A-Z Teen Health Glossary

What Is Teen Cocaine Abuse?


Cocaine is an extremely addictive, illegal stimulant that produces a reaction of increased energy, feelings of elation or happiness, and talkativeness, while also raising the blood pressure and heart rate.  Teen Cocaine abuse treatment is a growing necessity in almost every community throughout the U.S.. Usually, cocaine is either snorted in the powder form, or injected, after being dissolved into water.


Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment | Teen Drug Rehab | Paradigm Malibu


What Teen Cocaine Abuse Looks Like




Because the cocaine high lasts a relatively short amount of time (about 5-30 minutes, depending on the form of the drug) people who use often will begin to binge (take it repeatedly, in quick succession,) in order to make their high last.  These users will often build up a tolerance to the drug and therefore, over time, the quantity they take will have to be increased in order to produce and sustain the same high.  This dynamic can easily and quickly lead to severe addiction.




Cocaine addiction is a serious and dangerous disease that causes changes in the brain, which create a physical addiction to the drug, causing people to persist in using the drug, regardless of any and all potential risks.  These risks have negative effects on people’s physical well-being, mental well-being, relationships, and more.


Effects on the Brain


Cocaine can change the makeup of the brain, and can have even quicker, more lasting effects on a teenager’s brain, which is still developing.  Cocaine produces its characteristic high by immediately dumping an excessive amount of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter which signals that something potentially enjoyable or rewarding is about to occur.  Because the drug is so directly connected with brain activity, with repeated use, it can disrupt normal brain functioning, potentially causing long-term effects.  This causes recovery from addiction to be extremely difficult after a long time of using, as the brain continues to craves the drug, even after relatively long periods of not taking it.


Effects on the Body


There is a long list of negative health effects caused by cocaine use, the most dangerous being that cocaine administered in any way can dump enough toxins into the body to cause heart or respiratory failure, or seizures, each of which can be fatal.  This is because cocaine raises body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, which explains why most people who die from an overdose suffer cardiac arrest.  Other effects of cocaine use can include, but are not limited to:


  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Bowel gangrene
  • Nosebleeds
  • Problems swallowing
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia


Relational and Other Effects


Any substance abuse leads to conflicts and tension in relationships, both personal and as related to school or other responsibilities.  Because cocaine is such an addictive drug, has such severe physical effects, and is potentially fatal, the stress and tension cocaine abuse can cause is amplified that much more.


There is arguably no real casual or recreational use of the drug, especially for teens, which is why any cocaine use is abuse.  Beyond the legal risks, teens that use cocaine are also risking their minds, their healthy hearts, their relationships, their academic standing, and their lives.  This amount of risk puts the surrounding loved ones and/or parents under an extreme amount of stress and pressure, feeling the responsibility of the teen’s drug abuse and recovery, on their shoulders.


Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment


Because cocaine is so addictive and has such severe effects, it’s of utmost importance to seek treatment as early as possible, before lasting and perhaps permanent damage has been done.  Teen cocaine abuse treatment must be as comprehensive as possible, addressing all the different aspects of the drug abuse, including physical, mental, relational, and behavioral issues.


The first priority of teen cocaine abuse treatment is to help a person stop the cocaine use, and then, secondly, to not return to using, either in the short or long term. There are several different aspects of treatment that help with this, including both physical and psychological approaches.


In order to treat the teen holistically and empower him or her not to return to cocaine use, therapists help the teen also address the underlying stresses, feelings, issues, and/or concerns that trigger the need or desire for cocaine.  In time, the teen can learn to address these aspects of life in healthy ways, so that they’re not tempted back into using.




What if I only use it once in a while?


Teen cocaine addiction happens so quickly and easily that using any cocaine at all is putting yourself at serious risk.  As a teenager, the drug affects you more strongly and can cause permanent damage to your brain. Using cocaine once in a while is too often, and you should look into why you use it at all, what underlying stress you might have, and who you can turn to for help.

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