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Cocaine addiction & rehab

Cocaine addiction is a medically recognised chronic brain disorder, strongly characterised by relapse.

Cocaine, a powerful stimulant with addictive and psychoactive properties primarily acts on the brain’s limbic system and dopamine transporters, interfering with the brain’s natural system that controls and regulates motivation and emotions.

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Cocaine addiction is a medically recognised chronic brain disorder, strongly characterised by relapse.

Cocaine, a powerful stimulant with addictive and psychoactive properties primarily acts on the brain’s limbic system and dopamine transporters, interfering with the brain’s natural system that controls and regulates motivation and emotions.

+- What is cocaine addiction?

Cocaine addiction is a medically recognised chronic brain disorder, strongly characterised by relapse.

Cocaine, a powerful stimulant with addictive and psychoactive properties primarily acts on the brain’s limbic system and dopamine transporters, interfering with the brain’s natural system that controls and regulates motivation and emotions. 1

Use of cocaine produces inordinate amounts of dopamine that build up in the brain. Dopamine is one of the prominent natural feel good chemicals that we receive as a reward for engaging in healthy activities that are necessary for our survival and happiness. Activities such as eating, exercising, sex and spending time with loved ones.

When cocaine is introduced into the brain the euphoric high is so pronounced that the brain lays down a memory. With repeated use of cocaine and continued damage to brain cells, the brain’s natural system alters to prioritise cocaine above all else. This life changing brain alteration is what causes those suffering from cocaine addiction to exhibit a distinct lack of control around cocaine. 1

In addiction, the alterations in the brain cannot be fully reversed, even with the cessation of all drugs. This is why this insidious condition is considered incurable. Many who suffer from cocaine addiction are unable to break the cycle of compulsive cocaine use, even when cocaine’s negative effects become life-threatening. 1

Cocaine help

If cocaine has become a problem in your life, or in the life of someone you care about, you’ll be well aware that cocaine is a powerfully addictive substance that has a habit of quickly creeping up on people.

What often starts off as recreational cocaine use can easily turn into regular cocaine abuse and ultimately cocaine addiction. The physical and psychological ‘come down’ from cocaine, coupled with the intense high brought about by using the substance, often creates an extremely turbulent emotional state and overwhelming drug cravings.

In long term use of cocaine, anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia and depression are not uncommon. The unmanageability and consequences brought about by a cocaine problem can be horrific and traumatic.

At Delamere we offer exemplary cocaine rehab in first-class purpose-built facilities. We have proven that anyone can recover from cocaine addiction with the right help and treatment. Our bespoke treatment programmes address all aspects of the individual and effectively treat any co occurring illnesses.

Our free assessment takes place over the phone, providing you with the opportunity to talk about what’s happening. Our Delamere treatment experts will be able to advise you on how our professional cocaine help can assist you and your family.

Struggling with cocaine addiction? Talk to us today
For more information, or to speak to a member of our team, call now.
Call us: 0330 111 2015

+- Signs & symptoms

If you are concerned that a family member, work colleague or friend has a problem with cocaine and needs cocaine help, there are some signs and symptoms that would indicate they are suffering from cocaine addiction.

Cocaine addiction is more than just a ‘problem’ with cocaine; it is a medically recognised chronic brain disorder, progressive in nature, that requires very specialised and bespoke treatment.

Cocaine addiction not only affects the sufferer physically and mentally but also affects other areas of their life such as their personal relationships, social life, work, school and finances.

A cocaine addict cannot be cured of their condition but they can be successfully treated. Treatment comes in the form of detoxification, rehabilitation and ongoing support. This way a cocaine addict can successfully stop using cocaine, learn invaluable tools to maintain recovery and undergo treatment to heal the issues that underpin their addiction.

Cocaine addiction treatment should combine medical care with therapy, using a holistic person-centred approach that treats all aspects of the person. This is what we deliver, here at our Delamere cocaine rehab facility in Cheshire.

The signs and symptoms of a cocaine addict include:

  • Enlarged pupils. As a powerful stimulant, cocaine enlarges the pupils giving a ‘wide-eyed’ appearance
  • Teeth grinding and jaw swinging
  • Unusual hyperactivity and enthusiasm
  • Agitation
  • Unusual confidence and chattiness
  • Increased libido and sexual activity. Cocaine often causes a person to engage in sexual activity that they normally wouldn’t when free from cocaine
  • Unreliability
  • Appearing frequently intoxicated
  • Money going missing, selling items, borrowing money and spending never ending amounts of money on cocaine, whether they can afford to or not
  • White powdered residue around their nostrils, sniffing and rubbing their nose persistently
  • Problems with interpersonal relationships
  • Staying up all night binging on cocaine
  • Appearing panicky, anxious and paranoid during a comedown
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, change in appearance
  • Change in circle of friends
  • Continuing to use cocaine despite negative or harmful consequences

If you suspect that someone you know is a cocaine addict, it is important to try and broach the subject with them. Left untreated cocaine addiction often kills.

If you would like advice on how to talk to a cocaine addict, please call our helpline and speak with one of our addiction treatment experts. Or, better still, encourage the person you are concerned about to call us directly.

Long-term side effects of cocaine abuse

Abusing cocaine for prolonged periods of time does not come without consequences. Cocaine is an extremely toxic Class A substance.

Not only does cocaine impact on the brain but long term use can also cause side effects to the rest of the body. The effects of long-term cocaine abuse can be irreversible and life threatening so it is important to get the right help if you have a problem.

Long term side effects of cocaine abuse include:

  • Addiction
  • Increased risk of heart damage
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of Myocarditis
  • Increased risk of Aortic rupture
  • A severe decline in cardiac functions
  • Severe depression This occurs due to changes in the brains pleasure reward system through repeated use of cocaine
  • Increased anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Sensitization. Sensitization is where less cocaine is needed to produce anxiety, convulsions and other toxic effects
  • Toxin build up in the liver and brain reducing efficiency
  • Seizures
  • Tolerance
  • Increased risk of overdose. Long term cocaine users are more prone to overdose due to sensitisation, tolerance and a build up of toxins in the body
  • Increased risk of psychosis 2

In addition to the above risks, snorting cocaine can cause permanent damage to the nasal septum and sinuses. Injecting cocaine comes with a whole host of risks related to injecting including contracting HIV and hepatitis. Smoking crack cocaine can permanently damage the lungs and cause a worsening of asthma. 2

The longer a person abuses cocaine the more at risk they become to cocaines toxic side effects. Cocaine will not only affect the person using it in a variety of negative ways ( including personal relationships, social life, work and finances) but will also affect those that love and care for them. This is why it is important if you have a problem with cocaine that you seek help sooner rather than later.

If you are worried about your cocaine use in any way please do call and have a chat with us at Delamere. We know how dangerous cocaine addiction and abuse can be, we also know how to successfully overcome it.

+- Cocaine rehab services

It is an established fact that the most effective way to treat cocaine addiction is through intensive residential treatment (conventionally known as detox and rehab). Over the years, our team have helped hundreds of clients recover from cocaine addiction. Unlike conventional rehab programmes, we don’t believe in prescriptive or rules-based treatment planning. At Delamere we recognise that whist the symptoms of cocaine addiction are similar, the reasons why people struggle are unique. With this in mind you can expect a varied and immersive process that helps you uncover the reasons why cocaine became a problem in the first place as well as a set of unique and practical tools to help future proof your recovery. You can read more about our addiction treatments.

+- Cocaine treatment at Delamere

If you have tried and failed to stop using cocaine, you will have hopefully conceded that professional cocaine help is now the way forward. You’ll want to know who we are and how our treatment works, that’s what these pages are about.

Delamere is a private clinic that specialises in treating addiction on a residential basis. It is our belief and experience that with the right treatment and support anyone can permanently break the cycle of cocaine addiction. Our advanced cocaine rehab programmes are supported by a full range of after care services, including family support, counselling and relapse prevention.
We place a tremendous emphasis on holistic care, treating the whole person rather than just the ‘symptom’. As well as traditional one-to-one and group therapy we offer innovative treatments such as mood management and trauma therapy which help to future-proof your recovery. Our cocaine treatment programmes tend to last 4 – 6 weeks and you can read more about our approach and care ethos here.

What makes Delamere different? Find out here


  1. The neurobiology of cocaine addiction NCBI Hyman and Malenka, 2001; Kalivas and McFarland, 2003; Koob, Sanna, and Bloom, 1998; Nestler, 2001
  2. Riezzo I, Fiore C, De Carlo D, et al. Side effects of cocaine abuse: multiorgan toxicity and pathological consequences. Curr Med Chem. 2012;19(33):5624-5646.

+- FAQs

1. What makes cocaine and crack cocaine so addictive?
On one level, brain chemistry is responsible. Cocaine and crack cocaine increase the levels of a chemical called dopamine which gives a sense of euphoria and wellbeing. Regular users of cocaine become accustomed to increased dopamine levels – such that when they don’t use the drug they feel ‘lacking’ and depressed. Cravings and an incessant thought of cocaine often feature.

2. How do I know if I have become addicted to cocaine or crack cocaine?

If you’ve come this far on this page, the chances are cocaine has become a major problem for you or someone you’re trying to help.

  • Do you ever used more cocaine than you intended to?
  • Does cocaine interfere with your work, relationships or finances?
  • Do you feel depressed, guilty or remorseful after using?
  • Is the thought of cocaine or acquiring cocaine a regular feature in your thoughts.
  • Have you started using cocaine on your own?
  • Do you have to use more cocaine than you used to?
  • Have you tried to stop or moderate your use and failed?
  • Have your friends or family commented on your drug use or asked you to seek help?
  • Are you frightened of stopping using cocaine?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, the likelihood is you have a problem. Please contact our admissions team and we’ll outline what a way forward looks like. And, by the way, we’re not here to judge. Our admissions team is made up of people who have been there.

3. What are the signs and symptoms of cocaine or crack cocaine abuse?

If you are concerned that someone you love or perhaps someone you work alongside is using cocaine, you may observe some of the following common signs and symptoms of cocaine use:

Physical signs of cocaine use

  • Dilated (enlarged) pupils
  • Frequent lack of appetite
  • Runny nose, sniffling.
  • White powder around nostrils
  • Weight loss / weight gain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nose bleeds
  • Sweating

Behavioural signs of cocaine use

  • Irritability
  • Poor decision making / impulsivity
  • Dishonesty
  • Over confidence
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Use of pornography / escorts

Read more about helping a loved one and organising an intervention in the following sections.

4. How do I help a loved one or colleague who’s addicted to cocaine?

Living alongside someone who has a cocaine problem is exhausting, painful and confusing. Despite the fact that the person you may be trying to help could be in denial, it’s important that you take some action. Doing nothing only exacerbates your feeling of hopelessness and does nothing to encourage the person you care about to seek help. At Delamere we offer intervention services for families and concerned others who are trying to help someone who is resisting treatment. We also offer free support and advice about how to speak with someone who has a cocaine problem. Feel free to contact us via our helpline and we’ll take some time to help you plan a way forward.

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Individual care

As no two people at Delamere ever come to us with identical addiction problems, so no two people will ever experience identical care and treatment.

This page has been reviewed by Dr Catherine Carney, Delamere’s psychiatrist
This page has been reviewed by Mike Delaney, Clinical Director at Delamere

Let us help you today

Start your recovery journey by calling our admissions team today.

Confidential. Straightforward. Friendly.

Call now: 0330 111 2015 Visit the contact us page