Cocaine Addiction How It Starts Cocaine isn’t like other drugs. Cocaine addiction is a uniquely painful experience for users and their loved ones alike. Though some may claim that cocaine is not physically addictive, research has shown that it has powerful, lasting effects on the brain that make it one of the most addictive drugs in the world. Often seen as a party drug, cocaine is popular because it provides a burst of energy, coupled with feelings of confidence and pleasure. This is because cocaine significantly affects the brain’s natural reward system, causing mental energy, alertness, and euphoria. But cocaine is a fast acting drug, and its effects wane quickly, leaving you wanting more and more. Eventually, the same amount won’t do the trick. You may find yourself desperate for larger quantities of the drug, and put yourself in compromising positions as a result. Cocaine Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Effects While on cocaine, you may experience a rapid heart rate, higher blood pressure, and loss of appetite. When used frequently, particularly by addicts and binge users, other effects become pronounced. These include irritability, anxiety, nausea, nasal complications for those who snort the drug, and even psychosis and hallucinations. Many cocaine users also use other drugs at the same time, which can further complicate the addiction and make recovery more difficult. Cocaine Withdrawal Unlike opiates like heroin and alcohol, those who have become dependent on cocaine experience few physical symptoms when they stop taking the drug. However, cocaine withdrawal is still tough. It’s important that you or your loved one understands that many of cocaine’s withdrawal effects will be psychological, and may not be easy to see or diagnose. Without cocaine, you or your loved one may struggle with depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and other challenging symptoms. Recovering from a Cocaine Addiction Though it isn’t easy, recovering from cocaine addiction is absolutely possible and it’s within the power of the individual to overcome this serious and often devastating addiction. First, it’s important to understand that the addiction is not a reason to feel shame, or to blame oneself. Addiction is a disease and must be treated as such. Recovery won’t look exactly the same for any two people, but it may involve counseling as well as time spent at a substance abuse treatment center.