Cocaine Addiction Help & Treatment - Rehab Guide

Cocaine Addiction Help & Treatment

Cocaine Addiction Help & Treatment

Help for cocaine addiction

Trying cocaine just once can lead to habitual abuse, eventually materialising into cocaine addiction.

Commonly used as a recreational drug, cocaine is highly addictive and can have serious effects on your health and well-being.

In 2018, 5.3% of British people between 15 and 34 took cocaine. If you’ve been out partying at any time, then it’s very likely that you might’ve seen this substance being passed around.

But can you get addicted to cocaine? You most certainly can. In this article, find out what the drug is, what cocaine addiction symptoms are, and what you can do to overcome addiction.

Are you thinking about how to beat cocaine addiction? There are usually 3 steps: detox, rehab, and aftercare. Read on to find out more about each step.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that typically takes the form of a white powder. This powder is then snorted or swallowed by users to create an intense high. [4]

Users tend to feel a sense of euphoria and self-confidence, making it a drug often chosen for raves, parties, and social gatherings. While the drug might make people feel like the “life of the party,” often, their behaviour is seen as obnoxious.

Quick Outline
How long does cocaine take to work: Between 5-30 minutes

How long the effects of cocaine last: Between 30 – 40 mins

How it’s taken: There are a few ways to take cocaine; the drug can be snorted/sniffed, injected, smoked or rubbed onto the gums

Street names: Coke, Snow, Rock, Blow, Crack, Ching, Blow, Dust, Sniff, Line (often referred to as ‘a line of coke’, Flake, Bump, a key.

How long does cocaine stay in blood: 12 – 48 hours [1]

How long does cocaine stay in hair: For months to years [2]

How long does cocaine stay in urine: up to 3 days or 2 weeks in heavy users [1]

Urine toxicology screening remains the main way to screen for cocaine use.

Cocaine vs crack cocaine

Cocaine can also be turned into crack cocaine with some simple steps.

Once the substance has been converted into crack cocaine, it can be smoked to produce a stronger high than the original drug. The drug is normally smoked via a crack pipe and is said to smell like a mixture of chemicals, burning plastic or rubber.

The high from smoking crack is so intense that it is more likely that a user will become a coke addict. Snorting crack and cocaine can wear down the tissue, blood vessels, and cartilage in the nose, leading to long-term and sometimes permanent damage.

Signs of cocaine addiction

There are a number of telltale signs you can look out for if you suspect someones cocaine usage has got out of hand.

If you’re close enough with them to know about their finances, you will probably notice a whole lot of money being spent. A cocaine habit can become very expensive.

You might also notice that the person needs to excuse themselves often.

“The drug gives a strong high but it’s short-lasting, so addicts need to consume it at regular intervals.”

You might notice that a suspected addict is lethargic and quiet. And then after a trip to the bathroom, they’re suddenly confident and boisterous. You can normally tell if someone has snorted coke because they may have powdered residue on their nostrils or a runny nose.

You might also notice some abrupt lifestyle changes, such as staying out late.

The risks of cocaine use

The effects and reactions cocaine has on the body:

  • panic attack
  • heart attack
  • stroke, heart damage, heart disease & heart attack
  • depressed
  • run down
  • Loss of smell, nosebleeds, burning sensation in nose, runny nose & trouble swallowing due to insufflation
  • bowel decay (if swallowed)
  • lung damage
  • sexual issues
  • seizures
  • headaches & migraines
  • weight loss

There is a general assumption that weight loss is part and parcel of frequent cocaine use due to its appetite suppressing qualities. According to a study on eating behaviour and body weight in cocaine-dependent men, the data suggest cocaine interferes with metabolic processes, resulting in an imbalance between fat intake and storage. This may be why excessive weight gain is common in individuals who have ceased drug abuse. [4]

How long a cocaine ‘comedown‘ lasts depends on the individual, the amount of drug taken and how long and often a person has been using the drug.

The ‘comedown’ can make you feel anxious and depressed for days, sometimes triggering more drug use to avoid those feelings. The comedown usually has a lot to do with the intense exhaustion after stimulating the nervous system with the drug.

How addictive is cocaine

It may not be quite as addictive as substances like heroin or alcohol, but a cocaine habit can still be severe.

Typically, abuse will not lead to fatal withdrawal symptoms. However, the experience of withdrawing can be very unpleasant.

Eventually, users will develop a tolerance to the drug. This means that they will need to use cocaine just to feel normal. At this point, the addiction can get serious, as attempting to quit can be incredibly debilitating.

So is cocaine addictive? Yes. For many users, it can become a habit that’s extremely difficult to break.

Why Do People Get Addicted to Cocaine?

There are a few different ways that someone might become an addict. For example, many experts argue that other drugs can act as a “gateway” one.

This means that most users don’t start off directly with addiction by using this drug. Instead, they start off with less harmful drugs such as cannabis.

After using such drugs for a while, a person might feel the urge to try something stronger and turn to cocaine. They might also buy their softer drugs from a dealer who also pushes them.

Other theories suggest that unresolved trauma and mental illness may be risk factors. For example, the drug can temporarily alleviate mental disorders such as PTSD and depression.

“You can treat this form of addiction effectively by addressing the underlining mental issues.”

Trying to treat the addiction without addressing the disorder is likely to fail.

Finally, some argue that there’s a genetic predisposition. This means that societal and psychological factors might be less relevant and that some people are predisposed to addiction.

How cocaine works

Next, you might be wondering: how does cocaine affect your body, how does the drug work and why is cocaine a stimulant?

The fact is, cocaine is not good for you and there are short-lived benefits of cocaine use. Essentially, the drug floods the brain with “feel-good” neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

With an excess amount of these chemicals in the brain, a user will experience a euphoric high.

“The following day, the user will suffer from a “comedown” due to a lack of dopamine and serotonin left in the brain.”

Coke changes your brain chemistry. If you’re addicted to coke, your brain stops producing these feel-good transmitters normally. This means that it becomes impossible to feel good without using.

Once somebody gets to this level of cocaine abuse, it can become tough to quit. At this level of addiction, clinical intervention is usually necessary. For example, a coke addict might stay at a rehab facility.

Mixing cocaine and alcohol

Addicts will frequently combine cocaine with alcohol, which is a potentially lethal combination.

Users favour this combination, as the two drugs complement each other.

“Users also like this combination, as the stimulant effects of cocaine minimise alcohol’s depressant effects.”

Mixing cocaine and alcohol means that these individuals can drink more and for much longer than non-users.

While the combination might minimise the effects of alcohol at the moment, it doesn’t make you immune to the effects of a hangover. The hangover from this combination may be so severe that users turn to the drug again in the morning to take the edge off.

This can quickly spiral into full-blown cocaine addiction.

Financial costs of cocaine abuse

One of the aspects of cocaine abuse that makes it so problematic is the cost.

The drug is one of the most expensive recreational drugs out there. For UK cocaine, you could expect to pay at least £50 for just 1 gram.

There are many reasons why cocaine is so expensive:

  • The substance is extracted from the Coca plant which requires special growing conditions, and hours of manual labour to harvest and process the drug.
  • It is also an illegal class A drug, so essentially you are paying extra for the risk involved in growing, processing, transporting and selling cocaine.
  • When demand is high, the price goes up. Demand for cocaine is driven up because of its extremely addictive nature. That goes for all drugs.

A serious session can easily end up costing hundreds or thousands of pounds. This means that this type of addiction can be tough to maintain without a large income.

For this reason, the drug is often seen as a drug for rich and successful people. After all, you can’t afford this habit on minimum wage.

“The “glamour” of cocaine is what attracts a lot of people to it, but an individual’s use can quickly get out of hand.”

Eventually, many abusers get desperate and feel the need to steal, sell their possessions, or borrow from friends or family to maintain the habit.

People often end up hitting their “rock bottom” situation for financial reasons. This is particularly true when they can no longer afford to support their habit.

How many people take cocaine?

Despite the dangers and expenses of using cocaine, it remains one of the most popular drugs in the UK.

It’s believed that cocaine is the second most popular recreational drug among British drug users.

While it is widely used amongst the younger party crowd, it is also used by professionals as well. Some individuals are highly functional, managing to work a full-time job while habitually using.

The drug is sometimes used in high-pressure work environments because it helps you to stay awake and alert for long periods of time. Its tendency to make users feel self-confident also means that it helps you to have a “winning” mindset.

I’m addicted to cocaine, what now?

It wont be easy, but by admitting you have a problem is the first step. There are several options anyone wanting to give up cocaine abuse.

Cocaine Detox

The first and most important step in how to overcome cocaine addiction is to go through detox.

It can be difficult to get rid of dependence on any type of substance on your own. Not to mention, it can also be dangerous to do so.

At a treatment centre, you’ll be able to go through withdrawal under the care of medical experts. You may go through cocaine withdrawal symptoms. If your symptoms are particularly bad, these medical teams will be able to prescribe you painkillers to ease your discomfort.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Tiredness
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Increased hunger
  • Chills, nerve pain, muscle aches

Detox consists of 3 phases: the crash, withdrawal, and extinction. The crash happens around 24 hours after the last time you partook in the drug. Withdrawal is also relatively short, but extinction can take up to 6 months for some people.

Despite the fact that extinction can take up to half a year, you’re usually ready to move on to rehab once you’re done with the withdrawal phase.

How to stop using cocaine

After you have finished detox, your new life clean of drugs begins. Here are some tips on how to stop cocaine abuse and remain abstinent in this difficult period.

  • Form a support network: Seek help from those who have encouraged you to get sober and attend local support groups
  • Keep busy: form new hobbies, new friendships and plan your future goals
  • Exercise: Keeping fit will improve your mood and give you more of an incentive to stay healthy and sober
  • Avoid temptation: Don’t drink alcohol or use other drugs and as hard as it is, avoid spending time in places where alcohol or drugs is directly available (bars, clubs, gigs, parties etc) and avoid people who may encourage you to use drugs

Get help for cocaine addiction

After reading this article, you should now be familiar with the signs of cocaine addiction and withdrawal.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, then cocaine addiction help can be beneficial.

By checking into cocaine rehab, you’ll be able to get professional help when it comes to detox and recovery. While it can be a scary step to take, it’ll certainly be the right one to find and stick to a sober life.

If you’d like more information on cocaine help, then please feel free to contact us. We’ll be more than happy to give you free advice on how to fight substance misuse and how to get cocaine out of your system for good.

Find rehab for Cocaine use

When it comes to having a coke addiction, going to rehab is your best chance of recovery, and you have 2 choices: inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient is where you stay and live for the entire duration of your treatment, while outpatient is where you come in for your treatment.

Inpatient is best for recovery, but understandably, it’s not doable for everyone. Not only is it more expensive, but it also requires you to drop your everyday commitments. If you’re not able to do that or don’t have the finances for inpatient treatment, then you can always choose outpatient care.

Either way, the programmes are the same. You’ll work with trained professionals who will teach you effective ways of dealing with drug cravings. This can dramatically decrease your chance of relapse.

They’ll also help you figure out what your triggers are so you have effective coping tools to quit your coke habit. This may include delving into some painful and uncomfortable discussions about your past experiences. While this may not be something you want to do, it’ll help you in the long run when you can understand what drives you to substance abuse.

You’ll get to participate in group counselling sessions so you can relate to others who are going through the same process you are. In addition, there are alternative therapy sessions that help your body, mind, and soul. They include things like yoga, meditation, massage, CBT, and music therapy.

Inpatient rehabilitation

To beat a moderate to severe cocaine addiction, you might need a stay in an inpatient rehab facility. Inpatient rehab is when you stay at the rehab centre full-time.

This kind of rehab offers the highest chances of success. This is because you will have access to round-the-clock care to help you beat your addiction. You’ll also be removed from your normal living situation so you’ll be less likely to encounter triggers.

The downside of this treatment is that you need to commit to rehab 100%. You’ll be staying in the treatment facility full-time, so you won’t be able to fulfil other obligations such as working or childcare.

During a stay in inpatient rehab, you’ll get help fighting off the physical and mental effects of withdrawal. For example, you may be given certain medications to minimise the negative effects of getting off cocaine.

“Inpatient rehab will also focus on any mental health issues you may have that could’ve contributed to your addiction.”

For example, you can expect to be treated for conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Not only that but you’ll also be given the tools you’ll need to maintain sobriety in the future. For example, you might be taught certain psychological techniques you can use when you get cravings.

In the end, inpatient rehab is the type of rehab that offers the greatest chances of success. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive form of treatment, both in terms of time and financial commitment.

Outpatient rehabilitation

A great alternative to inpatient rehab is outpatient rehab.

When you attend outpatient rehabilitation, you continue to live a relatively normal life. You go into the rehab facility by appointment rather than living there full-time.

Not everyone has the option to commit 100% to work on their sobriety. For example, maybe you have children or a job you can’t get time off from. In this case, going to an outpatient rehab centre makes a lot of sense.

Outpatient rehab facility also makes sense for patients who have a less severe addiction. If you feel like you don’t require round-the-clock support, then outpatient rehab might be the best choice for you.

At an outpatient rehab facility, you will receive similar support to inpatient rehab. The only difference is that you continue to live at your own home and go into rehab by appointment.

This makes outpatient rehab a much more feasible option for many people, regarding both time and money.

Sober living centres

After you have completed a stay in either inpatient or outpatient rehab, you might consider spending some time living in a sober living facility.

So what is a sober living facility? Basically, it is a centre where addicts who’ve completed rehab stay for a while.

The idea is that the facility will enable you to return to normal life, with support available if you need it. Not only will you live alongside other recovering addicts, but you’ll also live with addiction counsellors.

If you think you’re at risk of relapsing, this is a great choice to help secure your sobriety.

Of course, you don’t have to go to a sober living centre to live a successful life. Many former addicts get by just fine with a short stay in rehab.

Alternative treatments

Did you know that gene therapy treatments are in the works? It can essentially render the patient immune to its effects.

The treatment involves introducing a protein to the body that processes the drug differently.

“Basically, the protein means that someone using coke would get no pleasurable effects from it whatsoever.”

Without these effects, there’s no reason to spend a fortune on the drug, and the addiction is effectively cured.

The issue with this method is that scientists have yet to discover an appropriate delivery method. They need to find a safe and effective way to enable the body to produce this protein for a long period of time.

Aftercare programme

Cocaine recovery is more than achievable, but once you are in recovery, the road ahead will be much easier if you continue to work on yourself. Once you’re done with treatment in rehab, you’ll have to resume normal life again.

Understandably, it can be difficult to transition from a safe and sheltered environment back to the realities of life. This is why it’s important to go through aftercare.

Here, you’ll experience many of the things you did in rehab. The key difference is it’s not as frequent as when you were in rehab, especially if you were in inpatient care.

Aftercare programmes are there to help you stay sober and readjust to normal life. You can attend both individual and group counselling sessions. In fact, you can find a strong support group with other people in recovery.

Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous is a Fellowship of individuals who share their experiences, strength and hopes with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from their cocaine addiction.
The best way to reach someone is to speak to them on a common level. The members of C.A. are all recovering addicts who maintain their individual sobriety by working with others. We come from various social, ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds, but what we have in common is addiction.

Anyone can attend a CA meeting, to find your nearest meeting place, go to

Call our cocaine helpline for advice.

Sources and references:

  1. Cocaine Screen. Source:
  2. Early adolescent cocaine use as determined by hair analysis in a prenatal cocaine exposure cohort. Source:
  4. The skinny on cocaine: Insights into eating behaviour and body weight in cocaine-dependent men. Source:

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