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Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant substance and is prevalent across the UK. Over 23,000 grams of cocaine is snorted in London each day, and what can begin as controllable recreational use can quickly spiral into a life-threatening addiction that harms you and those around you.

Key symptoms of cocaine use and addiction

Addiction to cocaine, like other drugs, can manifest in a variety of ways, but there are common symptoms that are often demonstrated in heavy users who are dependent on the drug.  

Dilated pupils:

When someone uses cocaine it causes their pupils to dilate (get larger). This is a sign they have used but not that they are addicted.

Financial problems:

Cocaine is expensive and someone sho has a cocaine addiction is likely spending a great deal of cash on their habit. That likely means they are also spending less time working and more time thinking about there addiction.

Runny nose:

Runny nose is one of the symptoms of cocaine addiction. Cocaine is often snorted into the nasal cavities and lungs. The body sees the cocaine powder as a foreign substance and tries to expel it with nasal mucus. This causes the nose to run.


Cocaine addiction often leads to a lack of sleep and manic mood swings. When someone has not slept in 24 hours and their brain is running a mile a minute it is easy to see how they could quickly become paranoid.


Cocaine is a strong stimulant which causes a rapid build-up of dopamine in the brain. When high on cocaine, a person will be extremely talkative and appear excited.

Legal problems: 

As addiction takes stronger hold in a user’s life, more from other areas of their lives are sacrificed so they can do more of the substance. This often shows itself in trouble with the police and law in general, particularly in relation to theft and crime.

Avoiding obligations: 

As a user falls further into addiction, other areas of their lives are sacrificed. This can include meeting friends and family, missing work or being fired from work and the neglect of the self, such as in basic hygiene.


As cocaine so heavily impacts dopamine regulation in the brain, it often leads to depression and depressive thoughts in users – particularly if they are experiencing withdrawal from the substance.

Mental Health:

The mental health effects of cocaine addiction and use include sudden mood swings, irritability and lack of concentration. When someone enters cocaine withdrawal they may also experience depression, lethargy and a lack of enthusiasm. These psychological symptoms can become worse with prolonged cocaine addiction.

Physical signs: 

A person who is high on cocaine will have high blood pressure and may demonstrate sudden mood swings and irritability. They are likely to be awake for long periods, as it is almost impossible to sleep when high on cocaine.

Please note that there is no single picture of addiction and while these symptoms are very common, a person who is addicted to cocaine may not exhibit all or any of them.

If you are struggling with cocaine addiction or know someone who is, contact our experts today. They have helped hundreds of people who struggle with drug abuse and can help you spot the signs and symptoms that you may have a problem. Help Me Stop can also offer addiction treatment both online and in-person cor cocaine abuse.

Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dangers and consequences of cocaine use and addiction?

In addition to being a Class A substance which can lead to up to seven years in prison and a fine if caught possessing the drug, cocaine use can have serious and life-threatening consequences.

Cocaine use drastically increases heart rate and can cause liver and heart damage – particularly if consumed with alcohol. If taken with drink, the release of cocaethylene can cause a person to engage more easily in compulsive and violent behaviour.

Damage to the body and nose from snorting cocaine is possible, and the injection of cocaine (called ‘crack’) with needles can lead to gangrene, ulcers and the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B and C. If used when pregnant, cocaine can lead to miscarriage and low birth weight.

How can families recognise cocaine use?

In addition to the symptoms described above, one of the most common signs of addiction of any sort is simply a sudden or sustained shift in a person’s mood, behaviour and life. If you are concerned about potential symptoms and also see a loved one appear to change in behaviour and temperament significantly, they may be struggling with addiction as it takes greater hold over their life and priorities. We have compiled more information about cocaine and its effects on our facts page. This can help you understand how this highly addictive drug works. 

How can you help someone addicted to cocaine?

If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction we can help. You can call or email the Help Me Stop addiction treatment team free today to discuss your options.