February 2, 2023

Cocaine Abuse Statistics and Effects

An image of a statue of children being destroyed, symbolizing the damage of cocaine abuse

Whether you or a loved one is battling with cocaine addiction, you might be worried about the thought of packing your bags and heading to rehab.

If so, there’s some good news. While there is a lack of research into the treatment of all forms of stimulant use disorder like cocaine addiction and there are no FDA-approved medications to ease withdrawal, you don’t need to continue suffering alone.

Although there are no medications for the treatment of stimulant use disorder, there are several evidence-based therapies that can be delivered in either inpatient or outpatient treatment centers, depending on the severity of your stimulant use disorder. Due to the psychologically addictive nature of stimulants like cocaine, treatment will focus primarily on behavioral interventions.

Can Cocaine Be Abused?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive narcotic derived from the leaves of the coca plant.

According to estimates from NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse), 15% of adults in the United States have tried cocaine at least once. Fortunately, cocaine abuse is declining. Each year, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) publishes data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). NSDUH 2019 showed there were almost 2 million active cocaine users in the US, down to 1.8 million active cocaine users in NSDUH 2020.

Regardless of the form cocaine comes in or the route of administration, addiction can quickly develop. This can be a physical addiction, a psychological addiction, or both. Habitual cocaine use will cause you to crave the euphoric effects of the drug and to feel compelled to use more cocaine.

As tolerance to cocaine builds, you will need more of the drug to deliver the same effects. Sustained cocaine abuse will cause changes to the function and structure of your brain, making it more challenging to resist cravings for cocaine.

For most people abusing cocaine, psychological dependence on the drug becomes more problematic than any symptoms of physical withdrawal.

How, then, can you determine if you or a loved one is abusing cocaine to the point of addiction?

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction signs can be categorized as follows:

  • Physical Symptoms
  • Psychological Symptoms
  • Behavioral Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

  • Raised body temperature
  • High energy levels
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Persistent nosebleeds
  • Dilated pupils
  • Pronounced weight loss
  • Diminished appetite
  • Breathing problems
  • Blacking out
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Insomnia
  • Tolerance to cocaine
  • Heart attack

Psychological Symptoms

  • Fleeting euphoria
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive confidence
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Psychosis

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Talking excessively
  • Stealing money
  • Trying to borrow money
  • Dishonesty regarding activities
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Engaging in reckless behaviors
  • Inability to stop or moderate cocaine use
  • Socializing with friends who use cocaine
  • Excessive time spent using cocaine
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Losing interest in hobbies or interests
  • Using other drugs in addition to cocaine
  • Continuing to use cocaine in spite of adverse outcomes

Common Signs of Cocaine Abuse

If you are concerned that a friend or family member may be a cocaine addict, witnessing any of the above signs should be a cause for concern.

Beyond these red flags for cocaine addiction, you should also keep an eye out for the following changes in a loved one:

  • Dramatic mood swings: After first taking cocaine, someone may be intensely social and chatty. As the effects of cocaine start to wear off, though, the person’s mood will change. They could become less willing to engage in conversation and could even become hostile.
  • Mental health issues: Many cocaine or crack users experience ongoing mental health issues due to the sustained use of this substance. Depression, anxiety, and paranoia can all develop, even when the person is not using cocaine. Resultantly, many cocaine users benefit from dual diagnosis treatment to unpack both of these issues simultaneously.
  • Physical changes: The sustained use of cocaine can lead to runny nose and chronic nosebleeds. You may notice your loved one’s standards of hygiene and appearance start to slide. Your loved one may also appear emotionally flat when not using cocaine.
  • Financial problems: Cocaine is an expensive drug, often triggering financial problems. Someone using large amounts of cocaine regularly will also likely struggle to hold down a job, further inflaming the financial stress caused by cocaine abuse.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are predominantly psychological. The most common symptoms include fatigue, depression, insomnia, irritability, and cravings. The intensity of these withdrawal symptoms is such that a medical detox is the most safe and supportive way to detox from cocaine.

Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction symptoms are listed in the latest edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5-TR. Cocaine addiction, also known as stimulant use disorder, is diagnosed based on your response to versions of the following eleven symptoms:

  1. Has tolerance to cocaine built so you need more of the drug to achieve the same effect?
  2. Have you tried and failed to moderate or discontinue cocaine use?
  3. Have you taken more cocaine than planned or used cocaine for longer than intended?
  4. Are you spending lots of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of cocaine?
  5. Have you given up social engagements or regular activities in favor of using cocaine?
  6. Do you experience cravings for cocaine?
  7. Are you failing to meet commitments at home, work, or school due to your use of cocaine?
  8. Have you used cocaine in dangerous situations – when driving, for instance?
  9. Are you still using cocaine despite inflaming an existing physical or psychological issue?
  10. Do you continue to use cocaine despite your drug use causing problems in your relationships?
  11. Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms in the absence of cocaine?

Stimulant use disorder is diagnosed as follows:

  • Mild stimulant use disorder: 2 to 3 symptoms
  • Moderate stimulant use disorder: 4 to 5 symptoms
  • Severe stimulant use disorder: 6 or more symptoms

Cocaine Addiction Stats

According to data from NSDUH 2020, over 5 million people in the United States used cocaine over the previous year.

Data from SAMHSA indicate that around 15% of the US population has used cocaine at least once, with 2% reporting past year cocaine use.

According to NIDA’s 2021 Monitoring the Future Survey, 1.2% of 12th graders, 0.6% of 10th graders, and 0.2% of 8th graders reported past year cocaine use.

The same NSDUH 2020 data from SAMHSA shows that 1.3 million people in the United States meet the criteria of cocaine use disorder, also known as stimulant use disorder.

Drug overdose deaths involving cocaine have increased steadily, from 5,419 cocaine-related fatalities in 2014 to almost 20,000 in 2020.

Cocaine Addiction Help at Gratitude Lodge

In most cases of cocaine withdrawal, symptoms can be most effectively managed in a medical detox center. We can help you withdraw from cocaine as comfortably as possible and with access to around-the-clock clinical and emotional care.

Although there are no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of cocaine addiction, research in this area is ongoing. If you are ready to commit to sustained sobriety in place of cocaine abuse, we can help you achieve this at Gratitude Lodge treatment centers located in Long Beach and Newport Beach.

Whether you need the support and structure of a 30-day inpatient program or the affordability and flexibility of an intensive outpatient program, access these evidence-based interventions for cocaine addiction:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Motivational therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Group counseling

At Gratitude Lodge, you can reclaim your life from cocaine addiction, even if there are no medications to help you. Reach out to the friendly team today by calling 888-861-1658.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.

Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.

Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
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Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
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Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.

Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.