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Is Cocaine Addictive?

Cocaine is a drug that is often abused recreationally for the euphoric high it causes. But is cocaine addictive?

Is Cocaine Addictive?

Yes. Cocaine is addictive because it causes many of these symptoms or behaviors in chronic, recreational users:

  • Tolerance
  • Psychological dependence
  • Cravings
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Change in attitude toward friends, family, and responsibilities
  • Desire for the drug above all else

If you notice that you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you are likely already addicted to cocaine.


A person will build up a tolerance to cocaine if he or she is using it chronically, the onset of which may happen very quickly. According to the NIDA, “many cocaine abusers report that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first exposure.” People often use more and more of the drug when trying to “intensify and prolong their high.” This can be very dangerous and often leads to overdose.


cocaine abuse

Cocaine is an addicting, dangerous substance.

Someone who abuses cocaine often may become dependent on the drug. He or she might feel the need to do cocaine just to feel normal. This is a strong sign of addiction. If you depend on the use of cocaine this much, you will likely experience cocaine withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug. These symptoms, according to the NLM, include:

  • Craving
  • Agitation
  • Slowed movements
  • “Generalized malaise”
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Stronger appetite
  • “Restless behavior”

Cocaine withdrawal can be very dangerous to the person as the depression often lasts for several weeks and can cause suicidal thoughts.


Drug cravings are a strong sign of drug addiction. Some people become dependent on a drug and do not realize it, meaning that they do not experience cravings even though all other forms of withdrawal are present. But because cocaine is a recreationally abused, illicit drug, most users experience cravings. This can lead to the person seeking more of the drug without the thought to the harm that it might cause him or her. The term for this is drug-seeking behavior and it can end up leaving the user in a potentially harmful situation.

Behavioral Changes

People who are on cocaine are awake and alert when abusing the drug. Cocaine is a stimulant and it “increases the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating pleasure and movement” (NIDA). When someone is on the drug, he or she will be euphoric, alert, and usually very keyed-up. Coming down from cocaine causes the opposite, and the person crashes. The NIDA Teen also states that the “positive mood can also change” after coming down from cocaine, and the person can become paranoid, nervous, and irritable or angry.

Someone who is addicted to cocaine will often exhibit these emotions if another person attempts to talk to him or her about that cocaine abuse. The person will probably stop wanting to do other things (like go to work, go to school, and spend time with friends and family), only wanting to do more cocaine and experience the high from the drug.

Cocaine is addictive and causes many behavioral, physical, and psychological signs which point to that addiction. If someone you know might be addicted to cocaine, get him or her to seek treatment immediately.