Six Signs of Cocaine Addiction

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Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that is derived from the coca plant native to South America. For many years, cocaine has been a popular drug of abuse. Unfortunately, cocaine is extremely habit-forming, causing many individuals to develop an addiction after only one use.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1.9% (or about 5.2 million) people ages 12 and older reported using cocaine in the past 12 months.[1]

Cocaine addiction is a dangerous condition to struggle with, as many individuals face life-threatening consequences after repeated use of the substance. Individuals addicted to cocaine must attend a professional drug rehab program to recover from the causes and effects of their substance abuse. However, spotting the signs of cocaine addiction can be tricky. This is because many individuals attempt to hide their addictions to cocaine.

What are the Top Six Signs of Cocaine Addiction?

While many people attempt to hide their addiction to cocaine, eventually the effects of the drug make this difficult. Because cocaine is a stimulant drug, it is common for individuals to behave erratically and have an abundance of energy. Once the effects of cocaine wear off, the individual will experience a “crash”. In other words, after their period of intense wakefulness, they may experience fatigue and low energy.

Here are six signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction.

1. Drug Paraphernalia

The most common method of cocaine use is snorting. The individual must chop up their cocaine to create a fine, powdery substance that is suitable to snort. Individuals use straws or rolled-up dollar bills to snort their cocaine. Additionally, the residue of cocaine may be visible on surfaces around the individual’s home. If someone is using cocaine, there may be white, powdery residue on bathroom counters, bedside tables, or coffee tables.

Types of drug paraphernalia associated with cocaine abuse include:

  • Razor blades
  • Small plastic bags
  • Straws
  • Rolled up dollar bills
  • Pen caps
  • Powdery residue on surfaces in the home

2. Dramatic Changes in Mood

Cocaine is a stimulant so it often makes people feel happy, excited, talkative, and confident. However, a user’s mood can quickly change from happy and confident to anxious, paranoid, and aggressive. As a result, one of the most common signs of cocaine addiction is extreme and rapid mood swings.

Cocaine affects the limbic system in the brain, causing a short-term buildup of dopamine in an individual’s system.[2] The user will feel extremely euphoric and energized for a short period of time after ingesting the drug. Cocaine wears off pretty quickly, causing a rapid “crash” characterized by fatigue, depression, and lethargy. These symptoms can be marked by mood swings.

3. Rapid Weight Loss

Cocaine is known for its appetite-suppressing qualities. On top of that, cocaine provides individuals with high levels of energy. When high energy levels and a low appetite are combined, individuals tend to lose weight quickly. This is why rapid weight loss could be a sign of cocaine addiction.

4. Social Isolation

Cocaine addiction tends to cause issues in every area of an individual’s life. When someone is suffering from an addiction to cocaine, they usually attempt to hide it from their friends and family. However, their behaviors may become too difficult to conceal. This causes individuals to avoid spending time with their friends and family to avoid being caught. Therefore, social isolation and avoiding loved ones are major signs of cocaine addiction.

5. New Health Issues

Cocaine addiction causes an array of negative physical and mental health effects. One of the early health effects of cocaine abuse is frequent nosebleeds. This is because the users may repeatedly snort cocaine and irritate the nasal passages.

Other health issues related to cocaine addiction include:[3]

  • Nosebleeds and chronic inflammation of the nose
  • Damage to the heart and lungs
  • Strokes, heart attacks, seizures, and convulsions
  • Gastrointestinal issues like ulcers
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Overdose

6. Symptoms of Withdrawal

When someone is addicted to any substance, their body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug. This is known as dependency. If the individual stops taking the drug, their body will exhibit symptoms of withdrawal. Cocaine addiction is known to produce symptoms of withdrawal similar to other stimulant drugs.

The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Increased appetite
  • Agitation or paranoia
  • Depression
  • Vivid dreams or night terrors
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Individuals at risk of experiencing the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal must attend a professional medication-assisted detox program. These programs help individuals safely overcome the symptoms of withdrawal and provide them with connections to a professional cocaine rehab program.

cocaine withdrawal symptoms

Finding Help for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can cause devastating effects on an individual’s life, including life-threatening medical conditions. Professional detox and addiction treatment are necessary for anyone struggling with cocaine addiction. If you or a loved one are showing signs of cocaine addiction, it’s time to get help. Call now to speak with a dedicated admissions coordinator about getting the help you deserve.



Medically Reviewed: January 26, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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