Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that produces surges of energy and keeps people awake. Most people abuse cocaine because the drug floods the brain with dopamine, associated with pleasure and feeling good.
Over 7% of high-schoolers have used cocaine in their lifetimes, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports. More than 14% of people age 12 and older in the United States have used cocaine as well.
There are two types of cocaine: a powder and a rock called crack cocaine. Both are generally smoked, snorted, or injected. Recognizing the early signs of cocaine addiction isn’t as challenging as with other drugs. So, if you believe someone might be struggling with addiction, keep reading to learn the warning symptoms.
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What Are The Signs of Cocaine Abuse?
Because cocaine is usually snorted, injected, or smoke, it’s easy to recognize the signs of cocaine abuse by seeing white powder residue around the nose and mouth, burn marks on the hands and lips, track marks on the arms and legs, and drug paraphernalia in the person’s room or clothes. Things like short, chopped straws, rolled-up dollar bills, small baggies or vials with white residue, razor blades, scratched-up mirrors or CD cases, crack pipes, and syringes are all types of cocaine paraphernalia.
The first indicators of drug use are:
- Showing up late or missing school or work
- Not caring about things that used to matter to them
- Not keeping promises
- Getting in trouble with the law or breaking the rules
- Getting violent with other people
- Engaging in risky behaviors
Physical signs of cocaine abuse include:
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Sudden weight loss
- Impaired sexual function
- Inability to smell
- Difficulty swallowing
Behavioral and mood signs of cocaine abuse include:
- Failure to meet responsibilities
- Legal and financial problems
- Exited speech
- Fast speech
- High levels of energy
Psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction:
- Violent behavior
Most of the withdrawal symptoms and signs of cocaine abuse are psychological. Watch out for irritability, unexpected mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, and depression. Most users will find these symptoms overwhelming, and that’s when they’ll start using more and more of the drug. It’s essential to take action as soon as possible to prevent an overdose.
Long-term Effects of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can pose severe risks to a person’s health and wellbeing. The long-term effects of cocaine abuse include overdose and organ failure, to name some. Long-term abuse can also lead to blood vessel constriction, which results in unhealthy blood pressure. Snorting cocaine can lead to damage to the nasal cavity and septum that might be irreversible.
Because the effects of cocaine only last for about 30 minutes, cocaine abusers tend to use high quantities of the drug when using. They might also pair it with other substances such as alcohol, opioids, and other drugs to enhance and extend its effects.
There’s also evidence that cocaine abuse increases your risk of infections like pneumonia, HIV, and hepatitis C. Furthermore, those with a history of cocaine abuse are 30% more likely to show signs of myocardial damage and experience heart health problems.
In addition, cocaine has severe impacts on the brain and its health. Cocaine abusers tend to have depression, an increased risk of dementia, and other mental illnesses that can trigger suicidal ideation.
Take Our “Am I a Drug Addict?” Self-Assessment
If you’re unsure whether you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, take our complimentary self-assessment quiz below. The evaluation consists of yes or no questions that serve as informational resources to assess the severity of a substance use disorder. The test is confidential, free, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
When Cocaine Use Turns Into Addiction
Regular use of cocaine eventually causes someone to become tolerant to the drug and its effects. When this happens, someone needs higher doses to feel the same impact as they once did. Eventually, people spend long periods of time obtaining the drug, using it, and recovering from cocaine use. However, this all becomes harder as they will likely start experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
By then, it’s common for cocaine users to withdraw from family and friends and to start failing to meet their responsibilities.
When someone loses their ability to control their substance use, we call this addiction. Addiction affects the reward circuit in the brain and tricks the person into associating their drug of choice with feeling good. Eventually, the body becomes so accustomed to functioning with the substance that it needs it to operate. Otherwise, the body experiences withdrawal symptoms, and the brain sends signals to trigger cravings, which is why people relapse.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include fatigue, drowsiness, depression, mood swings, and intense drug cravings. While the physical withdrawal symptoms of cocaine aren’t as dangerous as with other drugs, the emotional symptoms can be challenging to manage without help.
Early intervention and recognition of the signs of cocaine addiction are essential to help someone addicted to cocaine find the right path to recovery. At our Lighthouse Recovery Institute treatment center in South Florida, we treat cocaine addiction with evidence-based behavioral therapies.
The first step to help someone struggling with cocaine withdrawal symptoms is to follow a detox protocol. Quitting cold turkey and by themselves can be life-threatening. However, a medical facility with supervision can help monitor and control symptoms like cocaine cravings and anxiety.
We focus on providing comprehensive treatment solutions that address addiction from multiple angles. We thoroughly assess your mental and physical health to determine the best rehab program for your needs.
Recovery from cocaine addiction is a lifelong journey that we know doesn’t end when you leave rehab. Our programs offer aftercare planning to set you on the right path to long-term recovery. Part of what makes us unique is that we set realistic goals and a treatment plan from the beginning to make sure we’re setting you up for success.
If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine abuse and seeking treatment, don’t wait any longer. Call us today at 866-308-2090 and speak with a caring addiction counselor to learn about our rehab programs.