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My Loved One is a Cocaine User: How Can I Help?

Even if you have never personally struggled with an addiction before, it is likely that you know someone who is a cocaine user now or in the past. As one of the most popularly abused drugs in the U.S., cocaine is a common culprit for those who suffer from a substance use disorder.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with cocaine abuse, it is only natural to want to find ways to help them overcome this habit. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help them stop using this dangerous drug.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug derived from the coca plant native to South America and has been used for many years for its ability to produce stimulating energy-boosting effects. However, cocaine’s euphoric properties are also what causes it to be so addictive.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that while it poses a high risk for abuse, it maintains an accepted medical use in the United States. However, these medical applications are very limited.

This drug is most commonly found in the form of a white, crystalline powder, although it can also be distributed in the form of small white “rocks.” When sold illicitly, cocaine may be referred to by nicknames such as “Blow,” “Crack,” “Snow,” “Coke,” and various others.

It is most commonly abused by either snorting, smoking, or injecting it, with each method producing different highs. Of course, it is important to note that there is no safe way of using cocaine and that each of these methods comes with significant risks.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug overdose deaths involving stimulants, primarily cocaine, rose from 12,122 in 2015 to 53,495 in 2021. As these numbers only continue to grow, it is more important than ever that those struggling with cocaine addiction have access to effective treatment options and support.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse?

Because of the serious risks cocaine abuse can carry, it is important to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of this substance use disorder before it is too late. Some of the most common signs of cocaine addiction include:

  • Lying about whereabouts or becoming more secretive and socially withdrawn.
  • Trying but failing to stop using cocaine without help.
  • Participating in reckless and risky activities, such as driving while under the influence or having unprotected sex.
  • Borrowing or stealing money or cocaine.
  • Getting into work, school, or legal trouble.
  • Declining self-care and poor hygiene habits.

While these are just a few of the potential signs of cocaine use, if you or a loved one is showing any of these cocaine addiction signs, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Cocaine abuse can have life-threatening consequences, but recovery is possible with the right treatment.

How Harmful is Cocaine?

There is no understating how dangerous cocaine abuse can be. Not only is it distressing for both the addicted individual and the people around them, but abusing cocaine can have serious consequences in both the short and long term.

Some of the most common short-term effects of cocaine use can include:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Constricted pupils
  • Dilated blood vessels
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Talkativeness and euphoria
  • Decreased appetite
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Irritability and paranoia
  • Hallucinations and delusions

There is also a risk of overdose when taking large or multiple doses of cocaine in a short period of time, which can be fatal. When this drug is abused in the long-term, it can lead to negative health effects such as:

  • Addiction
  • Heart problems, such as arrhythmias, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • Respiratory problems, such as asthma and pneumonia.
  • Digestive problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Neurological problems, such as seizures, headaches, and tremors.
  • Mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis.

Reach Out For Help With Cocaine Addiction

Are you or a loved one struggling with cocaine addiction?
Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound is here to help you recover. Because we care.

How Can I Help Someone Who Uses Cocaine?

Now that you understand just how dangerous cocaine can be, you may be wondering what you can do to help someone who is struggling with this drug. There are many ways that you can support an addicted loved one, including:

  • Educating yourself: The more you know about their addiction, the better equipped you will be to help your loved one understand the short-term and long-term effects of cocaine abuse, as well as what treatment options are available to them.
  • Talking to them: Once you feel confident in your knowledge about cocaine addiction, have a conversation with your loved one about your concerns. It is important to avoid being judgmental or accusatory, but be honest and compassionate and let them know that you are there to support them.
  • Encouraging them to seek help: If your loved one is ready to quit cocaine, you can help them find a treatment program that is right for them, as well as point them to support groups that can allow them to connect with people in similar situations.
  • Being supportive: Recovery is a journey, and there will be setbacks along the way. Be patient and supportive with your loved one, and offer them encouragement and motivation as they navigate their road back to sobriety.


While it is important to know how to help your loved one, it is important to know how to take care of yourself during this time as well. It is important to set boundaries with your loved one and let them know that, while you want to help, you will not tolerate their drug use or enable their behavior.

It is also essential that you make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly, as well as have a support system of your own. After all, you cannot take care of anyone else if you are not first caring for yourself.

Treating Cocaine Addiction at Royal Life Centers

At Royal Life Centers, we provide the comprehensive and effective care each of our clients needs to successfully recover from their substance use disorders and maintain lasting recovery. When it comes to treating cocaine addiction, we offer a full continuum of care to those seeking treatment, including:

  • Medical detox
  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Outpatient care
  • Medication management
  • Behavioral and holistic therapies
  • Sober living and aftercare support


Whether you are seeking cocaine addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, we are here to make sure you receive the best care possible. Reach out to our compassionate treatment team to learn more about how our program can be a great fit for you!

We understand that making the decision to get professional help can be scary. That’s why we make sure to work with our clients every step of the way on their recovery journey. If you are ready to start working toward a happier, healthier life, call us at 877-RECOVERY today. Our admissions team is available 24/7 to help you learn more about how our treatment programs can help you.


Lisa Tomsak
Medically Reviewed by Lisa Tomsak, DO

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