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What Is the Difference Between Methamphetamine and Cocaine?

methamphetamine and cocaineAn addiction to any drug can be devastating and even deadly. Methamphetamine and cocaine are two stimulant drugs that both have disastrous consequences. Drug addiction is a disease, but there is treatment available. Understanding the differences between a meth addiction and cocaine addiction can be important for diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding Stimulants: Methamphetamine and Cocaine

While methamphetamine and cocaine are both stimulants, they are two different drugs. Meth and cocaine do have medical uses, but when these drugs are bought off the street illegally, they are rarely pure and instead are often cut with other drugs, including the dangerous opioid fentanyl. Both methamphetamine and coke increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, but they do so in different ways. One of the most noticeable differences between methamphetamine and cocaine is that the high from meth lasts far longer, sometimes even for days.

Both drugs have similar effects, which include anxiety, paranoia, increased blood pressure, faster heart rate, and decreased appetite. Even some withdrawal symptoms are similar, including a “crash” or depression afterward as well as tiredness, irritability, chills, and body aches.


Meth is man-made, meaning that the drug is derived from chemicals and is considered to be part of the amphetamine family. Methamphetamine abusers get hooked so easily because of the effect the drug has on the brain’s reward system.


The finished product of cocaine is man-made, but the drug ultimately comes from the coca plant. In addition to cocaine, there is a second form referred to as crack cocaine or just “crack.” This is an altered form that is man-made to be smoked. When cocaine is taken, dopamine is flooded in the brain which creates the high.

Treatment for Methamphetamine and Cocaine Addiction

Both methamphetamine and cocaine are extremely addictive drugs. A psychological dependence can easily occur when these drugs are taken and both of these drugs have risks of overdose, especially when taken in combination with other drugs. The reality is that any drug addiction can be risky and leave addicts feeling stuck. However, there is treatment available. Treatment for methamphetamine and cocaine addiction can begin with a medical detox and inpatient drug rehab. At a reputable rehab facility, like The Watershed, underlying issues that cause addicts to turn to substances can be addressed in a safe setting.

If you are struggling with a cocaine addiction, methamphetamine addiction, or any type of substance use disorder, there is treatment available. You can recover from addiction at a reputable alcohol and drug treatment facility, like The Watershed Texas. For immediate help and questions about our drug rehab, contact The Watershed today at 1-800-861-1768.

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