Cocaine and Crack Abuse

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What causes and prevents cocaine abuse and addiction?

Like most other mental-health problems, cocaine-use disorder has no single cause, but there are biological, psychological, and social risk factors that can increase a person's risk of developing a chemical use disorder. The frequency that substance-use disorders occur within some families tends to be higher than can be explained by the addictive environment of the family. Therefore, most substance-abuse professionals recognize an inherited risk of drug addiction. This is particularly true for cocaine dependence.

Symptoms of mental illness that can be caused by cocaine-use disorder include mood disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, as well as personality disorders like antisocial personality disorder. Social risk factors for drug addiction include male gender, being 18 to 44 years of age, Native American heritage, single marital status, and lower socioeconomic status. Statistics by state indicate that people living in the West tend to be at higher risk for chemical-use disorder. Consistent with substance abuse in general, prevention of cocaine-use disorder is increased by circumstances like receiving adequate supervision, as well as clear indications from family members that cocaine use is not acceptable.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/25/2016
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  • Cocaine and Crack Abuse - Symptoms and Signs

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  • Cocaine and Crack Abuse - Effects

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