Damage to vital organs 
  • Reproductive problems

A good number of the long-term effects of cocaine addiction are internal. As a result, they are not a great pointer to the signs of cocaine abuse. However, the threat is very real. In addition to the above, cocaine can cause a serious increase in blood pressure. Furthermore, it may thicken vital muscles thereby increasing the possibility of heart failure.

What are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?

Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal

When people that are addicted to cocaine run out of the drug for one reason or the other, they experience what is known as withdrawal. Cocaine withdrawal is caused because the body is craving the euphoric feelings of a high. Majorly, it comes with irritability, mood swings and depression.

Other symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include the following: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Tremors 
  • Hunger 
  • Intense cravings 
  • Sleeping issues 
  • Issues focusing on tasks 
  • Thinking delays 

Severe withdrawal symptoms are a part of the signs of cocaine abuse. In addition, they can lead to dangerous health issues and problems. Therefore, it is critical not to go it alone. The best option is to seek expert assistance from addiction treatment professionals near you.

How To Get Expert Help For Cocaine Addiction

As mentioned earlier, the best way to get rid of cocaine addiction is to seek expert help. Addiction experts can use a wide variety of treatment techniques to combat the issue. Contact 1000 Islands Addiction Rehab & Treatment Centre for addiction treatment programs.

Related article: How to Quit Cocaine Addiction