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.

What are symptoms and signs of cocaine abuse and addiction?

Cocaine-use disorder is an illness that is now diagnostically included as part of the condition called stimulant-use disorder. It used to be separated into the two disorders known as cocaine abuse and cocaine dependence. Cocaine-use disorder is characterized by a negative pattern of using cocaine that leads to significant problems or distress over at least a 12-month period and is characterized by at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Repeated cocaine use that interferes with meeting significant responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • Recurrent cocaine use in circumstances that can be hazardous
  • Continued cocaine use despite continued or repeated social, school, work, or interpersonal problems due to the effects of the drug
  • Tolerance is either a significantly diminished effect of cocaine or a need to substantially increase the amount used to achieve the same high or other desired effects.
  • Withdrawal, which is signs or symptoms consistent with withdrawal from cocaine, or taking it or a closely related substance to avoid developing withdrawal symptoms
  • Larger amounts of cocaine are taken or for longer than planned.
  • The person experiences persistent desire to take the drug or has made unsuccessful attempts to decrease or manage its use.
  • Substantial amounts of time are spent getting, using, or recovering from the effects of cocaine.
  • The individual significantly decreases or stops engaging in important social, recreational, work, or school activities as a result of using cocaine.
  • Craving or strongly wanting to use cocaine
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/25/2016

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