Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

A study in 2014 concluded that there were about 1.5 million people in the United States who used cocaine in the past month. In addition, the line between recreation and addiction can be crossed easily and unwittingly. Paired with its widespread use, this can prove to be problematic for large swaths of the population. Learning about cocaine addiction symptoms can help determine if there is a cocaine addiction at work.

Coke Addiction Behavior

There are some distinct behaviors a cocaine addict will likely exhibit, with physical traits usually apparent as well.  Some of the telltale ways to spot a cocaine addict are:

Weight loss

Because cocaine (or coke) is a stimulant, most every user who has become addicted to the drug will drop a considerable amount of weight. This is due to the action of the drug which involves reducing appetite while increasing metabolic rate.

Change in sleeping habits

Clinical studies and anecdotes alike both associate cocaine with sleep disturbance. These symptoms that have to do with sleep are hard for the user to hide. They may sleep all day and be up all night or sleep for days and be up for continuously for an equal duration. After using, there will be a rebound period, due to not only lacking more of the drug, but also often because the addict’s body is exhausted from staying up for an unnatural period of time.


A cocaine addict tends to get anxious and irritable in between uses. While high, paranoia is also common. Other changes in behavior may include extreme talkativeness while high, or extreme depression when not using. 

Money Issues

Money often becomes a problem area given the relative high cost and short-lived nature of the drug. Signs may involve large amounts of cash that is unaccounted for, or being backed up on bill payments. Unfortunately, borrowing or stealing money may also become a problem.


Effects of Cocaine on the Body

Dilated Pupils 

Dopamine release increases with the use of cocaine. Studies associate dopamine with pupil dilation. While other reasons can be the cause of dilated pupils, it is one of the more clearly visible cocaine symptoms.


Many cocaine users inhale cocaine through their nostrils, which is referred to as snorting. Doing so can make the area sensitive to bleeding. 

Needle Marks

Cocaine is often injected by addicts. The area where the user injects becomes scarred and can be easily recognized. To hide the “tracks”, addicts are known to wear long sleeves to hide marks on their arms, even in warmer weather. Other common injection sites include the neck and feet.


Cocaine can wreak havoc on the blood vessels within the brain.  Stress as a result of use can also spur headaches, compounding the condition. Headaches are known as one of the most notorious negative effects of cocaine.

Sexual Dysfunction

For someone who is dating a coke addict or is intimately involved, the sexual symptoms are more apparent. Lack of interest in sex or obsession with sex are common, likely due to effects on dopamine.

Heart Rate Increase

Cocaine is a stimulant that produces powerful effects on the cardiovascular system, making the heart work faster and harder. Heart palpitations are one of the harshest effects of cocaine on the body. 

Shakes and Tremors

Because cocaine speeds up bodily functions, shakiness is another symptom that can be easily detected. Shakes and tremors may set in right after administering the drug or during the coming down phase. 

Increased Body Temperature

When cocaine is in the body, it raises internal temperatures. This can result in an addict feeling hot when it is cold.


Coke addiction behavior causes euphoria during use and depression upon cessation. Lack of interest or motivation are common results of the drug raising dopamine levels to hypernormal ranges. After the effects of the drug subsides, depressive moods set in.

Signs of a Coke Addict

It pays off to be keenly aware of cocaine addiction symptoms, as an addict often remains in a state of denial in regard to their use. This occurs when a user displays an unwillingness to come to grips with the problem or minimizes the extent of it. Cocaine has an erosive effect on the prefrontal cortex, which likely contributes to the lack of willpower in facing the addiction head on. 

The effects of cocaine on the body are numerous. Generally, it’s not just one specific clue that gives an addict away, but rather, a number of symptoms that add up to the fact that recreational use has spun out of control. 

Treating A Cocaine Addiction

If you or someone close to you are experiencing one or more of the cocaine addiction symptoms above, seeking professional help often proves to be worthwhile. Trained specialists at a treatment facility that are experienced in combating addiction can help reduce chances of relapse and ensure lasting sobriety. Dealing with addiction is toying with fate, and there will never be a better time to take action than now.