Cocaine Addiction Causes

Successful cocaine intervention requires that the underlying causes of cocaine abuse are found and addressed. Understanding cocaine addiction, its causes, and how cocaine abuse affects the body and mind can change your life.

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Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. die from drug overdoses involving cocaine. This is just one of many shocking cocaine statistics that shed light on how serious a problem this drug is.

Most people don’t abuse drugs just for fun. There is a lot that goes into addiction. Social pressures, physical and biological differences, and mental issues all play a role in addiction. Cocaine has unique effects on the body and brain, which make certain people more likely to become addicted to it.

What is Cocaine Addiction?

In order to understand its causes, it is important to fully understand what cocaine addiction is. There is a very fine line between abuse and addiction when it comes to cocaine.

Addiction to cocaine is a chronic disorder where the user seeks the drug compulsively. An addict continues to use the drug despite noticing negative effects. When it comes to cocaine, addiction often includes mental and physical dependence. Dependence is when withdrawal symptoms come up if a person stops taking cocaine suddenly, or tries to cut back.

Cocaine is more addictive than most drugs because of the ‘binge and crash’ cycle. The effects of cocaine are extreme but only last about 30 minutes. Once the euphoria and energy wear off, users tend to feel a ‘crash’. The crash can include feelings of tiredness, anxiety, depression, and intense cravings for more cocaine. The crash is often so bad that users take more of the drug just to feel better.

This dangerous binge and crash cycle can occur even before a user is addicted to cocaine. It is part of what makes the drug very hard to quit once you start using it. Some users who abuse cocaine occasionally might be able to use it sometimes without becoming addicted, but there is no way to know when you could suddenly become addicted. Anyone who compulsively uses cocaine, despite knowing it is harming them, is addicted.

Effects of Cocaine Addiction

Abuse of cocaine can cause users to feel an intense high. Feelings of euphoria increased energy and confidence, and overall well-being is all common aspects of cocaine high. But, the drug has many serious negative effects as well. These effects become worse and more common for people who abuse cocaine often.

Psychological effects of cocaine addiction may include:

  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Impaired judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations

Physical effects of cocaine addiction may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fast heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Tremors (“cocaine shakes”)
  • Heart attack
  • Seizure Stroke

Keep in mind that these are mostly just acute effects. Long-term abuse can lead to serious cocaine brain effects and physical issues. Several major health problems can be linked to long-term cocaine use.

Causes of Cocaine Addiction

So, why do certain people get addicted to cocaine? In truth, there can be many reasons. Genetic, social, environmental, physical, and mental factors can all play a role. Once addiction sets in though, science agrees on one thing: it is not a choice. Addiction is a chronic mental disorder, just like major depression or anxiety.

Let’s go over some of the main known causes of cocaine addiction:


Many people wonder ‘is drug addiction genetic?’. When it comes to cocaine and other drugs, it does appear that the answer is yes. Although people can be more likely to abuse cocaine because of genes, it is often hard to tell whether that is the true cause of addiction.
People who have parents who are addicts could be more likely to end up addicts themselves for other reasons in addition to genetics. For example, childhood trauma can lead to mental disorders that are risk factors for addiction. Also, people with parents who are addicts are more likely to be exposed to drugs than others.

Mental Illness

Unfortunately, as with other substance use problems, people are more likely to get addicted to cocaine if they have a mental health disorder. Major depression and anxiety are both common precursors to addiction.
The pain of living with a mental health disorder can lead many people to seek pleasure and meaning in unhealthy ways, such as through drug abuse. Someone who is already depressed is also likely to have more intense crash periods, which can make them crave the relief offered by cocaine even more.

Social Pressures

The effects of cocaine on the brain can include feelings of increased energy and confidence. For this reason, social cocaine use is quite common. The drug is one of the most well-known ‘party drugs’ because the social effects of cocaine can help users feel more alert and comfortable in social situations.

People might feel the need to use cocaine in social situations at first, and end up developing an addiction because of this, and then begin using it when they are alone. When it comes to cocaine, ‘functioning addicts’ are also relatively common. These are people who are able to hold a job and appear to live a normal life, but who actually struggle with addiction. People who feel they need to use cocaine to function socially often fall into this category.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine abuse is no joke. This dangerous drug can take over a user’s life in the blink of an eye. Cocaine dependence can ruin your social life, financial stability, family life and health. It can even take your life.

When it comes to cocaine addiction treatment, nobody has a better track record than Bedrock Recovery Center. We use evidence-based treatments to help our patients get sober and stay clean. We understand that in order to permanently heal from addiction, you must address its underlying causes.

If you or a loved one needs help to put your cocaine abuse in the past, call Bedrock today to learn about our programs.

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: June 21, 2020

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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