Cocaine Addiction and Cocaine Addicts

Cocaine addiction is a common problem worldwide. Cocaine addicts have common backgrounds and precursors to cocaine addiction. Learn more about cocaine addiction.

Cocaine addiction, also known as cocaine abuse, is a common problem in the United States and worldwide with 2.8% of people in the United States having used cocaine in the last year1, and 10% of new cocaine users going on to heavy use of cocaine. Many countries feel cocaine addiction has reached epidemic proportions.

Cocaine Addiction: Cocaine Addiction Throughout History

Cocaine addiction has been common since the late 19th century when Europeans became interested in cocaine once it was extracted from the coca plant. Cocaine facts show cocaine was initially analyzed for medical uses but soon became popular among artists and intellectuals, one of which was Freud who was addicted to cocaine and believed (falsely) it could be used to cure depression and alcohol dependence.

Cocaine addiction became more common in the late 1970s when crack cocaine was invented and made cocaine addiction more common in inner-cities in the US. 1980 saw a huge increase in the number of cocaine addicts as cocaine became a popular club drug. Cocaine use declined until 1991 when cocaine use and the number of cocaine addicts increased.

Cocaine Addiction: Who Becomes Addicted to Cocaine?

Cocaine use has shifted from occasional club-drug use, which was less likely to lead to cocaine addiction, to crack cocaine use in inner-cities where crack cocaine addiction is common. Crack cocaine addicts commonly:

  • have a family history of addiction
  • come from poverty
  • are older
  • are involved in criminal activity

Men are more likely than women to try cocaine, but are not more likely to become cocaine addicts. Cocaine addicts typically move from first trying cocaine to cocaine addiction within one year.2

Cocaine addicts also commonly have another psychological problem before becoming addicted to cocaine; cocaine use becomes their way of dealing with problems. Often sadness, loneliness and anxiety precede addiction to cocaine.3

It's important to remember though, anyone can become a cocaine addict. Cocaine addiction does not discriminate.

Cocaine Addiction: Being a Cocaine Addict

Most cocaine addicts are crack cocaine addicts due to how inexpensive crack cocaine is. Cocaine addicts typically have relationship and employment problems, with many cocaine addicts being unable to keep a job.

Cocaine addicts commonly use cocaine with other drugs like alcohol and marijuana. Cocaine addicts often manage cocaine side effects and cocaine withdrawal symptoms with medication like Valium, Ativan or heroin.

Cocaine addicts are at risk for many health and life problems such as:

  • Problems with the criminal justice system related to buying and selling cocaine
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders like depression and catatonia
  • Accidents or suicide when high
  • Headaches, facial pain
  • Convulsions, seizures
  • Stroke
  • Tolerance and dependence
  • Overdose
  • Insomnia
  • HIV, hepatitis B or C
  • Death
  • Nasal and sinus diseases
  • Recurrent nosebleeds and stuffiness
  • Chronic bronchitis, coughing, coughing up black phlegm
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain



article references​​​​​​​

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, December 15). Cocaine Addiction and Cocaine Addicts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Last Updated: December 29, 2021

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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