Cocaine Addiction: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Last Updated: January 31, 2024

If you are in an immediate emergency, call 911. If you are looking for more information on substance abuse treatment and it is not a medical emergency, call our 24/7 Cocaine Helpline at 888-572-1994.

Cocaine has been a popular party drug for decades. It is a Schedule II substance, meaning that it has a high potential for misuse and dependence but there are still legal medical uses for it.

There has been a surge in cocaine use in the past five years, and an estimated 5.5 million U.S. adolescents and adults used it in 2019. However, cocaine abuse can have deadly consequences, and the drug has been found to be the leading cause of non-opioid overdose deaths in the United States.

Cocaine Abuse in Orlando

Due to their stimulant effect, coca leaves have been consumed in South America for more than a thousand years. Once cocaine was isolated from the plant more than 100 years ago, it became an ingredient in many medicines and was even included in early formulations of the soft drink Coke.

Currently, there are few legal uses of cocaine in Florida, and its misuse is a significant public health issue across the state. In Florida:

  • Cocaine-related deaths have more than doubled since 2015.
  • In the first half of 2020, more than 1,200 cocaine-caused deaths occurred.
  • Though not necessarily the official cause, cocaine was also involved in 1,851 deaths in the first half of 2020 — a 28% increase from 2019.
  • Across Florida, cocaine is commonly laced with the opioid fentanyl, which can be 50 times more potent than heroin.
  • While not the highest-ranked county in the state, Orange County ranks above average with 135 cocaine-involved deaths from January to June 2020.
  • The number of cocaine-involved deaths in Orlando has more than doubled since 2012. The majority of these involved other drugs.

Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine increases the level of dopamine in the brain, which can reprogram the brain’s reward system and impact the way it responds to stress. While cocaine use can range from occasional to compulsive, repeated and continual use can ultimately change the structure of the brain. The risk of becoming addicted to cocaine involves a range of factors, including brain chemistry, genetics, environment, life experiences and social circles.

Potential complications of cocaine addiction include:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Malnourishment
  • Chest pain
  • Panic attacks
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart attacks
  • Seizures
  • Strokes

Someone who uses cocaine frequently can also develop a physical dependence, meaning they need it to function properly and avoid feeling physically ill. Once dependence has formed, withdrawal symptoms will occur when cocaine use stops or the dosage decreases significantly.

Common Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine use alters the chemical balance in the brain and causes many people to feel exhilarated when they use the drug. Other effects of using cocaine include:

  • Euphoria
  • Talkativeness
  • Alertness
  • Anxiety
  • Overconfidence
  • Erratic behavior
  • Restlessness

The effects of snorting cocaine through the nasal passages are short-lived, lasting approximately 30 minutes. Smoking or injecting cocaine is more intense but lasts for an even shorter period, between 5–10 minutes. Most cocaine users will re-dose frequently to maintain the desired effects.

Cocaine misuse is particularly dangerous because continued use can strain the heart as well as weaken other vital organs. Cocaine can cause an overdose at any time, including the first time it is used. The most common serious health issues include heart attack, seizures and stroke.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment in Orlando, Florida

The appeal of cocaine can be the energy and elation that the drug creates. It often makes a person feel confident and upbeat while reducing appetite and the need for sleep. If addiction sets in, however, life can take a dangerous turn. It is one of the most common causes of death in Florida, but there is hope and help at the Orlando Recovery Center.

There are thousands of treatment centers across the country, but not every rehab option fits each person’s specific needs. If you are looking for help, find a center that offers evidence-based treatment for cocaine addiction and values patient comfort and safety. Finding a center that treats addiction to other drugs and co-occurring mental health disorders is also important.

The Orlando Recovery Center offers cocaine addiction rehab programs along with the highly experienced staff and resources needed to treat addiction effectively. Physicians and nurses work with clients to end cocaine use while addressing the physical and psychological symptoms behind an addiction. The Orlando Recovery Center’s treatment options include medical detoxificationinpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs, long-term aftercare support, telehealth and much more.

Our knowledgeable representatives are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more about available treatment programs, verify your insurance or begin the admissions process.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Stats of the State of Florida.” April 13, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2021.

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Deadly Contaminated Cocaine Widespread in Florida.” DEA Miami, February 2018. Accessed November 19, 2021.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by […]da Medical Examiners.” 2020 Annual Report, April 2021. Accessed November 20, 2021.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Drugs Identified in Deceased Persons by […]da Medical Examiners.” 2019 Annual Report, November 2020. Accessed November 20, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Cocaine DrugFacts.” April 2021. Accessed August 28, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What are some ways that cocaine changes the brain?” May 2016. Accessed November 19, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What are the long-term effects of cocaine use?” May 2016. Accessed November 19, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What are the short-term effects of cocaine use?” May 2016. Accessed November 19, 2021.

Quesada, Michelle. “Cocaine making a deadly comeback in Flor[…]ng to drug officials.” WPTV, January 1, 2019. Accessed November 19, 2021.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Results from the 2019 National Survey on[…]lth: Detailed tables.” Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2020. Accessed November 19, 2021.

Yulin, Hswen; Zhang, Amanda; Brownstein, John S. “Estimating the incidence of cocaine use […]lyrics about cocaine.” NPJ Digital Medicine, June 30, 2021. Accessed November 19, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What is Cocaine?” May 2016. Accessed December 1, 2021.

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