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This page was medically reviewed by Stephanie Chick (FDAP), Senior ATP (Addiction Treatment Programme) Therapist at Priory Hospital North London, in July 2020.

Spotting the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

One-time cocaine use can quickly turn into a pattern of misuse, which can lead to cocaine addiction. As its effects are typically intense yet short-lived, this can result in you taking more to re-experience the high, which in turn can cause your body and mind to become so used to cocaine that you build up a tolerance to it and you could experience serious cocaine addiction symptoms. This tolerance means that you will need to take more cocaine with increasing frequency in order to achieve the desired effects.

The signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction will vary from person to person, and this is the case with all types of substance misuse. However, there are several psychological, physical and behavioural symptoms that have been identified which have shown to be reliable indicators that you may be suffering from cocaine use disorder.

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Signs of Cocaine Addiction

If you recognise the following behaviours in yourself, this may suggest that you have developed a cocaine/coke addiction:

  • You are finding that you have to take more and more of the drug to feel the desired effect
  • If you stop using cocaine or reduce your dosage, you feel agitated, restless and depressed
  • You can’t cut down or control how much you take even if you try to
  • You spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to get cocaine
  • You disregard family, friends and work in favour of taking cocaine
  • You are aware of the damage it is doing to you, but you can’t stop taking it

Behavioural symptoms of cocaine addiction

  • Acting impulsively or with increased energy
  • Attempting to borrow or steal money
  • Being dishonest about your whereabouts, associates and activities
  • Being unable to curtail your cocaine misuse
  • Engaging in reckless and risky behaviours
  • Excessive viewing of porn
  • Engaging with prostitutes/escorts

Psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction

  • Poor decision-making capabilities
  • Restlessness
  • Psychosis
  • Brief state of euphoria
  • Sudden overabundance of confidence
  • Depression, mood swings and Irritability
  • Agitation

Physical symptoms of cocaine addiction

  • Elevated body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Persistent nosebleeds
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bursts of energy
  • Reduced need for sleep or insomnia
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Stroke
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Heart attack
Dr Niall Campbell, a Priory expert, explains why cocaine use has surged

"[people] want to keep using it because of the highs, and then need to keep using it because of the ‘downers’, so cocaine leads to serious addictions"

Read more about Dr Niall Campbell's findings here

Cocaine Withdrawl and Side Effects

Cocaine is addictive and chronic cocaine misuse will cause damage to your mind, body and spirit and, as stated previously, cocaine addiction will affect each person differently. 

When a person’s body adapts to the presence of cocaine, its absence, also known as cocaine withdrawal, may trigger the onset of a variety of distressing physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms, including but not limited to intense cravings for cocaine, nightmares, restlessness and paranoia. 

When excessively using cocaine, stopping can be difficult and the withdrawal and detoxification process can be daunting. When detoxing from cocaine, it is incrediblly important that it's done right. There are ways to detox from cocaine safely to avoid added trauma and stress to the body. Priory offers a medically assisted detoxifcation process for those wanted to ensure the detoxification process is done correctly with minimal risk. A bespoke treatment plan at Priory will often consist of detoxification and psychotherapy, not only helping to remove the drug from your body, but to also work towards continued abstinence once you have completed your treatment programme.     

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding cocaine addiction treatment and rehab and help you regain control of your life free from cocaine, please call 0800 144 8969 or arrange your free addiction assessment.

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For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call 0800 144 8969 or click here to book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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