Cocaine Addiction

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John Gillen - Last Updated: March 22, 2024

Last reviewed: March 31, 2022 by Dr Alexander Lapa. All information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Cocaine, known as coke, in short, is a recreational drug, categorised as class A for its illegal and harmful characteristics.

While it’s heavily normalised, down to its socially accepted status, cocaine is however a very toxic substance when consumed consistently and excessively.

Like any drug, some individuals can consume cocaine irregularly, without a lasting impact. Others will be exposed to cocaine at a greater rate, recognised as cocaine abuse.

However, down to the short-term euphoria that it offers, a high proportion of users continue to chase the assets of cocaine, enabling the formation of cocaine addiction.

Unfortunately, cocaine is normalised, meaning that the threat of such addiction is perceived as low. We’ve witnessed cocaine transition through generations, where users are now becoming younger and younger, meaning that the scope for long-term consumption and such consequences is even greater.

While such risk may be seen as low, we at Rehab Clinics Group know how damaging the drug actually is, down to the rate of cocaine addiction diagnoses across the globe, in tandem with how many individuals require drug rehab.

If you’re struggling with your cocaine consumption, no matter how chronic, help is available through treatment and support.

The use of cocaine should be destabilised. Living with a cocaine addiction can in fact be life-limiting, the very opposite to living.

Understand the severity of cocaine use disorder, along with avoiding the risks of drug addiction with our support.


Cocaine As A Normalised, Addictive Drug

Sadly, there’s a likelihood that you will know of someone who misuses cocaine. Whether you have noticed subtle signs of cocaine abuse or significant addiction, cocaine addiction is a serious condition. That may in fact be you, standing as the reason why you’re here on our website.

Over the years, cocaine has been the drug of choice for many, down to the highs that it produces, down to its accessibility, and down to the glamorised image that it’s built up.

However, glamour in fact describes the opposite of cocaine, as it’s an addictive and dangerous drug when abused.

Down to such normalisation, high consumption levels are seen as the norm, side effects are seen as the norm, withdrawal symptoms are seen as the norm, and overdose risks are seen as the norm; all attached to cocaine abuse.

The sad reality is, is that many individuals turn to cocaine for the strong effects it offers, without knowledge of the realism of a cocaine dependency.

Yet, at this point, once the short but strong highs continue to be chased, physical and psychological cocaine addiction will develop, making it extremely difficult to break away from its traits.

Cocaine induces the vicious cycle of addiction with ease, as the euphoric feelings it provides differentiate it from other illicit drugs.

Yet such a false sense of security in a time of need for a user can turn their worlds upside down, with the rapid formation of cocaine addiction.

Destabilising cocaine should be the aim. Yet, in the meantime, showing those who are suffering a way out is very important, to treat and manage a cocaine use disorder.


Cocaine, The Body & The Mind

The reason that cocaine is highly addictive is linked to the impacts that it has on both the body and brain.

While short-term consumption can be digested, long-term consumption or even consistent consumption to that matter can cause internal adaptations to accommodate the makeup of cocaine.

Once cocaine enters the body, it impacts the reward receptors in the brain. The reward system controls emotions and responses to rewarding stimuli, which if exposed to, will produce happy chemicals.

However, with cocaine, dopamine is induced artificially, which can cause an organic block of production.

As such feelings can therefore only be felt through cocaine exposure, ongoing consumption is activated, increasing the risk of addiction.

The body will also develop tolerance through this process, which will influence continuous cravings of greater cocaine, in order to feel fulfilled.

While such adaptations will not occur to every individual who abuses cocaine, as some will have pre-existing vulnerabilities to addictive behaviours, the current normalised habits of cocaine abuse do pose significant risks of addiction.

To put this into perspective, on average, 900,000 people consume cocaine, where 20% will become dependent on the drug through ongoing exposure.

As normalisation continues, it’s concerning to see how cocaine abuse, as a trend, can advance.


The Risks Of Cocaine Overdose

There are many long-term implications of drug abuse, with a focus on dual diagnosis risks, physical health pressures on vital organs and systems, cognitive impairment and malnourishment, low immunity and weakened wellbeing.

Such implications can be irreversible in some cases, especially when considering the likes of cardiac arrest, neurological changes and suicidal risks.

Further implications focus on the priority that cocaine can take when an addiction is present, making it difficult to lead a normal life, with normal responsibility and normal relationships.

However, a prevalent concern is the risk of cocaine overdose. Overdoses are associated with cocaine abuse as users tend to consume large quantities back-to-back to fulfil cravings.

However, as it’s a stimulant, the body can be aggravated to a point where signs of overdose and of shock are experienced. Symptoms of such implications include seizures, psychosis, excessively high temperature and tremors.

Treatment can help to revert the effects of a cocaine overdose, and subsequently further implications of cocaine use disorder (CUD). However, recovery cannot be guaranteed down to how aggressively cocaine interacts with both the body and brain.


Treating Cocaine Use Disorder (CUD)

Treating a cocaine dependency or addiction is possible, even when a chronic cycle is present. In fact, treatment is encouraged as soon as possible to reduce the risk of common implications.

Here at Rehab Clinics Group, we advocate safe and effective cocaine addiction treatment, to help work through the causation of consumption, through side effects and through potential implications.

Withdrawal will be necessary, as will therapy to work through the trauma of addiction. Planning ahead with relapse prevention, exposure therapy and wellbeing management will also be key to recovering.

While cocaine can motivate addictive behaviours rapidly, great time and care must be invested into recovery, to ensure that relapse risks are low. We can assist with this, to reduce the desirability of cocaine abuse.

Cocaine itself is a lethal drug that has unfortunately been accepted by society. Do not allow the acceptance of others to deter your future through a cocaine addiction. Take control with our guidance throughout a cocaine rehabilitation programme.



Picture of John Gillen

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: March 22, 2024

John Gillen is a leading addiction recovery expert with over 15 years of experience in his field. He also co-authored the best-selling book "The Secret Disease of Addiction".

Dr Alexander Lapa - Psychiatrist & Clinical Reviewer for Rehab Clinics Group

Dr Alexander Lapa - Clinical Reviewer - Last reviewed: March 31, 2022

MBBS, PG Dip Clin Ed, OA Dip CBT, OA Dip Psychology, SCOPE Certified

Dr Lapa graduated in Medicine in 2000 and since this time has accrued much experience working in the widest range of psychiatric settings with differing illness presentations and backgrounds in inpatient, community and secure settings. This has been aligned to continuation of professional development at postgraduate level in clinical research which has been very closely related to the everyday clinical practice conducted by this practitioner as a NHS and Private Psychiatrist.
He is fully indemnified by the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) and MIAB Expert Insurance for Psychiatric and Private Medical practice. He is fully registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK with a licence to practice.

Dr Lapa is approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act (1983)

Member of Independent Doctors Federation (IDF), British Association for Psychopharmacology (BMA) and The Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO)

Dr Lapa’s extensive experience has also concentrated on the following areas of clinical practice:
– Assessment, Diagnosis and Pharmacological Treatment for Adults with ADHD.
– Drug and Alcohol Dependency and maintaining abstinence and continued recovery
– Intravenous and Intramuscular Vitamin and Mineral Infusion Therapy
– Dietary and Weight Management and thorough care from assessment to treatment to end goals and maintenance
– Aesthetic Practice and Procedures