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What to do when a Loved One is Addicted to Cocaine?

Cocaine is commonly found in two main forms: powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Powder cocaine is a white crystalline powder that is typically snorted, ingested, or dissolved and injected, while crack cocaine is a crystallized form of cocaine that is usually smoked.

Navigation: Drug Abuse Effects: What Happens When You Take Cocaine?, Adverse Effects of Cocaine Use, What to do if a Loved One is Addicted to Coke, Signs that a Person is Addicted to Cocaine, Cocaine Addiction Treatment, Rehab Is Your Best Chance


Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is often called the “caviar of street drugs”. Derived from the coca plant, this drug affects the central nervous system, inducing euphoria and other short-lived effects like increased energy and alertness. It is highly addictive and can cause a range of negative health consequences.

Cocaine is commonly found in two main forms: powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Powder cocaine is a white crystalline powder that is typically snorted, ingested, or dissolved and injected, while crack cocaine is a crystallized form of cocaine that is usually smoked.

Prolonged and heavy use of cocaine can lead to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular issues, neurological effects, respiratory problems, and mental health disorders. Because of its high potential for abuse, it is illegal in most countries. Street names for cocaine include “blow,” “coke,” and “crack”.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for the year 2019, an estimated 2 million people in the US aged 12 or older had a cocaine use disorder in the past year.

Here we will talk about cocaine abuse and addiction, as well as how you can help a loved one who is addicted to cocaine.


Drug Abuse Effects: What Happens When You Take Cocaine?

Cocaine acts in the brain’s reward center, the same areas of the brain that reward behaviors such as sex, eating, and pleasure. When a person takes cocaine, this area is stimulated, creating an intense high and a powerful craving that urges them to take more cocaine.

Upon ingestion, cocaine rapidly enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain. This leads to an intense rush of euphoria and increased confidence, often referred to as a “high.” The person may feel more energetic, talkative, and social. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, and pupils dilate.

With repeated use comes tolerance, which means the person now has to take even larger doses just to experience the same effects. This is how cocaine users eventually develop drug dependence and addiction.

It’s important to keep in mind that no amount of cocaine is considered safe.

The method of administration may influence the speed at which cocaine produces its effects. Injecting cocaine directly into your bloodstream will produce effects almost immediately. Taking it through your nasal passages will produce fast-acting effects.

After the high, users often “crash”. This is a period of intense physical and psychological exhaustion that occurs after the effects of cocaine wear off. Aside from this crash, cocaine also produces other intense effects within the body. In some cases, cocaine abuse leads to sudden death as the drug damages the brain, heart, blood vessels, and lungs.


Adverse Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine produces short-lived euphoria, increased energy, and heightened alertness. However, these benefits are most certainly not worth it in the long run, as cocaine produces severe mental and physical effects.

The intense euphoria experienced while on cocaine is short-lived, often lasting only about 15-30 minutes. After this, the effects start to wear off, and the person may experience a “crash”. This crash is characterized by feelings of depression, fatigue, and a strong craving for more cocaine. This cycle of highs and crashes can contribute to addiction.

Cocaine use can lead to a range of short-term physical effects, including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, decreased appetite, and increased body temperature. Some people may also experience tremors, muscle twitches, and hyperactivity.

Cocaine can also affect a person’s mental state. While they may feel more alert and awake, this can also lead to restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and paranoia. Additionally, cocaine use can impair judgment and decision-making. In the long run, this contributes to addiction because the person is unable to control their intake.

Prolonged and frequent cocaine use can have severe negative consequences on both physical and mental health. It can lead to cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, and hypertension.

If snorted, cocaine use can also damage the nasal septum and lead to respiratory issues.

Taking too much cocaine can result in one of the most dangerous effects of cocaine, which is an overdose. This can be life-threatening, so it is important to seek medical treatment immediately if a family member experiences symptoms like chest pain, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, extreme restlessness, confusion, seizures, and coma.

As we all know, cocaine is highly addictive. Addiction is characterized by the inability to control or limit your intake even when you are already experiencing the drug’s adverse effects. It is a medical condition that refers to the compulsive desire to take cocaine despite the consequences.

An inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment program may help an addicted individual regain their sobriety and learn healthy coping mechanisms to stay sober.

What to do if a Loved One is Addicted to Coke

If you suspect or know that a loved one is addicted to cocaine, it’s important to approach the situation with care, understanding, and support. Dealing with addiction can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to help your loved one get the assistance they need.

First, you need to educate yourself. Learn about cocaine addiction, its effects, and the treatment options available. Understanding the science behind addiction can help you approach the situation with empathy and knowledge. It will also help you eliminate any personal biases against people with addiction.

Unfortunately, this is still necessary today as addicted individuals still face stigma. This prevents them from seeking the treatment that they need.

Once you know enough to support your loved one, express your concern in a non-confrontational and non-judgmental manner. Choose a time when they are sober and when you can have a private conversation. While speaking to them, make sure you listen actively to their thoughts, feelings, and problems. Be a good listener and try to understand their perspective, even if you disagree.

Let your loved one know that you are there for them and that you support their recovery journey. Offer encouragement and remind them that seeking help is a sign of strength. Suggest that they seek professional help from a healthcare provider, counselor, therapist, or addiction specialist. You can even offer to help them find resources or accompany them to appointments.

While offering your support, you need to make sure that you draw the line between support and enabling. You need to make it clear that you will not enable their addiction. Even though it’s hard to watch them suffer from their condition, you cannot keep providing money, making excuses for their behavior, or participating in activities that revolve around drug use if you want to help them get sober.

Set clear boundaries with your loved one. Let them know what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Stick to these boundaries and communicate them consistently.

In the long run, enabling their behavior will only keep them addicted. Make sure it is clear to them what will happen if they refuse to receive addiction treatment. Be prepared to follow through on these consequences.

In some cases, a formal intervention may be necessary. This involves a group of loved ones gathering to express their concerns and encourage the individual to seek treatment.

There are various treatment options for cocaine addiction, including outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation programs, counseling, support groups, and medications. A healthcare professional can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on your loved one’s condition.

Finally, taking care of yourself is essential. Supporting someone with an addiction can be emotionally draining, so make sure you are actively taking care of yourself and making healthy decisions. Engage in activities that help you manage stress and build your own support network so you can freely express your feelings and worries.

Recovery is a process that takes time. Be patient and understanding as your loved one goes through their journey. If your loved one’s addiction poses an immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call emergency services or a crisis helpline.

Remember that you can offer support, but ultimately, the decision to seek help and recover lies with the individual. It’s important to strike a balance between being supportive and respecting their autonomy.

Signs that a Person is Addicted to Cocaine

Cocaine addiction can have serious physical, psychological, and social consequences. If you suspect that someone may be addicted to cocaine, it’s important to look for signs and behaviors that could indicate a problem.

Keep in mind that addiction can vary from person to person, and not all of these signs may be present. That said, there are several signs and symptoms to watch out for.

For starters, taking cocaine in the first place should be considered worrisome behavior. No amount of cocaine is considered safe, so anyone taking cocaine may already be addicted. Remember that this is a powerful stimulant drug. You can get addicted after trying it for the first time.

If you’re aware that the person takes cocaine, the person may be addicted if they are taking it more frequently and in larger amounts. They may have intense cravings for cocaine and may spend a significant amount of time thinking about using it.

For an addicted person, the drug becomes their biggest priority. They will spend most of their time thinking about it, trying to obtain it, taking it, and then recovering from its effects. In the process, they will begin to neglect work, school, and their other responsibilities. They may even suffer from financial problems due to their excessive cocaine abuse. Some even resort to borrowing or stealing to support their habit.

They may engage in risky activities while under the influence of cocaine, such as unprotected sex or driving under the influence. It’s even possible that their cocaine use disorder may get them in trouble with the law as this drug is illegal.

The inability to control or reduce cocaine use, even when wanting to quit or cut down is a clear sign of addiction. Trying to quit or cut down on cocaine use multiple times without success is also a sign of addiction.

Physical symptoms to look out for include: dilated pupils, increased energy, restlessness, excessive talking, and increased heart rate. You may also notice changes in their physical appearance and hygiene as personal grooming and self-care become less of a priority for them.

There are also psychological symptoms to watch out for such as frequent and intense mood swings, ranging from euphoria to irritability, anxiety, and depression. Addiction and mental illness frequently co-occur, so watch out for signs of mental health disorders as well.

If you believe someone is struggling with cocaine addiction, it’s important to encourage them to seek help from a medical professional, counselor, therapist, or addiction specialist. Addiction is a serious condition that often requires professional intervention and support.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Cocaine addiction is a serious and complex condition that often requires a comprehensive treatment approach. Treatment for cocaine addiction usually involves a combination of behavioral therapies, counseling, support groups, and sometimes medications.

Here are some common approaches to cocaine addiction treatment:

Behavioral Therapies: Different types of behavioral therapies can be effective in treating cocaine addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, and motivational enhancement therapy are among the approaches that have shown positive results. These therapies help patients identify and change negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, and reinforce positive behaviors.

Counseling: Individual and group counseling sessions are often a key part of addiction treatment. Counseling can help people address underlying psychological issues, develop life skills, and learn healthier ways to cope with stress and triggers.

Support Groups: Participation in support groups, such as Cocaine Anonymous (CA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide recovering individuals with a sense of community and understanding. These groups follow a 12-step program and offer a supportive environment for sharing experiences and receiving guidance from others in recovery.

Medications: While there are currently no FDA-approved medications specifically for the treatment of cocaine addiction, research is ongoing to identify potential medications that may be helpful in reducing cravings and managing withdrawal symptoms. Some medications used for other purposes, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, may be prescribed to address co-occurring mental health issues.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Many individuals with cocaine addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment involves addressing both the addiction and the underlying mental health issues simultaneously.

Contingency Management: This approach provides tangible rewards for drug-free urine tests and other positive behaviors. It can help reinforce abstinence and motivate patients to stay drug-free.

Holistic Therapies: Some treatment centers incorporate holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, and mindfulness practices. These activities can promote relaxation, stress reduction, and emotional well-being.

Family Involvement: Involving family members in the treatment process can be valuable, as it helps improve communication, address family dynamics, and create a supportive environment for recovery.

The best treatment facilities use a personalized treatment approach to address a patient’s specific needs. After all, addiction affects everyone differently. Look for a rehab center near you today to learn more about addiction treatment for cocaine addiction. Get started on the road to recovery today.

Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.


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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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