Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

Easily accessible and relatively affordable, cocaine has become the third most abused drug in the UK, behind alcohol and heroin. We will explain everything you need to know about cocaine addiction, and talk about how you can beat your addiction or get help for someone else experiencing cocaine dependence.

Cocaine Addiction – What It Is and How to Beat It

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that affects your brain and body in multiple ways. Its almost immediate action is part of the drug’s appeal.

Whether snorted, smoked or injected, cocaine enters the bloodstream and quickly reaches the brain, where it acts to block reabsorption of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Instead of being absorbed by nerve cells, these chemical messengers remain active at nerve junctions, triggering continued firing of nerve cells related to positive sensations, causing the ‘ecstatic high’ that users come to associate with cocaine ingestion.

Cocaine abuse is not only dangerous to your health; it can also cost you emotionally, financially and socially, from straining family bonds and destroying relationships to damaging your job prospects and finances. In extreme cases, cocaine dependency can lead to severe, long-term mental health problems.

Beating cocaine addiction is tough, but you can do it. If you are currently struggling to overcome your addiction, the first thing to do is admit that you have a problem and seek professional help. Ask someone you trust to help you during this process. It could be a family member, a loved one or your best friend.

If you suspect that a family member or friend is abusing drugs, you should talk to an intervention specialist in your area. They can help set up an intervention to begin the recovery process for the person affected.

Different Forms of Cocaine

The two most commonly found forms of cocaine are hydrochloride salt and ‘freebase’. While each type has different and specific modes of action and effects, both are dangerous and addictive.

Hydrochloride salt: This is cocaine in powdered form. It is the white crystalline substance commonly seen in pop culture, such as magazine photos, videos and film. The ‘line’ of coke people snort off a mirror is cocaine hydrochloride salt.

Hydrochloride salt is water-soluble, so it can be dissolved in water and taken by injection, or snorted or rubbed onto wet membranes to dissolve in the mucous and cross over into the bloodstream. Cocaine taken in the form of the hydrochloride salt takes longer time to produce physiological and neurological effects than cocaine taken as freebase.

Common street names for powdered hydrochloride salt of cocaine include coke, blow, snow, C and flake.

Freebase cocaine: Freebase is a form of cocaine in which the alkaloid base has not been neutralised with an acid to form a salt; hence the base is said to be ‘free’. Compared to the hydrochloride salt it is much less soluble in water but more stable at higher temperatures, so that it can be smoked. It is also better at crossing the blood-brain barrier, so that its stimulating and euphoric effects can be felt much faster – within ten seconds of inhaling. Freebase cocaine also tends to be relatively free of impurities and additives often found in the hydrochloride salt, which, along with its fast action and high potency, makes it more appealing to regular cocaine users, but also more dangerous.

A common type of freebase cocaine is ‘crack‘: cocaine that has been processed from powdered salt into freebase form. The street name derives from the crackling sound it makes when smoked. To remove the hydrochloride and transform it from salt to base, dealers usually heat it with baking soda, ammonia and water. It’s quite inexpensive to make or buy, and this helps to make it popular on the street.

Both forms of cocaine pose severe risks. Besides being highly addictive, cocaine can affect the heart and respiratory organs, and can also damage the structure of the brain.

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

If you suspect a loved one or friend of being a user, early recognition can help you to intervene to prevent them from becoming dependent on the drug. Some common signs of cocaine abuse are easily recognised, but other symptoms may not obvious. If you are a user, you should be aware of symptoms and warning signs that indicate your levels of use are dangerous. The following are typical signs of cocaine use:

  • Increased agitation
  • Loud demonstrative enthusiasm
  • Disinhibition
  • Unnecessary hyperactivity
  • Common cold symptoms – such as sniffing or nose bleeds
  • Frequent loss of concentration and focus

Cocaine abuse can damage heart muscle. People who inject cocaine often suffer from inflammation of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis). Prolonged cocaine use can also cause kidney damage.

Even people who regard themselves as ‘recreational users’ may be at risk of neurological changes that impact their lives. Many recreational cocaine users suffer decreased ability to control and regulate behaviour, poor motor coordination, diminished response to environmental stimuli and problems completing simple, everyday activities.

A nation addicted: Cocaine – Britain’s deadly habit

According to a recent survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Britons are among the world’s largest users of cocaine, lying in fourth place in the global rankings, behind countries such as Albania and the US. In England and Wales, 2.25% of those aged 16 – 59 years have used the drug. Government figures for 2014/15 show that in Scotland the rate was 2.34%, and in Northern Ireland it was 1.8%.

Findings submitted to the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drugs Addiction (EMCDDA) by the UK government show that while usage rates for most class A drugs have increased by only relatively small amounts, the number of cocaine users has soared.

What are the Causes and Effects of Cocaine Abuse?

We provide reliable information and resources that help substance abusers – and their friends and family – to overcome their habits and start a drug-free, healthy life. Our experts have put together materials to help you understand the adverse effects of cocaine use, so you can quit and discourage other potential users.

What causes cocaine abuse? There is no single cause attributed to any type of substance abuse. Studies have implicated causative factors varying from heredity to simple escalation of recreational experiment.

Common factors include:

  • Genetic- You’re at higher risk if a senior family member is a cocaine user
  • Biochemical or neurophysiological disposition – some individuals have brain structure or chemistry that predisposes them to substance abuse
  • Peer pressure and social influences
  • Traumatic experiences that lead to drug abuse
  • Work pressure
  • Unchecked medical dispensations

While cocaine use is often associated with pleasurable effects in the short term, its long term effects are highly deleterious. They include:

  • Personality changes
  • Mood swings and outbursts of anger and poor behaviour
  • Sleeplessness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Legal issues
  • Financial issues
  • Broken relationships and lost friendships
  • Associated health complications; respiratory, heart and kidney diseases
  • Overdose, sometimes leading to death

Psychological signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse

Negative and damaging psychological effects of cocaine abuse can persist for long periods without proper medical care. Regular cocaine users are at high risk of mental health issues, such as:

  • Dependence and depression: The discomfort of not using cocaine causes anxiety and depression that forces users to seek and ingest the drug. You will most likely be moody when you don’t use cocaine.
  • Emotional isolation from family and friends
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations

Addiction treatment teams should always include a mental health professional, as addiction has both physical and psychological components.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine causes a temporary, intense ‘high’ that is quickly followed by the opposite – depressed mood, edginess and a continued craving for the drug.

The following are common, short-term effects of cocaine use:

  • Intense euphoria
  • Increased heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Queasiness
  • Mood swings, violent behaviour and irritability
  • Panic and psychosis
  • Seizures, convulsions and sudden death if there is an overdose

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

As your tolerance for cocaine increases, it becomes necessary to take larger quantities of cocaine to achieve the same level of ‘high. Unfortunately, prolonged use of the drug increases dependence and leads to several dangerous side-effects in the long-term:

  • High blood pressure, leading to heart failure, stroke and death
  • Irreversible damage to the blood vessels of the brain and heart
  • Destruction of nose tissues (for people who snort cocaine)
  • Damage of heart muscle linings
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Liver, kidney and lung complications
  • Heightened risk behaviour
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Depression

How Can You Spot Signs of Cocaine Use by a Loved One?

Given all the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to help anyone you know who is in danger of substance addiction. Cocaine doesn’t only affect the user, but their immediate social circle as well. It can strain friendships, destroy relationships and cost you financially.

One of the first things to do is learn to spot the signs. Some tell-tale signs of cocaine use include:
Extreme mood swings: After using cocaine, the individual is excited and very sociable, but when the drug wears off, they suddenly become hostile and reluctant to engage in conversation. Do you observe such sudden mood swings?

Financial problems: Unlike other street drugs, cocaine use is typically an expensive habit. Users soon run into financial problems. Is your spouse, partner or friend always in need of financial help? Substance abuse also makes it difficult to stay in employment for long.

Physical changes: Cocaine abuse results in changes in the brain, as well as a person’s physical appearance. You may notice certain physical changes in a loved one, ranging from weight loss to chronic nosebleeds, runny nose, frequent ill-health, bowel gangrene and so on.

Mental health signs: It’s not uncommon to notice certain mental health symptoms among cocaine and crack users. Over time, constant use of the drug may lead to anxiety, depression and paranoia.

Cocaine withdrawal signs: When someone is not able to access the drug you may notice withdrawal symptoms, which can include both physical and psychological aspects – a combination that makes detox very difficult if not done under proper medical supervision. Signs of cocaine withdrawal include insomnia, irritability, fatigue, depression and cravings.

If you suspect or confirm that a close friend or loved one is abusing cocaine, it is advisable to help them seek professional assistance rather than letting them attempt to self-detox.

Detox from cocaine dependency is dangerous in an uncontrolled environment.

Risk Factors of Cocaine Use

What are the factors that increase a person’s risk of abusing cocaine? They fall into three main categories:
Social risk factors: These include low socioeconomic status, peer pressure, ease of access to drugs and living in areas with high rates of crime or drug abuse.
Family risk factors: These include poor parental supervision, neglect, extreme or inconsistent discipline, family conflicts and divorce.
Individual risk factors: These range from gender to ethnicity and age (late adolescence is a prime risk age). Although men are more likely to develop a cocaine addiction, women who abuse the drug also suffer from the same psychological and physical effects, as well as family, financial and social problems. However, they are also more likely than men to seek treatment for the problem.

Long-Term Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Long-term signs of cocaine abuse can be easier to detect than short-term ones. The longer someone has been abusing cocaine, the more likely they are to display symptoms, which are more likely to be severe. Common signs of long-term cocaine use include:

  • Inability to fulfil major obligations
  • Poor health condition
  • Easily agitated
  • Have fewer (or no) friends
  • Inability to maintain a job for a long time
  • Regular cravings
  • Withdrawal signs set in faster than before
  • High tolerance; ability to consume larger quantities of the drug

How Cocaine Use Can Lead to Psychosis

A potential severe side effect of drug abuse is psychosis. This is an acute mental health condition, which can include hallucinations, delusions and extreme/ disturbing behaviour. It may be temporary or persist for long periods. In severe cases, psychosis can go on for years – even after you are clean.

Cocaine abuse is associated with a high risk of psychosis. It is strongly addictive, and users tend to binge on it during the weekend or at parties. Heavy consumption generally increases users’ tolerance for the drug, so that they requiring more to achieve the same effect. Heavier consumption increases the risk of psychotic episodes.

Crack cocaine users have a higher risk of psychosis and associated violent behaviour.

Understanding Addiction Cravings

Cravings have physical and psychological components. The psychological component includes learned responses to cocaine use, such as the association between taking cocaine and euphoric sensations, so that simply watching someone else take cocaine can trigger your craving. These are closely related to the physical component, which involves conditioned responses to cocaine use mediated by the way in which addictive drugs change the chemistry of the brain. Addictive drugs subvert the way pleasure is registered in the brain and corrupt the functioning of learning and motivation pathways. Remember that although overcoming this conditioning is difficult, it can be achieved.

Dopamine: The Pleasure Chemical

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, one of the chemical signals that conveys information from one neuron to the next, via the synapses, the tiny gaps between nerve cells. It plays an important role in the pleasure and reward circuits of the brain, and it is key to the way that cocaine abuse affects your brain chemistry.

Cocaine use is associated with increased secretion of dopamine in key ‘reward’ centres of the brain, leading to pleasurable sensations. But in cocaine dependency the brain is conditioned to associate certain stimuli with this dopamine ‘reward’, so that, for instance, a visual trigger such as seeing lines of cocaine in a movie can stimulate the brain to start producing dopamine in anticipation of cocaine use. If you don’t respond to the trigger, neurotransmitter levels drop off precipitously, triggering immediate withdrawal symptoms and thus motivating you to seek out the drug. With the right treatment, you can learn coping strategies to overcome this maladaptive conditioning.

Corticosterone: The Stress Hormone

Corticosterone is a hormone (chemical signal) involved in stress response in the body, which has been shown to play an important role in the physiology of cocaine use. Specifically it may be that having high levels of corticosterone is a risk factor for cocaine abuse because it somehow enhances the effects of the drug. This might mean that exposure to stress can increase vulnerability to cocaine addiction, which in turn may explain why life stress and traumatic experiences are risk factors for cocaine abuse. Rehab treatments seek to mitigate the stress factor, with the rehab environment being kept as relaxing as possible. Mental health experts also seek to treat underlying causes of such stress during therapy.

The Difference between Physiological and Psychological Addiction

Not all addictions are the same. Some are psychological and others physiological. In most cases, however, addiction involves a combination of physiological and psychological components.

Physiological addictions are those that cause mainly physical reactions in the body. Symptoms may vary from nosebleeds to heart muscle problems. Physiological reactions to withdrawal signify that your addiction has physiological components.

Psychological addiction involves cognitive and emotional symptoms, including mental health problems such as paranoia, depression and psychosis. Individuals with psychological addictions are generally antisocial and may have violent outbursts.

It is important to understand the different components of your cocaine addiction so that health care professionals can determine what kinds of treatment will help you.

Cocaine Information

Knowing more about cocaine use can help you get a deeper understanding of the problem of cocaine addiction.

Cocaine Facts and Statistics

The following stats demonstrate some important facts about cocaine and its use in the UK.

  • In the early 19th century, cocaine was easily available for both recreational and commercial use, spurring addiction amongst recreational users. Today it is a controlled substance, used in medicine as an anaesthetic and obtained illegally for recreational use.
  • According to a survey in 2017, Albania has the highest number of cocaine users in the world, followed closely by Scotland. Roughly 1 in 40 Scots (2.4% of the population) use cocaine. The figures are lower in England and Wales, although they are the fourth largest consumers of the drug globally.
  • In the UK, by percentage of the population who have tried it, cocaine (4%) is the second most commonly used illicit drug after cannabis (11.3%). Among UK adults aged 16-59, it is consumed more by males (5.8%) than females (2.2%).
  • Drug-induced death is the fifth most common cause of preventable death amongst people aged 15-49 years in the UK. While heroin is responsible for most drug-induced death, drugs like cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines are also significant causes.

Differentiating between cocaine and crack cocaine

Cocaine is abused in two forms: hydrochloride salt and freebase. The salt is made by neutralising the naturally alkaline cocaine base with acid, to form a powdery crystal that can be ingested through the nose.

Freebase is where the cocaine base is free of a neutralising component. A type of freebase cocaine is crack, made from the hydrochloride salt by heating it with substances such as ammonia and baking soda. Freebase cocaine can be smoked and has more potent and immediate action than the salt, making it more highly sought after by experienced cocaine users, and more dangerous.

Cocaine Addiction Statistics

There is an estimated total of 14 million cocaine consumers around the world. After peaking in the mid-1980s, cocaine use has stabilised in the US and UK over the past decade. A US national survey carried out not too long ago revealed that 13.8% of respondents had used cocaine at some point in their lifetime, 2.3% in the previous year and 1% in the last month. Over 8% of 22-year-olds reportedly used the drug in the past month, the highest of any age category, while 17.3% of male respondents admitted using cocaine at least once in their lifetimes, compared to 10.6% of women.
The risk of cocaine overdose is higher amongst those who inject the drug than those who don’t. People who overdose are more likely to be long-term cocaine users, with higher levels of dependency and experience using other drugs.

Cocaine Addiction: Facts and Treatment Options

Britons are amongst the biggest consumers of cocaine in the world. Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland are individually represented in the top ten countries for cocaine use. Other countries in the top ten are the US, Spain, Australia, Uruguay, Chile, Netherlands and Ireland. Perhaps surprisingly, Colombia ranks only 34th; while it is renowned for production and distribution, a 2013 report revealed that only 0.7% of Colombia’s population use cocaine. Other regions with low levels of cocaine use include Africa and the Middle East.

Cocaine addiction; Epidemiology

There is an estimated total of 14 million cocaine consumers around the world. After peaking in the mid-1980s, cocaine use has stabilised in the US and UK over the past decade. A US national survey carried out not too long ago revealed that 13.8% of respondents had used cocaine at some point in their lifetime, 2.3% in the previous year and 1% in the last month.

Over 8% of 22-year-olds reportedly used the

drug in the past month- the highest of any age category. There is an estimated total of 14 million cocaine consumers around the world. After peaking in the mid-1980s, cocaine use has stabilised in the US and UK over the past decade. A US national survey carried out not too long ago revealed that 13.8% of respondents had used cocaine at some point in their lifetime, 2.3% in the previous year and 1% in the last month. Over 8% of 22-year-olds reportedly used the drug in the past month, the highest of any age category, while 17.3% of male respondents admitted using cocaine at least once in their lifetimes, compared to 10.6% of women.

The risk of cocaine overdose is higher amongst those who inject the drug than those who don’t. People who overdose are more likely to be long-term cocaine users, with higher levels of dependency and experience using other drugs.


Cocaine is a white, bitter-tasting, odourless, crystalline drug, although its precise presentation depends on whether it is in salt or freebase form (see above). It is classified as a Schedule II drug in the US and a Class A drug in the UK, because of its highly addictive property. Cocaine is produced by extracting and refining psychoactive alklaloids from the Coca plant.

Cocaine Addiction; Co-occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are those where two or more different disorders present in the same individual; for instance, if someone has a substance abuse disorder and also suffers from a mental health problem. This may also be referred to as comorbidity, dual diagnosis or dual disorders (although more than two disorders may be present).

It’s quite common for cocaine addicts to suffer from other substance-related problems as well as other types of disorders. Common co-occurring disorders associated with cocaine abuse include:

  • Alcohol abuse: the most common form of co-occurring substance-use disorder
  • Benzodiazepine abuse
  • Cannabis abuse
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Adult onset attention deficit disorder

What are the Effects of Cocaine Withdrawal and Overdose?

As with other addictive substances, withdrawal from cocaine is immediately followed by severe side-effects. In cases of unsupervised withdrawal and/ or without professional medical supervision, withdrawal can be dangerous.

Cocaine withdrawal is what happens when an addict suddenly reduces or stops using cocaine altogether, resulting in a series of physical and psychological consequences that make the withdrawal process distressing, difficult and potentially dangerous.

Physical symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

Physical symptoms

  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Seizures
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Severe cravings
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • High fever

Psychological symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucination
  • Insomnia

A cocaine overdose is not uncommon, especially among users who mix the drug with substances such as alcohol or benzodiazepines to increase tolerance and enhance the ecstatic effect.

Common symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Frenetic energy levels
  • Restlessness
  • Talking too much
  • Panic attacks
  • Vomiting/ abdominal aches
  • Tremors in arms and legs
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Coma

In the long run, a cocaine overdose can lead to severe health problems, such as stroke, kidney failure and respiratory disorders.

The Case for Drug Addiction Rehabilitation

The best way to handle cocaine addiction is to seek professional help. If you are currently struggling with addiction, locate an expert or accredited rehab centre nearby, and contact them as soon as possible.

We always advise in-patient rehab service for severely dependent cocaine users. In the in-patient setting, detoxification is supervised by licensed physicians in a safe and controlled environment that prevents access to the drug and reduces chances of relapse.

Also available at such facilities are associated treatment programmes such as mental health care, exercise and support group therapy, which improve the chances of recovery and enhance the experience of the recovery process.

Out-patient rehabilitation can also be a positive option, but is advisable for people with less severe cocaine dependence. Whichever option you decide is right for you, we can refer you to the best rehabilitation centres wherever you live.

Get Help for Cocaine Addiction

You can begin the process of kicking your cocaine dependency today, by talking to a substance-abuse counsellor. Most will offer a comprehensive directory of facilities around the UK, and can immediately refer you to an expert in cocaine abuse and recovery. With services ranging from family intervention to in-patient residential clinics, you can quickly access advice on the best way to begin treatment.

Be Honest with Yourself

Substance abusers often regard themselves as recreational rather than problem users, not realising that they are at risk of addiction and dependency. Cocaine has a way of making users think they are in control, when actually the opposite is true. The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem, so start by being honest with yourself, and then take positive steps to seek help.

How cocaine rehab works

Rehabilitation from cocaine addiction consists of three main components; detoxification, rehab therapy and aftercare treatment. While you can get these services from the NHS and community-based organisations, we strongly advise you to consider in-patient treatment at a private rehab facility.

Please note that NHS does not provide any kind of residential treatment.

After completing detoxification and rehabilitation therapy, you’ll be provided an aftercare programme that helps you assimilate into society as a newly recovered individual.

Treatment and Therapy

Good rehab treatment always begins with a seven-day (minimum) detoxification programme. Upon admission, the doctor will carry out a series of tests to determine your level of cocaine dependence. It consists of blood, urine and other fluid tests. They will also ask questions about your drug use behaviour and history.

After detoxification, combined treatment from a substance abuse therapist will help to identify the underlying causes of your addiction. This is very important and ensures the problem is treated from its root.

Treatment and Recovery Information

Substance-abuse counsellors can provide all the information you need to help you plan your treatment and recovery effectively. They can help you find accredited facilities close to you, and explain the treatment programmes available at these centres. Finding a facility that suits you is essential; the information they provide helps clients choose the most satisfactory treatment options, minimising the chances of a relapse.

Behavioural Therapies

Addiction is a condition with psychological components as well as physical ones, so psychotherapy is a core element of treatment. Alongside the medical care – including medication (see below) – that you will receive to treat the physical aspects of addiction, you’ll be assigned psychiatric care from a mental health professional, to guide you through the mental aspects of the recovery process.

Different therapists use different therapies, but one of the most common is behavioural therapy. Behavioural therapy helps you recover by shaping the way you think and react to cocaine use.

Recovery from Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is a severe form of substance abuse and requires specific treatments. Look for rehab facilities that specialise in cocaine addiction, ensuring you receive a targeted approach to help you get into recovery.

Treatment for cocaine addiction doesn’t end with detoxification. At rehab you’ll be guided through practices to help maintain sobriety and overcome cravings.

Pharmacological therapies

Pharmacological therapies involve the use of prescribed medication to help recovery, cope with the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce the risk of relapse.

Common medications prescribed include:

  • Gabapentin: prevents seizures
  • Modafinil: prevents fatigue and drowsiness
  • Topiramate: anticonvulsant
  • Vigabatrin: Reduces cocaine cravings by increasing GABA, a neurotransmitter
  • Baclofen: Muscle relaxant – encourages GABA release

Browse Drug Rehab Centres

There are many drug rehab centres in the UK today; choosing the right one is an essential step in recovery. Rehab centres should offer more than just attractive-looking buildings and swanky accommodation. They should be accredited and offer targeted, tailored programmes to deal with substance abuse and aid recovery.

Recovery That Goes Deeper Than the Symptom

Those who choose to self-detox or attend inexperienced and non-accredited centres may be treating only superficial symptoms of addiction and substance abuse, at best. Deeper and less apparent symptoms may be left untreated, and root causes not addressed at all. For a comprehensive addiction treatment, you should opt for a recovery facility that offers a comprehensive programme of treatment for all symptoms and causes.

We encourage prospective clients to ask as many questions as possible about a centre’s resident doctors, treatment programmes and rehab techniques. The more you know about your rehab options, the better your decision will be.

Prescribed medication

One of the risks of self-detoxing or unaccredited treatment centres is using the wrong medication or ineffective medicines. These may not help and may even worsen the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal and carry a risk of complications.

Effective withdrawal-treatment medications such as Gabapentin, Modafinil and Topiramate are only available under prescription by licensed personnel, so it’s important to choose a rehab centre staffed by medical professionals who can prescribe the right drugs.

Ongoing care

Addiction cannot be completely cured. Sobriety is a ongoing process that has to be taken day by day. While this may sound discouraging, it can be much easier if you have the right support system in place. A good rehab centre should provide aftercare services to help to create such a support system to facilitate ongoing care, including therapists, addiction groups and sponsors.

Residential care

For addiction cases that require in-depth treatment and 24-hour services, a residential care option is ideal. You’ll have access to medical personnel round-the-clock. Residential care rehab centres also have comfortable environments that help you unplug from the stress and pressures that often lead to substance abuse. Many centres accommodate patients for 14 to 30 days or more.

Evidence Based Treatment Programmes

Evidence Based Treatment (EBT) is treatment backed by scientific evidence; it has been thoroughly tested and proven to be successful in treatment of cocaine addiction. The commitment to EBT methods indicates proper care for patients at rehab centres that employ it.

Holistic Therapies

Holistic treatments are therapies that consider the whole individual (mind, body and spirit). Holistic therapies are believed to enhance the prospects of successful, enduring recovery.

Treatment types

There are two major types of treatments: residential (inpatient) care and outpatient care. Residential care programmes are generally recommended for cocaine addiction, but outpatient care can be more suitable for those with less severe needs and busy schedules that make inpatient care impractical.

Managing a psychiatric or medical crisis

If you have a long history of cocaine addiction, your dependency level may be severe and there is a risk that addiction or withdrawal might be associated with an acute psychiatric or medical crisis. Quality residential care facilities are equipped to cope with such crises, with 24-hour care and medical professionals on hand.

Cocaine addiction help

Do you need help for cocaine addiction? If you or a close relative is struggling with cocaine dependence, talking to a substance abuse counsellor today is a great way to start the treatment process.

Turning your life around after cocaine addiction

Re-integrating into society is a critical aspect of addiction treatment. Good rehab professionals use evidence based techniques to help you turn your life around and navigate the road to recovery. They can equip you with the tools, training and inner resources to cope with challenges now and in the future, helping to get your life back on track.

Get Confidential Help Now

Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.


What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is highly addictive. Its major ingredient is derived from a naturally occurring psychoactive compound found in the coca plant. Although used for medical treatments, cocaine is a controlled substance and recreational consumption is illegal.

How do people use cocaine?

Cocaine can be used medically as an anaesthetic or consumed recreationally for its stimulating effect. People who use it recreationally may snort it as powder, inject it in solution or smoke it as crack cocaine. Recreational consumption is illegal in most countries and attracts criminal penalties.

How common is cocaine addiction?

There are about 14 million cocaine users in the world today. In the UK, where roughly 4% of people have used it, cocaine is the second most commonly abused illicit substance after cannabis (which is used by 11.3% of the population).

How does cocaine affect the brain?

Cocaine alters the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, triggering reward circuits. These neurophysiological responses quickly become conditioned, to the point where even the sight of associated stimuli can act as a trigger. Continued use of cocaine leads to habituation, where toleration for the drug increases and more is needed to produce the same effects.

What are the other health effects of cocaine abuse?

Besides physical symptoms such as nose bleeds, hypertension and increased risk of stroke, cocaine abuse can cause mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, paranoia and psychosis. Mental and physical health damage from cocaine abuse can persist for years.

How can cocaine overdose be treated?

A cocaine overdose requires immediate medical attention, so call for help quickly. For First Aid, loosen any tight clothing and reassure the individual. If there is no sign of a pulse, start CPR while you wait for an ambulance.

How does cocaine use lead to addiction?

Addiction results from continued use. Over time, a regular cocaine user develops a tolerance for the drug. The longer you use, the greater the dependence.

How can people get treatment for cocaine addiction?

Treatment begins with talking to a cocaine addiction counsellor, who can refer you to a specialist centre where detoxification and rehabilitation therapy are available. Our rehab centres provide comprehensive treatment.

How does cocaine work?

When cocaine is inhaled, injected or ingested, it enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain. By interfering with the normal activity of nerve cells it temporarily boosts levels of the  neurotransmitter, dopamine, generating a short-lived euphoric high.

Can a person overdose on cocaine?

Yes, overdose is possible. The risk is increased when cocaine is injected and when it is taken along with substances, such as alcohol.

Is cocaine additive?

Yes, cocaine is highly addictive.

Am I addicted to cocaine?

Do you consume cocaine regularly, including at work or when on your own? Does it make you do things you normally wouldn’t do? Do you develop withdrawal symptoms within hours if you don’t use cocaine? If the answer to any of these is yes you may be suffering from cocaine addiction. To be certain, speak to an expert.

What are the signs of cocaine abuse?

Signs of cocaine abuse can be both physical and psychological. Common examples are headaches, nosebleeds, hyperactivity, talking too much, restlessness, paranoia and bouts of depression.

How can people get treatment for cocaine addiction?

Treatment is available at any accredited detoxification facility or specialist cocaine rehab centre.

How long does cocaine withdrawal last?

Withdrawal symptoms can manifest within six to twelve hours after last taking cocaine.

Which treatments work for cocaine addiction?

The best treatment is that recommended and overseen by a licensed professional, and usually includes diagnosis, detoxification and rehabilitation care. Good centres offer a range of additional treatments.

Is there other help for cocaine addiction?

Yes. Ensure you have a strong support network to help you in difficult times. Attend group therapy sessions, exercise regularly, volunteer and seek advice from long time sober colleagues.

Where will I have my treatment?

You could choose to have it at a detox clinic or a rehab centre with residential care. Those with less severe conditions might want to opt for an out-patient clinic. Never try to detox ‘cold turkey’.

What happens if you are caught in possession of cocaine?

Depending on that country’s laws, you could be arrested and face prosecution. In the UK, if you are found guilty of possession of a class A drug such as cocaine, you face up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine (or both).