A-Z Teen Health Glossary

Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment

Cocaine is an extremely addictive stimulant that produces a reaction of increased energy, feelings of elation or happiness, heightened motivation, and increased heart rate. It is a scheduled drug and is rarely used for medicinal purposes as a topical anesthetic and/or analgesic. In the past, liquified cocaine was a common form of local anesthesia, and made early eye surgery possible. Today, most cocaine is produced and sold illegally. Usually, cocaine is either snorted in powder form, or injected, after being dissolved into water.

What Does Teen Cocaine Abuse Look 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 take it repeatedly, in quick succession in order to make their high last. This can quickly lead to an addiction.
  • Teens are particularly susceptible to cocaine addiction do to differences in younger brains versus fully-formed brains. Addiction has severe negative effects on people’s physical well-being, mental well-being, relationships, and more.
  • Cocaine can change the makeup of the brain, especially in teens. Cocaine use can lead to severe cravings, jitteriness, lack of sensation in the mouth, lips, or nostrils, as well as long-term damage to a teen’s sensory organs, brain, and bowels.
  • Cocaine use can also lead to heart problems and respiratory failure, especially if taken too frequently or in large amounts. Teens who appear jittery, often suffer from nosebleeds, and are generally going through cycles of mania and low energy may be abusing cocaine or a similar stimulant.

Signs of Teen Cocaine Abuse


Loss of sense of smell


Stomach aches


Problems swallowing


What Causes Teen Cocaine Abuse?

Drug availability – the majority of cocaine use begins because of the high availability of cocaine. Regardless of whether a teen starts using cocaine because others told them to, or because everyone else has started using as well, most cases of cocaine abuse begin because the drug was available in a large abundance. Teens of all people are much more likely to engage in risky or illegal behavior if it’s the norm, and if it’s likely to build a desired image. Most teens are aware of the risks and consequences of cocaine use, which is why cocaine use has been on a steady decline for decades. However, some teens may still go through with it, despite the consequences and risks involved with cocaine use.

Genetic susceptibility – most people who try cocaine will never try it again. Some people will try it several times, and a few get addicted for years to come. Very many factors influence whether a teen will get addicted to cocaine, the most common being how often they use the drug. But genetics play a role as well. Some teens are more likely to get hooked on certain substances than others.

Stress and trauma – while ill-informed and risky choices are often caused by plain ignorance or lack of forethought, many teens are silently struggling with serious mental health issues or the stress of abuse and trauma. Rather than share these issues with others who they don’t trust, they may turn to drugs as a way to make the pain go away and focus on something else.

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Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment | Paradigm Malibu

How Can I Help My Teen with Cocaine Abuse?

Find out why they’re abusing cocaine – even if it’s just to impress some friends or to try it out, most teens do what they do for a reason. It can be hard for parents to understand the reason, whatever it may be, but do your best to try and place yourself in your teen’s shoes and figure out what thought process led them down this path. More than anything else, refrain from piling onto your teen if they do have the courage to tell you why they started using drugs. The last thing your teen needs is to fear your judgment to the point that they completely refrain from telling you anything about themselves, including why they do what they do. Be open about your own feelings of frustration and disappointment but be sure your teen understands that the best thing they can do is be equally honest with you, as well.

Build a trusting relationship with your teen – if you didn’t know about the drug abuse to begin with, or worse yet, if you hadn’t known that your teen was going through something that ultimately drove them to start using drugs, you may be struggling to maintain a trusting relationship with your teen. That’s relatively normal, especially for a teen growing up to become a young adult. They’re going to make choices you don’t agree with, and they’re going to make mistakes they won’t necessarily tell you about. Nevertheless, it’s important to stress to your teen that no matter how much they may fear your judgment or anger, your primary goal is to uphold their best interests, and help them become a happy and responsible adult – that includes knowing when they’re neither happy nor responsible.

Help them seek cocaine abuse treatment and recovery resources – teens who use drugs need treatment. Addiction, much like any other disorder or disease, requires professional attention and, in some cases, medicine. Recovery facilities, a long-term recovery plan and access to local resources for drug abuse treatment are all necessary to help a teen in the middle of an addiction turn their life around and make progress towards getting better.


year-olds are most likely to get addicted, as research has shown


of 12th graders have used cocaine recently, down from 2.9% in 2012


of 12th graders in 2015 have stated it would be “fairly easy” for them to buy cocaine if they wanted to

What Types of Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment Are Available?

Treating cocaine abuse mostly takes time and patience, and the guidance and supervision of trained professionals in some stages of the fight. It can be very difficult to break the habit early on, and the first few months after going fully sober can be emotionally and psychologically torturous for some individuals.

While the withdrawal period itself is not usually physically dangerous, it can be very uncomfortable depending on the severity of the cocaine addiction, and it’s a generally-wise precaution to consult a medical professional if your teen is going to go through withdrawal. After that, there are several options for cocaine abuse treatment.

Residential Drug Treatment

It’s easiest to wait out the worst bits of early recovery within a specialized facility that treats teens with addiction problems. The temptation of getting another hit and knowing exactly how to get one is part of why it’s so hard to get clean and stay clean on your own, especially in your own home. A specialized drug treatment facility can make this early stage much more tolerable, while slowly getting teens accustomed to what they should expect now that they’re sober.

Talk Therapy

Many teens have trouble coping with their emotions as is, and this is further compounded by the emotional stunting that addiction promotes. When an addictive drug becomes a teen’s only coping mechanism, they’re often putting a cork on the proverbial volcano that is their grief, pain, and daily struggle with the consequences of addiction. Working through that is another reason why early recovery can be very difficult – but with the guidance of a therapist, this part of the recovery process becomes much more doable.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is an excellent tool to help a recovering addict continue to seek help after a recovery program has been completed. Both family therapy and group meetings with other addicts can help teens express their troubles and anxieties, speak to others about their experiences with addiction, and learn more about how other people have dealt with issues similar to their own.

Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment at Paradigm Malibu

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. Paradigm Malibu works hard to address this requirement by helping teens tackle their cocaine addiction in a multi-faceted approach, while helping each teen’s family members better understand what they have to do to continue treatment afterwards.

A Drug-Free Environment

The first priority of teen cocaine abuse treatment is to help teens stop using, and then help them figure out how to stay clean. This might be simple on the surface, but addiction describes the immeasurable need for a drug, much like thirst or hunger. Teens going through cocaine abuse treatment will be irritable, angry, sad, and generally steeped in a rollercoaster of emotions.

Afterwards, in order to treat a teen holistically, a therapist must take into consideration the biological, psychological, and sociological factors at play. Teen cocaine abuse treatment at Paradigm Malibu focuses on helping teens get through the early stages of recovery, and then understand the road ahead.

Resources for the Future

Treatment at Paradigm Malibu is only just the beginning for many teens struggling with cocaine abuse. From there, the next step is to find ways to cope with everyday life and lead a life that helps nullify the craving for another hit. Time plays its part as well, reducing cravings over months and years. Paradigm Malibu helps teens and their parents seek out the resources they need to map out a solid plan for the future.

“ This place saved my son!! It's the one program that allowed my child to continue his school work. The parent weekend involvement/training changed all of our lives. The place is beautiful, the staff highly qualified and always available to help. It's been almost a year since my child left and he still calls occasionally for guidance. I could not ask for more.“

– Clarke Simpson-Delp

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Cocaine Abuse

What if I only use it once in a while?

Cocaine is a poor drug to experiment with. It’s very addictive, very dangerous, and even just one hit wires the brain to go for one more. That doesn’t mean it gets you addicted after one hit – nothing does – but it is among the most addictive substances on the planet. If you’re a teenager, your risk of addiction is much higher because of the fact that your brain is still in its developmental stages. Teen cocaine addiction happens so quickly and easily that using any cocaine at all is putting yourself at serious risk.  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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