Cocaine Addiction Causes

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that led to nearly 14,000 deaths in the US in 2017 alone. Unfortunately, the danger of this drug hasn’t stopped people from continuing to take it.

What Is Cocaine Addiction?

Not every person who tries cocaine becomes addicted. But many people eventually do develop an addiction to the drug. This is because not only does cocaine give you a feeling of euphoria, but it also gradually changes the way your brain feels pleasure.

This means that over time you will need to take more of the drug to feel the same way you felt the first time you used cocaine. Needing to take more to feel the effects is called tolerance. As you spend more time and money taking higher doses of this drug, you’re likely ignoring other obligations, such as your job, school, family, and friends.

But when you’re addicted, you only care about getting more of the drug. This means you keep using cocaine despite the negative effects. And when you’re physically addicted, it’s difficult to stop using the drug suddenly without suffering from withdrawal symptoms. This makes it even harder to quit unless you get treatment from a facility like Northeast Addictions Treatment Center.

Effects of Cocaine Addiction

When you use cocaine, you look forward to the instant pleasurable side effects, which include euphoria, confidence, and alertness. This is due to the dopamine that’s sent to your brain within minutes. But as with any drug, cocaine comes with some side effects that aren’t pleasant and can even be dangerous.

The psychological side effects of cocaine addiction often include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Bad judgment
  • Hallucinations

The physical effects of cocaine are also negative and can include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensitivity to sounds, sight and touch
  • Fast heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

These are just the side effects that you’re likely to feel as you use cocaine. There are additional long-term effects that could be lifelong problems. These problems can include permanent damage to your heart, stomach, brain and lungs. And of course, overdose—which can lead to coma or death—is another big concern when you’re addicted to cocaine.

Causes of Cocaine Addiction

Anyone who uses cocaine could end up addicted to it. But there are a few factors that may increase the odds of addiction for some people who try cocaine. The most common underlying causes of cocaine addiction include genetic predisposition, social surroundings and mental illness. Here’s an idea of what you need to know about these factors in cocaine addiction.


Some studies have shown that cocaine addiction has a genetic component. More specifically, genes can have an impact on how the brain metabolizes the dopamine from cocaine. So if you have a family history of drug abuse, you might have a higher than average chance of struggling with addiction.

Of course, seeing your parents, siblings or other relatives abuse drugs for years can also have an effect on your chances of addiction. Even if your genes aren’t to blame for your addiction, your experiences growing up around drugs—and the possible trauma associated with that—may be partially at fault.

Social Environment

As you’ve likely seen firsthand, cocaine is often called a “party drug.” This means seeing it in social situations is common. People like how alert and confident they feel when taking it while they socialize. Unfortunately, this may give the impression that it’s not dangerous, despite its many side effects and extremely addictive quality.

Even if you were worried about trying this drug, you may have felt pressured by friends to take it so you could experience the same feelings as them at a party. But many people who start out taking it in social situations end up relying on it on a regular basis, resulting in a cocaine addiction.

Mental Illness

If you already have a mental illness, you have a higher chance of abusing drugs at some point in life. Whether you have anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder or another mental health issue, you may feel tempted to self-medicate with illegal drugs like cocaine.

After all, you might be experiencing pain, rejection, stress, or general unhappiness with your life right now. And the idea of avoiding those feelings by taking drugs that lead to euphoria—however brief—may sound pleasant.

But you’re more likely than others to become addicted, especially since the crash after taking cocaine is often more intense for anyone with mental illness. This is why it’s important to get dual diagnosis treatment to manage both your mental illness and cocaine addiction at the same time.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Fortunately, there are several types of treatment for addiction to this drug. Some of the most common ones to expect are one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-step therapy in a group setting.

If you’re ready to get treatment for your cocaine addiction, come to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center. Located in Quincy, MA, we’re considered the leading drug rehab in the state due to our high quality of care from a trusted team. We offer many evidence-based treatments that we can customize to suit your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you at our outpatient treatment center!

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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