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Cocaine Abuse


Cocaine abuse is a pattern of use that causes health or other problems. Abuse can include using large amounts of cocaine at one time or using it several times each day or week. You may start needing more cocaine to get the same feelings of happiness you got from lower amounts. You may have withdrawal symptoms if you have used cocaine for a long time and you suddenly use less or stop using it.


Seek care immediately if:

  • You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.
  • You have a seizure.
  • You have a temperature over 101°F (38.3°C) after you use cocaine.
  • You cough or spit up blood.
  • You have severe abdominal pain.
  • You have a severe headache, confusion, or feel very nervous.
  • You have weakness on one side of your body.
  • You have chest pain, sweating, or shortness of breath.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your problems.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Signs of cocaine abuse:

Cocaine abuse may lead to problems being around others, doing your job, or new medical problems. You may have the following problems:

  • Use of more cocaine than you first wanted to use
  • No ability to decrease or control your use of cocaine
  • Spending much of your time using cocaine, or dealing with a hangover after you use cocaine
  • Less time spent around others, at work, or doing activities that you enjoy
  • Continued cocaine use, even when it causes physical or mental problems

How cocaine may affect your baby:

  • Cocaine may harm your unborn baby's brain, heart, stomach, and bowels. It also increases your risk of a miscarriage, early delivery, or stillbirth. Cocaine can cause long-term medical problems for your baby.
  • Your baby may go through withdrawal after he is born. He may have seizures, problems waking, or feeding. He may overreact to sounds or movement by violently jerking or jumping. He may vomit or have diarrhea. He may have learning difficulties or other behavior problems when he gets older.

Signs and symptoms of cocaine withdrawal:

Withdrawal happens when you have used cocaine for a long period of time, and you suddenly take less or stop taking it. Symptoms may begin within a few hours after you decrease or stop taking cocaine and may include the following:

  • Severe sadness or fatigue
  • Restlessness, nervousness, or anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping or difficulty waking up
  • Unpleasant dreams that seem real
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not really there
  • Sweating, shaking, or a fast heartbeat
  • Seizure

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

For support and more information:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    PO Box 2345
    Rockville , MD 20847-2345
    Web Address:
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
    6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 5213
    Bethesda , MD 20892-9561
    Phone: 1- 301 - 443-1124
    Web Address:

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Cocaine Abuse (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.