Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment

  • Cocaine is an addictive drug sourced from South America’s coca plant. As a stimulant-class drug, it has unique properties that cause increased energy, feelings of elation or happiness, heightened motivation, and increased heart rate.
  • Surprisingly, cocaine has been used for centuries as an anaesthetic and restorative tonic additive. Today, pharmaceutical-grade cocaine is only used during complex eye surgeries because of the dangers associated with it. Nearly all cocaine used in the US is illegal.
  • Cocaine addiction can be devastating and very difficult to treat. Teens who use cocaine often start with insufflation (snorting), experiencing an intense rush. Advanced users may even smoke or inject it for a faster rush.

What Does Teen Cocaine Abuse Look Like?

  • The cocaine high is short, lasting just 30 minutes at most. Furthermore, the drug produces extreme cravings during come down. Users feel forced to take it over and over again just to maintain their high. Addiction builds very quickly (in some cases, within just a few uses).
  • The teenage brain is especially susceptible to the influence of drugs like cocaine. Structural and developmental differences make most teens far more likely to develop addictions, even after just one use. Teens also lack the maturity to be able to clearly see how cocaine negatively impacts their health, mental wellness, and personal growth, tripling the potential for harm.
  • Research shows that heavy cocaine use may even alter the structural or chemical makeup of the brain, especially in minors. Other physical symptoms of chronic use are even more concerning: intense cravings, shakiness, numbness, and damage to the heart, lungs, and liver. Left untreated, cocaine addiction can be fatal.
  • Teens who are abusing cocaine often show specific symptoms, like jitteriness, anxiety, panic attacks, nosebleeds, delusions, or confusion. They may also struggle with insomnia or become paranoid.

Signs of Teen Cocaine Abuse

Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment

Lose of sense or smell

Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment


Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment

Stomach aches

Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment


Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment

Problems swallowing

Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment


What Causes Teen Cocaine Abuse?

Drug Availability – While teens as a whole are actually using cocaine less today than they once did, we know through research that a small number will still feel motivated to use at parties, clubs, and social gatherings. Availability is the key and illegal drugs are more accessible to teens in schools and social environments than ever before.

Motivation to Use – Most teens start using drugs like cocaine simply because it’s available and accessible to them. Often, they’re curious about the effects or experiencing peer pressure. Some may feel they have to try it to fit in or to improve their self-image, while others are self-medicating mental health problems. Because of their growing brain and lack of maturity, they may engage in these risky behaviors without giving much thought to the consequences.

Genetic Susceptibility – Teens who try drugs like cocaine often try it once, or even several times, and then never use it again because their curiosity is fulfilled. However, studies show that teens who have a familial tie to addiction (e.g., a parent or grandparent who was an addict to any substance, not just cocaine) are much more likely to become addicted themselves. Genetics play a strong role in a teen’s risk to become addicted, but it is important not to forget other influences like self-image, past trauma issues, or even simple peer pressure.

Stress and Trauma – Today’s teens are more stressed-out with higher levels of trauma than any other generation in the last 100 years. This, too, plays a role in how quickly they decide to use and/or keep using. Someone who is suffering from depression, for example, may try cocaine with friends and love how it makes them feel. Others may suffer from anxiety, yet feel confident when they use, self-medicating in social scenarios. Still others struggle with serious untreated mental health issues or abuse trauma; cocaine “numbs” the pain for a little while. It’s maladaptive, but in their eyes, it works – but they need to take more and more over time to achieve the same relief. Addiction occurs.

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Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment


the most common age for teens to become addicted to drugs like cocaine


of teens in grade 12 have used cocaine in the past three months


of all teens in grade 12 say it is “fairly easy” to access and buy cocaine

How Can I Help My Teen with Cocaine Abuse?

Find Out Why They’re Abusing Cocaine – They may be trying to impress their social peers, or they may be trying to mask the pain of trauma. In some cases, it could even just be for the simple fact that they enjoy how it feels, yet don’t recognize the potential for harm. As a parent, the best thing you can do is ask. Talk to your teen about why they’re using; try to find out what’s driving them to take the drug.

Often, parents struggle to understand how teens can justify their use – especially when it comes to drugs like cocaine. It’s important to remember that teens aren’t yet mature; they are often impulsive and don’t think consequences through before taking action. It’s okay to share with your teen that you don’t understand their motivations, but avoid judging them for their use if you can. The fact that they were brave enough to be honest with you is a step in the right direction. Otherwise, your teen may pull back and only start hiding the use, leaving them in harm’s way until they become critically-ill or even overdose.

Build a Trusting Relationship with Your Teen – Parents who discover their teens have been using drugs very often lose trust in them. Although this is normal, you should try to keep in mind that not telling parents every little detail about life challenges is fairly normal. The breakdown occurs when the teen in question feels so motivated to use drugs they actively hide it or avoid talking about it just to make their use possible. You may not like their choices, but judging them or becoming angry every time they bring up the subject will only separate the two of you further and cause more distrust. Instead, express your misgivings and frustration in a constructive way; tell them you care, you’re worried, and your job as a parent is to keep them safe from harm, responsible, and happy while upholding their best interests. Tell your teen that, no matter how much you dislike drug use or find using cocaine abhorrent, you always want them to feel comfortable with telling you. Getting help is far more important than keeping up appearances, even within your own home.

Help Them Seek Treatment and Recovery Resources – Remember that addiction is, in fact, a disease. Ultimately, what teens who are struggling with cocaine addiction need most is treatment – and that may include medicine. This process starts with an assessment and often includes spending time at recovery facilities, like Paradigm San Francisco. Successful recovery plans don’t always result in overnight success; instead, they focus on long-term healing and education. Teens who are addicted to drugs like cocaine CAN turn their lives around – they just need access to the right community resources and support to get better.

What Types of Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment Are Available?

It is extremely important for teens to seek help if they become addicted to any drug, not just cocaine. Treatment and rehabilitation is the way to achieve a better life, but it needs to be delivered by the right professionals in an environment conducive to healing in order to be effective. This is especially true early-on in recovery when the desire to use may far outweigh willpower or the ability to cope with cravings. As time goes on, teens become better equipped to say no, but they will still need emotional and psychological support for months or even years if they want to truly live a sober life.

Withdrawal from cocaine generally isn’t physical or potentially dangerous, such as with opiates or benzodiazepines, it can be extremely uncomfortable and emotionally challenging. Teens may experience severe anxiety, depression, or even, in some cases, psychosis. For this reason, medical detox is usually the first step. Once your teen leaves detox, he or she has far more options available to them for treatment.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is incredibly effective for teens who are struggling with addiction because it allows them to escape their everyday lives. Instead of being repeatedly forced to confront the same triggering experiences (such as socialization or school), they insead live temporarily within a highly-specialized facility filled with professionals who understand their needs. In fact, most research shows that residential treatment is by far the most effective option, both for long-term sobriety and comfort early in recovery.

Talk Therapy

Teens often have trouble sharing how they feel with their parents and friends. This is both because they lack emotional maturity and, where applicable, because they use drugs that numb their ability to express. Instead of developing new ways to cope, the drug becomes the “fix” that allows them to avoid dealing with their problems. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and past trauma aren’t as painful – but they aren’t healing, either. Once the drug is removed, all of the pain comes rushing back. Talk therapy can help teens replace their drug of choice with healthier coping skills while also working through their pain.

Group Therapy

Social scenarios are one of the most common triggers for drug use in teens. They see their friends trying drugs, so they jump in and experiment, too. Through group therapy, teens re-learn how to develop healthy relationships with friends, family members, and authority figures like teachers and parents. In peer support groups, teens also develop a stronger support network by learning how to ask for and give support from people just like them.

Teen Cocaine Abuse Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco

Cocaine is extremely addictive and can be physically devastating to the body. For this and many other reasons, parents who believe their teens are using drugs should seek help immediately. Don’t put it off, even if you think your teen is just experimenting. Teen cocaine abuse treatment should occur as early within their story as possible before their lives spiral out of control permanently. Early intervention from Paradigm San Francisco ensures teens get the physical, mental, relational, and behavioral support they need to grow up and become healthy, responsible, productive adults.

A Drug-Free Environment

Paradigm San Francisco is a safe, drug-free environment for teen cocaine abuse treatment. Teens who spend time with us don’t have to worry about triggers or temptations to use. Our large, sprawling property is rich with places to relax, unwind, and learn how to stop using without any of the usual daily life stress. Teens receive customized care to help them identify their motivators to use and then figure out how to stay clean. It doesn’t matter how difficult it is; we’re in it for the long haul to provide help for as long as they need.

Resources for the Future

Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco is the start of a new life for your teen after cocaine abuse and addiction. Even after they graduate, we help them find consistent ways to stay on track and engage in sober living. Paradigm’s experts give teens and parents the power and resources they need to seek a confident, empowered future without drugs.

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 S.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Cocaine Abuse

What if I only use it once in a while? 

Cocaine is an extremely addictive drug with a severe potential for physical side effects, like heart attack and stroke. As far as drugs go, it’s one of the most addictive, and that means you could dabble in it for months without a problem – but instantly find yourself addicted out of the blue. The fact that your brain is still growing raises your risk of becoming addicted and experiencing developmental delays significantly. This really is a case where “just one time” is really too many times because it just isn’t safe.

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