Cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug with a high potential for abuse. This white powder is usually snorted, but can also be injected or swallowed. While many people who experiment with this drug say it is harmless, recreational cocaine use can very quickly spiral into abuse. Cocaine abuse comes with many long-term risks that can affect someone’s personal life, relationships, career, finances, and overall health.
Side Effects of Using Cocaine
This stimulant works by releasing dopamine throughout the body, a chemical that induces happiness. This creates a pleasurable sensation known as euphoria. People who use cocaine may also notice that they feel extremely energetic and alert. After the positive effects subside, it is possible for the negative side effects of cocaine use to set in. These symptoms may include:
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
- Fast heartbeat
These symptoms can be very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, but it’s not always clear when someone is experiencing them. If you think that someone that you love might be abusing cocaine, keep an eye out for the physical signs of cocaine use.
Signs That Someone May Be Using Cocaine
It may be hard to tell when a person is using cocaine, but if they use it frequently then signs will eventually begin to show. Some of the most common signs of cocaine use and abuse include:
- Dilated pupils
- Bloody or runny nose
- Hoarse throat/voice
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- White powder around the nose
- Runny nose or frequent sniffles
- Overconfidence and overexcitement
- Erratic or risky behavior
- Sleep pattern changes
- Long periods of wakefulness
- Ignoring hygiene
- Secrecy and lying
- Financial problems
- Missing or being late to work
- Loss of interest in hobbies
If a family member or friend is displaying these behaviors, they may be struggling with cocaine abuse. While cocaine addiction is treatable, it can cause some significant health concerns.
Risks of Cocaine Abuse & Addiction
Cocaine abuse can lead to a variety of physical health issues including, but not limited to: asthma, respiratory infections, higher likelihood of developing HIV, dementia, hepatitis C, pneumonia, stroke, damage to the nasal cavity, heart attacks, or even a coma. It can also contribute to the development of long-term mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
If someone wants to quit using cocaine, they should not stop suddenly. When a person stops using cocaine cold-turkey, their body will be confused and will try to re-adjust to not having drugs around. This process is known as withdrawal. Cocaine withdrawal may cause side effects like drug cravings, depression, suicidal thoughts, irritability, and fever.
People who use or abuse cocaine are at a high risk for experiencing an overdose, which could be deadly if it goes untreated. Symptoms of cocaine overdose include trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, nausea and vomiting, sweating, confusion, tremors, anxiety, panic, and paranoia. If you witness someone overdosing on cocaine, contact emergency medical services as soon as possible.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options
If you think that a loved one may be addicted to cocaine, approach them with care and concern. Express that you care for them and you just want them to be happy & healthy. Try not to judge your loved one or criticize them for their actions. Be prepared for some push-back; they may not want to admit that they have a problem right away. As long as you show your loved one that you are there for them and will help them get the help they need, they will eventually come around.
Many organizations and substance abuse treatment centers offer programs tailored to individuals who are addicted to cocaine. Cocaine addiction does not require medical detoxing, but it does call for psychological assistance and monitoring. Treatment for cocaine addiction typically includes a combination of medication, therapy, 12-step programs, support groups, educational resources, career assistance, mindfulness exercises, a nutrition plan, and more.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse, contact our team of addiction treatment representative by calling us at 866-345-2147.