Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug that causes dramatic changes in the brain and behavior. During the ‘80s and early ‘90s, cocaine was considered to be a drug used by people of high social status.1 Today, cocaine continues to wreak havoc on the lives of millions of Americans and their families. Research shows that over 1.5 million people in the US have used cocaine in the past month.2 Repeated cocaine use can lead to addiction as well as other adverse health consequences.

In many cases, family members recognize changes in an individual’s behavior but do not know which drug is being used.When you know the signs of cocaine abuse, you can encourage your loved one to seek treatment and understand the risks of drug addiction.

Five Signs of Cocaine Abuse

  1. Extreme mood swings: When an individual uses cocaine–at least in the early stages–he is usually very social, vibrant, chatty, and seems like he is on top of the world. When the drug starts to wear off, the user’s mood changes. He may become hostile and not want to engage in conversation. Many people isolate after a cocaine binge by taking a depressant like alcohol to combat the residual effects of cocaine.
  2. Financial problemsCocaine is expensive, so those who use it regularly often have money problems. Additionally, the effects of the drug can make it difficult to maintain employment for long. As a result, many who struggle with cocaine abuse and addiction will steal or commit fraud in order to pay for their habit.
  3. Physical changes: The brain changes when someone abuses cocaine for the long-term, and family members may notice that their loved one is relatively flat emotionally when they are not high as a result. Additionally, ongoing use can cause the user to experience chronic nosebleeds, severe bowel gangrene, runny nose, lost sense of smell, and more.
  4. Mental health symptoms: Cocaine and crack users often experience mental health symptoms due to their ongoing use of the drug. Paranoia, anxiety, and depression can develop over time, even when the person is not under the influence of the drug. As a result, many cocaine users require dual diagnosis treatment that addresses the mental health disorder as well as the cocaine addiction.
  5. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms: Most of the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine use are psychological. Some of these symptoms include irritability, insomnia and fatigue, depression, and cravings to get high. Because withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming to the user, it’s advised that those who intend to quit using the drug do so under the care of medical professionals in addiction treatment.

At Michael’s House, we offer drug detox as well as intensive psychotherapeutic treatment. Cocaine abuse can be deadly. If your loved one struggles with cocaine abuse, immediate intervention is recommended. Please call now to talk with one of our admissions coordinators about how we can help you or your loved one start a healthy life in recovery.


1 Edwards, Drew W. “Facts About Cocaine.” Psych Central. N.p., 17 July 2016. Web. 25 July 2017.

2What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?” National Institute on Drug Abuse. N.p., May 2016. Web. 25 July 2017.

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