FAQs About Cocaine Addiction Symptoms & signs of cocaine use

Before delving into the cocaine addiction treatment process and how to find treatment, we want to go over a number of frequently asked questions about the use of this drug. Click on any of the questions below to see our answer to that specific inquiry:

What Are Cocaine's Long-Term Effects on the Brain?

With repeated use, cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward system as well as other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. Tolerance to cocaine also often develops with repeated use.

Many long-term cocaine abusers report that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first exposure. Some users will increase their dose in an attempt to intensify and prolong their high, but this can also increase the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.

What Are Signs of Cocaine Use?

Repeated, sustained use of cocaine can cause some extended effects, both short and long-term. It is important to recognize these signs if you believe a loved one, or yourself, might be struggling with addiction.

Signs of abuse are:

(Short Term Signs of Cocaine Use)

  • excitability
  • dilated pupils
  • runny nose
  • white power reside around nose/mouth
  • burn marks on hands and lips
  • boost in confidence
  • talkative habits

(Long Term Signs of Cocaine Use)

  • mood swings
  • risky behavior
  • changes in sleep habits
  • deterioration in hygiene
  • financial difficulties

Signs of cocaine use grow with addiction and abuse. It becomes more clear that the user may have a serious problem as time drags on and the use becomes more abundant in an effort to achieve a bigger, better high.

What Types of Health Issues Can Arise from Cocaine Use?

Some effects of cocaine depend on the method of taking it. Regular snorting of cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of the sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness and a chronically runny nose.

Ingesting cocaine by the mouth can cause severe bowel gangrene as a result of reduced blood flow. Injecting cocaine can bring about severe allergic reactions and increased risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C and other bloodborne diseases.

Do Cocaine Users Develop Any Mental Health Issues?

Binge-patterned cocaine use may lead to irritability, restlessness and anxiety. Cocaine abusers can also experience severe paranoia – a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis – in which they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations.

Cocaine is more dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol (known as polydrug use). For example, the combination of cocaine and heroin (referred to as a “speedball”) carries a particularly high risk of fatal overdose.

Do Cocaine Users Develop Any Mental Health Issues?

Young adults tend to use cocaine along with other substances like ecstasy or MDMA, LSD and methamphetamine when in party environments. As many as 14 to 15 percent of young adults have admitted to using and mixing cocaine and MDMA to heighten their energy and increase excitement in social occasions.

Alcohol is also often used with cocaine to enhance its effects and reduce unpleasant symptoms of coming down from a cocaine high.

What Are the Dangers of Mixing Cocaine with Other Drugs?

Cocaine can inflict short-term and long-term damage on the body when used by itself, but combining it with other drugs such as alcohol or ecstasy leads to even more dangers. Using cocaine alongside either alcohol or ecstasy not only increases the number of short-term health risks associated with both substances, but also increases the chances of overdose and long-term health consequences.

Combining alcohol and cocaine forces the liver to produce a chemical called cocaethylene, which can damage the liver itself, as well as the cardiovascular system. This chemical is also related to sudden death.

Cocaine and heroin can be particularly devastating together because they create a contrasting effect – making it difficult for users to feel the impact of how much they are taking before they overdose.

Where in the U.S. Is Cocaine Most Commonly Abused?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that the Northeast and the West Coast regions in the U.S. have the highest rates of cocaine abuse. New Jersey, California and Washington D.C. are areas where cocaine abuse is most prevalent.

No matter where you live in the country, you’re invited to take our online quiz to determine if your substance use has led to addiction and if you should seek treatment:

Take the ‘Am I Addicted?’ Quiz

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in your system?

Cocaine and its breakdown chemicals may remain in the body for three days or longer in situations of long-term abuse. The drug’s presence in the body is measured by determining the length of time it takes for the substance’s concentration in the blood to be decreased by half, which is estimated to be 1.5 hours.

However, urine is used to detect the presence of cocaine in drug tests, which means cocaine’s urine-elimination half-life is also a relevant measurement factor.

Some factors influence the length of which cocaine might stay in the body:

  • The dose
  • Frequency of use
  • when you last used
  • Urine ph
  • concentration of urine
  • kidney or impairment of the liver
  • body mass

How Is Cocaine Detected in the Body?

While cocaine’s urine-elimination half-life is estimated to be 19 hours, cocaine’s breakdown products have a longer half-life, ranging from 15 to 52 hours after the last use of the drug.

Detectable amounts of cocaine inside your body depend heavily on how long you have been using the drug, how much of the substance you have taken, and the functionality of your liver. The type of test you take can also make a difference.

These tests can identify cocaine within the body, all of which have specific identification duration times:

  • Urine tests can detect the presence of cocaine two to three days after the drug’s last use, and within two weeks for regular cocaine users.
  • Blood tests and saliva samples can identify cocaine anywhere between 12 and 48 hours after the last use.
  • Sweat samples can detect cocaine in the body for several weeks after the last use.
  • Hair samples can identify cocaine several months to years after the user’s last dose.

Urine testing is usually the chosen method because it is a non-invasive testing procedure and has a wider identification window when compared to blood or saliva tests.

What Are the Potential Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms | additional signs of cocaine use?

The withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine detox can range from mildly uncomfortable to completely agonizing. The most frequently seen symptoms of withdrawal are:

  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Insomnia
  • Impaired cognitive functioning
  • Muscle pain and aches
  • Cravings for more cocaine
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Chills
  • Anxiety and panic attacks

What Are the Slang Terms for Cocaine?

Among the many slang terms used to reference cocaine, some of the most common are:

  • Blow
  • Nose
  • Snow
  • C
  • Coke
  • Freeze
  • Nose candy
  • Baking soda
  • Powder
  • Freeze
  • 8-ball
  • Base
  • Crack (in free-base form)
  • Key
  • Pif
  • Flake
  • Yayo

What Are Some Holistic Self-Help Remedies for Cocaine Recovery?

Although inpatient treatment is highly recommended to overcome cocaine addiction, there are several holistic techniques individuals should use during and after rehab, including meditation and increasing protein and omega-3 intake.


Research has shown that meditation can be instrumental in cocaine treatment and recovery because it can help individuals become more aware of their emotions and thinking patterns.

This awareness can decrease the psychological and societal triggers of substance abuse, both of which are closely associated to relapse.


Since cocaine use burns the neurotransmitters in the brain, a diet full of protein is exactly what the recovering body needs to rebuild itself and repair the mind, stabilizing itself for long-term recovery.


Omega-3 fatty acids can strengthen the body during recovery from cocaine use and protect your cells and tissues from any additional stress.