Cocaine Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Know the Biggest Cocaine Abuse Signs and How to Address Symptoms

The evolution of cocaine from plant to powder arc as far back as 1855.  While cocaine was being applauded as a “wonder drug” by individuals like Thomas Edison and Sigmund Freud, it took another twenty-five years for the negative effects of this drug to be noted by the medical community.  Today, the study and exploration of cocaine abuse signs, symptoms, and treatment have taken center stage to help curb rampant use and to rescue those already trapped in the dangerous cycles of addiction.

Being able to recognize cocaine abuse signs and symptoms at the onset is an important way to stop or prevent full blown addiction.  Once dependence on this drug occurs, addiction is almost inevitable. The signs of cocaine abuse are typically evidenced by a number of indicators such as:

  • Mood elevations demonstrated by hyperactivity and being overly chatty.
  • Euphoria or a heightened sense of confidence or feelings of well-being.
  • Reduced appetite for food.
  • Greater enthusiasm or aggressive need for sex.
  • Interruptions in normal sleep patterns.

Other cocaine abuse symptoms that point to cocaine use or abuse include dilated pupils, eyes that are overly sensitive to light and a runny nose. Prolonged use of cocaine may also lead to frequent nosebleeds and septal perforation.  Cocaine consumers who inject the drug will have needle or track marks on the neck, arms, legs, hands or feet.

Treatment for cocaine abuse may be necessary even before the use of this drug becomes habituated.  Because of the nature of cocaine, medical experts warn that dependence can occur quickly.  Also, recovery from cocaine addiction can be a difficult process that may involve one or more dangerous relapse events.

Cocaine addiction, as recognized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a complex disease involving changes in the brain as well as a range of social, familial and other environmental factors. As such, early treatment for cocaine abuse is critical to prevent the debilitating mental and physical damage caused by uninterrupted use of this drug.  Patients who begin Cocaine addiction treatment at the first signs of abuse or as soon as it becomes evident that a dependence is developing have a greater chance of enjoying long term recovery with less relapse incidents.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

In addition to the initial detox procedure, the most common methods of recovery programs for cocaine addiction that has proven effective is centered around behavioral Interventions such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Contingency Management,
  • Rewards Therapy,
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Family counseling

Contingency Management which is also recognized as motivational incentives is a practical treatment mechanism that has been effective in achieving initial abstinence and extending the time patients stay in the cocaine addiction treatment process. These behavioral programs coupled with customized care play a significant role in treatment outcomes.

It is clear that treatment for every individual dealing with cocaine addiction is unique based on a number of variables including genetics, environment and commitment to treatment among others.  As such, in addition to core treatment interventions, each person requires a treatment regimen that is tailored to their needs in order to effectively achieve maximum results from the program and be able to apply the tools necessary to maintain a sober lifestyle afterwards.

While, outpatient treatment is effective and provides just enough monitoring and support to facilitate a sober lifestyle for some, long term treatment is not only necessary but almost mandatory for others.  Usually, the treatment period is primarily based on the duration of the addiction to cocaine. The benefits of long term treatment that commences in an inpatient setting has been significant enough to ease any perceived burden associated with the time spent away from family and friends.

Typical requirements for long term treatment is determined by:

  1. Long term habituated use of cocaine.
  2. Severity of mental and physical damage caused by drug use
  3. Method and amount of drug consumed on a regular basis
  4. Poly drug use.
  5. Co-occurring health conditions.
  6. The number of failed attempts to sustain recovery.

Identifying the right aftercare program for the patient is also a critical step in minimizing challenges that increase relapse vulnerabilities after treatment.  As such, specialized care which address the unique needs of each patient before, during and after treatment is extremely important in the overall success of any cocaine treatment program.  When patients receive services that match their specific treatment needs including appropriate aftercare services, studies show there is greater commitment to abstinence, more implementation of proactive self-help behaviors, reduced homelessness and confidence in the patient’s ability to sustain long term sobriety.  The most effective cocaine addiction treatment is therefore one that is tailored, completed and supported by a patient specific aftercare program.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.