Did you know that 14% of U.S. adults have tried cocaine, while one in 40 adults have used it in the past year?

With such a high rate of cocaine use in the United States, perhaps those that fall victim to it the most, are women. In fact, a study done by the Society of Neuroscience revealed that women have an exceptionally high susceptibility to becoming addicted to cocaine. Oftentimes, the desire for women to use cocaine comes from a combination of social, familial, environmental and genetic influences. Especially for those women who have a lower self-esteem and compare themselves to society’s idea of beauty, the effects of cocaine (such as the sense of euphoria felt when it is initially snorted and its appetite-suppressing abilities), can make cocaine use seem very attractive.

Cocaine affects men and women differently. A study done by the National Institute of Drug Abuse shows that women are more susceptible to developing an addiction to cocaine, because they are psychologically more dependent. Regardless of the reason, cocaine effects on women prove to have debilitating short-term and long-term effects.

The effects of cocaine use on women include:

  • Abandonment of activities once enjoyed
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Anxiety
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Erratic or bizarre behavior
  • Fearfulness
  • Hallucinations
  • Increase in body temperature, blood pressure or heart rate
  • Intense paranoia
  • Malnutrition
  • Menstrual problems
  • Muscle twitches
  • Nasal perforation
  • Psychosis
  • Reckless or risky behaviors
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Stealing money
  • Violence or violent mood swings


An addiction to cocaine requires the appropriate substance abuse treatment, in order to better the chances of success for long-term sobriety; however, women and men both benefit from treatment that is tailored specifically to each gender. Because motivating factors for cocaine use differ between men and women, the ways of approaching substance abuse treatment should differ as well. While men may be better suited for established cocaine treatment techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy, women may have a higher rate of success with treatments based on the fundamentals of stress reduction and therapy.

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