What Is Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug, causing intense and short lived highs, followed by dramatic lows, leaving users quickly seeking more, to refind it’s euphoric effects.
The short nature of cocaine highs means the drug is highly addictive. Users can develop physical addiction very quickly, in some cases after even only one or two episodes of drug use.
The signature of active cocaine addiction is simply a craving for the drug itself.
Those in active cocaine addiction will seek the drug and use it, even where this causes serious harm to self or others.
As a chronic (long-term) condition, the effects of cocaine addiction can reverberate throughout life.
A drug addiction can develop from simple experimentation and light drug use during teen years .
Unresolved trauma can also lead to cocaine use as a means of escape .
Regardless of how cocaine dependence began, evidence-based strategies and professional treatment options are usually needed to overcome the problem.
Signs of Addiction to Cocaine
There are indicators of cocaine addiction that can be divided into physical signs and psychological signs.
Physical signs of addiction to cocaine
Cocaine is a stimulant. Stimulant drugs affects individuals by boosting energy, and increasing confidence levels.
Outwardly, cocaine users become less shy, and more talkative than before.
The excesses of dopamine released in the brain often result in a flurry of ideas, expressed quickly, and with great excitement.
Other signs of cocaine addiction include:
- Becoming more sexually active than before
- Loss of appetite/ weight loss, since dopamine is an appetite suppressant
- Runny nose/ nosebleeds
- Dilated pupils/ eyes sensitive to light
- Where cocaine use is combined with other drugs, needle marks on arms can become visible; hidden needle marks on some parts of the body such as the neck or legs
- Burned-looking lips or fingers
Note that the physical signs are the same, whether the person is using crack cocaine or the powder form of cocaine .
Physical signs of cocaine addiction may be less obvious if the person seems to be carrying on as usual.
Some cocaine users consider themselves to be a “functional addict” where they can fulfil daily obligations and work requirements without impediment, hiding the problem well.
Psychological signs of addiction to cocaine
Whilst physical symptoms can vary widely from individual to individual, psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction tends to adhere to a few specific signs :
- Anger – caused by minor, trivial, or day-to-day issues
- Anger – at being unable to use cocaine
- Irritability and mood swings
- Sensitivity to criticism
- Rising sense of frustration
- Panic at the thought of stopping cocaine use
- Aggressive behaviour towards loved ones/ other persons
- Tension, resulting in insomnia, suicidal thoughts, and lack of focus
- Frequently lost in thought, daydreaming, with unfocussed thinking patterns, fantasising about drug use
- Being uncharacteristically talkative
- Sleeping less than usual
- Signs of paranoia (fearing that others are “out to get me”)
- Poor choices in every day events and interactions
Psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction can last for 10 weeks or longer.
Some can suffer more than others as a result of pre-existing mental health problems, or past experiences of trauma .
Especially prone to drug addiction, are those with the following mental health conditions:
- Other substance misuse problems, including problematic use of alcohol
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Borderline personality disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
In many cases, using cocaine started as a means to cope, or escape from overwhelming emotional stress.
Some also use cocaine with the intent to change their mental/emotional state. In this light, using cocaine could be seen as a way of self-medicating.
What Is Cocaine Rehab?
Cocaine rehab usually means completing a treatment plan in an in-patient private residential clinic, for an average of 2-4 weeks.
Primary care cocaine addiction treatment usually lasts 28 days, although some opt to extend treatment to receive complete therapeutic care.
The standard program for treatment takes place in three stages, these stages are:
What Happens in Cocaine Rehab?
Rehab begins with the decision to get help.
Here’s what normally happens next.
When calling, most clinics will complete a standard drug and alcohol pre-admission telephone assessment to establish needs, and patterns of usage.
A cocaine addiction assessment will usually include:
- Gaining an understanding of overall health, needs, drug use patterns, and co-existing drug addiction to other substances
- Recognising frequency, recency, and duration, of cocaine abuse over time
- Advice and guidance on the most appropriate cocaine addiction treatment options available
- A clear understanding of costs involved
- Initial guidance on what a personalised treatment plan could look like
- Date confirmed for admission, and all booking details received by email
Admission to the clinic
Next, the practicalities of admission can begin:
- Transportation to the rehab clinic
- Checking-in the rehab clinic
- Settling in period
- Preparing emotionally and mentally for detox to commence
Detoxification from Cocaine
As the first step of cocaine addiction treatment, it’s important to cleanse the body of cocaine itself.
To do this, detoxification with the aid of medication is considered safe and effective. The supervising professionals will deal with withdrawal symptoms as they arise, on an individual basis.
Any medicines given are designed to ease withdrawal symptoms, as the body and mind re-establish balance in dopamine levels. These are usually experienced as :
- Easily getting tired
- Slow to move, wanting to rest a lot more than usual
- Insomnia, or waking up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep again
- Increased appetite, or a return normal appetite
- Twitching or muscle spasms
In other words, during withdrawal symptoms, significant mental and emotional lows are possible, for quite some time, e.g. being unable to do daily tasks.
With professional help and advice, the residual effects of cocaine will diminish in a controlled manner.
It’s useful to remember that in rehab, the goal of the first stage of the treatment plan is to restabilise, both mentally and physically.
Once stability is achieved, therapeutic help can begin in earnest.
Cocaine Detox Duration
Cocaine detox experience is broken up into three phases: the crash, withdrawal, and extinction phases. A person is apt to feel a steady progress from the crashing stage to the time when they still experience cravings for cocaine, but are already done with withdrawal symptoms Generally, the time line is shown as: 
Phase 1: The Crash
Within hours to the first three days, a person will likely be too exhausted to do anything else. But there will be little to do cravings to use cocaine.
Phase 2: The Withdrawal Period
Within 1 to 10 weeks of stopping cocaine use, the person may experience:
- Lethargy/tired feelings
- Erratic sleep behaviour
- Strong cravings for cocaine
- Easily upset/touchy/emotional
- Irritable/sensitive to remarks
- Depression can happen
- Poor concentration, unable to stick to a task
Phase 3: Extinction Stage
Up to 28 weeks after stopping the use of cocaine, a person will tend to have on and off cravings for cocaine. There could also be a noticeable a sense of unease or dissatisfaction with life, generally speaking.
Therapeutic Help – Cocaine Rehab Process
Cocaine addiction is generally considered to be a psychological drug addiction more so than a physical one.
It is for this reason that the majority of the gains made from rehab are delivered from the therapeutic interaction, patterns identified, and insights gained.
A cocaine treatment plan will usually involve some form of therapeutic help, an introduction to mutual aid groups, and peer and/or family support.
Specific evidence based modalities have been shown to be effective in cocaine addiction recovery are: 
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
- Challenges the thoughts (often unnoticed and running in the background) that cause cocaine addiction
- Brings to light irrational fears about letting go of cocaine addiction
- Runs through potential daily obstacles of a lifestyle free from cocaine
- Helps identify and challenge underlying beliefs that may be driving the pattern of cocaine usage
- Recognises patterns of behaviour that may contribute towards cocaine use, as a coping mechanism
12 Step Facilitation
- Provides mentorship support through partnering with a sponsor
- Offers structure to a person who will be struggling with a series of life-changes after giving up cocaine
- Connection with support groups such as Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Smart Recovery
- Group therapy sessions present an opportunity for individuals to exit the trap of circuitous thinking that addiction thrives in
- Group members’ insights and solutions for a peer’s dilemma, can assist in changing perspectives and meaning attached to old situations
- One-on-one sessions with an addictions specialist, with a track record for helping cocaine addiction problems
- Keywork Sessions with an individually assigned case manager
- Strengthens the progress made in therapy
- Works on goal-setting and tracking individual progress
- Bearing in mind that a person is made up of body, mind, and soul/psyche, provides a comprehensive management of cocaine addiction challenges
- Including in some facilities such as Abbeycare Clinic, massage, reflexology, and animal-assisted therapy
Family Support Group meetings
- Weekly sessions and support groups with family members/significant others to help apply lessons learned in group/individual therapy
- Emphasises the importance of community support in the individual’s effort to change
An aftercare plan eases the transition to a life free from cocaine after the rehab clinic stay is over.
Giving up something that was the focus of a person’s life for a considerable period of time creates a vacuum.
When there is no focus for this free-flowing energy, being new to giving up a serious habit such as cocaine can go back to using the drug, just because “it feels familiar.”
Changing behaviour consciously, means following step by step, and although it can feel unnatural or even forced for the first few weeks, following the plan is precisely what is needed. Without support and appropriate coping skills, however, following an aftercare plan would not be effective.
- Constructing an aftercare plan
- Establishing a connection to support team members
- Planning for day-to-day steps after rehab
- Connection with support groups and specialist supports unique to the individual’s needs
- Accounting for lessons learned in therapy
- Devising appropriate coping strategies to account for known trigger scenarios
With as much detail as possible, the aftercare plan is usually prepared and peer-reviewed, to assess how realistic and achievable it is, by the person in recovery.
Multiple factors can determine the length of stay in a residential rehab clinic. These are assessed by the admissions team in that clinic, however, will typically include:
- Previous use of other addictive substances
- General overall health
- Current mental/emotional health condition
- How much cocaine the person is using, frequency, recency
- Previous attempts at recovery
However, the normal length of treatment is in the span of 14 to 28 days in a rehab clinic.
Private .v. Public Cocaine Rehab Treatment
Public treatment services offered by the NHS can cover :
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), either in individual or group basis
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy
- Family therapy
- Couples therapy
- Medication to suppress cravings
However, to qualify for NHS treatment, there could be a long waiting time. There are also detailed procedures to follow involving the local drug centre.
In most locations, demand for treatment outstrips supply and the timescales within which appropriate help is available, are usually more than 18months.
In the majority of cases, where an individual is ready for help, private treatment will allow faster access to joined up treatment for drug addiction, under one roof.
A reputable private cocaine rehab treatment clinic usually provides personalised, consistent care. The waiting time for admissions is short, most likely one to two days, compared to 18 months or longer from the NHS.
If you wish to progress with NHS treatment, speak first with your GP, or local drug treatment service.
Nevertheless, a private rehab clinic is likely to offer better facilities, as well as rehab aftercare. Abbeycare’s cocaine rehab programme also utilises holistic treatments to address the concerns that may not be covered in traditional rehab packages.
Private clinic treatment such as the treatment programme offered by Abbeycare is not the same as admitting to hospital.
In case of emergency treatment needs for cocaine addiction, the nearest Emergency Department is recommended.
Cocaine Rehab Cost
Cost of cocaine residential rehab treatment varies, depending on how long a person stays in the rehab clinic, and their needs.
The length of stay in a rehab can be determined by:
- How long the person has been in active cocaine addiction
- How much on average does the person use cocaine
- Whether the person is using other addictive substances
- Overall health condition of the person
- Type of help the person is looking for
A typical stay would be for 28 days.
In Abbeycare residential rehab clinic the minimum stay for cocaine treatment is 14 days and extends to 28 days and upwards.
For pricing information, please ring direct on 01603 513 091, or access instant personalised pricing using Abbeybot.
- Is detox from cocaine at home possible?
Detoxing from cocaine is considered risky because it puts individuals at the risk of the following conditions :
– Irregular heartbeat patterns, including cardiac rhythm disturbances
Signs to watch out for: chest pain; person is diagnosed previously with a heart problem
– Risk of stroke (subdural, subarachnoid, or intracerebral bleed)
Signs to watch out for: Persistent headaches/migraines
Note that persons who abuse stimulants can be using other substances, and may be experiencing simultaneous withdrawal from these substances.
Since street cocaine is very often mixed or cut with other reagents, or even opioid drugs, it’s purity cannot be determined, and hence withdrawal symptoms cannot be predicted.
As we consider any additional pre-existing medical conditions that may exist, as well the interaction of cocaine with pre-existing prescribed medication – it is easy to understand why we expressly advise *against* attempting to detox from cocaine unless under the direct supervision of medical professionals.
- Is it possible to suffer from cocaine overdose?
Yes. Excess cocaine use can cause extremes in the amounts of free or occupied neurotransmitters present in the brain which control and regulate critical autonomic functions in the body, affecting basic functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc. In this way, a cocaine overdose can have fatal consequences.
- How do you feel when you are detoxing?
Some report strong negative emotions such as anxiety and depression.
Using cocaine produces pleasurable feelings, which the brain quickly becomes addicted to via the action of the nucleus accumbens.
During detox, the brain’s chemistry needs to adjust back to the previous level of dopamine production. As dopamine elicits the feelings of pleasure, there is a drop in dopamine levels during the period of adjustment when the person stops the use of cocaine.
Because of the way the brain processes pleasure alongside other feelings such as anxiety and happiness, a person who is detoxing would likely feel strong negative emotions. Without proper knowledge, individuals may choose to keep on using cocaine to avoid these negative emotions, i.e., anxiety and depression.
- What makes residential rehab treatment so effective?
Because residential rehab treatment removes triggers from the environment, it is effective in preventing the use of cocaine at the most vulnerable first stage of addiction recovery. Another major factor is residential rehab treatment’s effectiveness is the expert knowledge and experience by the rehab clinic staff.
- Can I use my phone during inpatient rehab?
This wil vary from clinic to clinic. In the Abbeycare cocaine rehab programme, we operate a common sense policy re use of devices. This means, if any device is interrupting or preventing proper engagement with the recovery programme, you will be asked to hand the device in. Further, if the device has been detrimental in the development of your addiction, you will be asked to hand the device in. Thereafter, device usage is subject to Abbeycare’s staff discretion, and suage policies, at all times.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.
- Australian Government Department of Health. (2013). The cocaine withdrawal syndrome. Retrieved from: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-toc~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7-cws
- Drink and Drugs News. (2019). Building networks. Retrieved from: drinkanddrugsnews.com/ongoing-support/
- Drug Policy.org (2019). What is the difference between cocaine and crack? Retrieved from: http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/cocaine/addicted-cocaine-one-use
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illness
- NHS Central and North West London. (2020). Community drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services. Retrieved from: https://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/services/addictions-and-substance-misuse-services/community-drug-and-alcohol-treatment-and-recovery-services/