Why is Cocaine So Addicting?

By February 7, 2018 August 24th, 2020 No Comments
Depressed girl sitting in a dark tunnel with words that say Why is cocaine so addictive?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is made from coca plants. Coca plants originate in South America. Large amounts of cocaine are brought from South America into the United States illegally. Although the effects of the drug only last approximately five minutes to an hour, cocaine can completely alter the brain.

Why is cocaine so addicting? How does cocaine alter your brain? When the brain is working properly, it releases dopamine on a regular circuit. This is the reward chemical messenger of our brain and it provides sensations of happiness and pleasure. When an individual uses cocaine, the circuit of dopamine release becomes irregular and builds up. It then releases the dopamine at a much larger amount. This creates an intense feeling of pleasure and euphoria. Once the high is over, the brain is still releasing dopamine in an irregular circuit. The cocaine has altered the circuit. Once an individual’s dopamine levels begin to decrease regularly, they begin to have symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms include depression, unpleasant sleep and dreams, fatigue, and decreased rates of processing thoughts. Once these symptoms kick in, the brain craves the feelings of euphoria and pleasure even more. Which often results in the individual becoming addicted to the drug.

Once an individual becomes addicted and the drug is used regularly, their brain will begin to build up a tolerance for the cocaine. This means that the individual will have to continue to use more and more of the drug in order to feel the same feelings of euphoria and pleasure that they had felt from their first high. Although the brain has been altered, there are still ways to recover from the addiction.

Schick Shadel offers a medical-based addiction treatment for cocaine addicts.

Our team of medical professionals at Schick Shadel Hospital have helped more than 68,000 people in the past 80 years using a medical approach to beat addictions for drugs such as opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, benzodiazepines, and amphetamine. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call us at (800) 272-8464 to speak with one of our intake specialists to learn more about our counter conditioning method, or fill out our online form to send us a confidential message to begin your process of seeking help. Your call and information is always 100% confidential.


Why Is Cocaine Addictive? Effects, Signs and Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from

NIDA. (2016, May 6). What is Cocaine? Retrieved February 14, 2018 from

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