Cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction. This white powder is typically snorted but some rub it onto their gums or dissolve it in water and inject it with a needle. Others heat up the rock crystal and smoke the substance. While many people who experiment with cocaine say it’s harmless, recreational cocaine use can very quickly spiral into abuse and addiction. Cocaine abuse comes with many long-term risks that can affect someone’s personal life, relationships, career, finances, overall health, and more. If you think a loved one may be using cocaine, read on to learn more about how to tell if someone is on cocaine, the physical signs of a cocaine user, and how to get them the help they need.
Side Effects of Using Cocaine
Cocaine is a stimulant that works by releasing dopamine throughout the body, a chemical that’s known for inducing happiness. This release of dopamine creates a pleasurable sensation known as euphoria. People who use cocaine may also notice that they feel extremely energetic and alert after using the drug. However, after the positive effects subside, it’s possible for the negative side effects of cocaine use to set in. The physical signs of a cocaine user can 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 signs of cocaine use and abuse.
Behavioral Signs of Cocaine Use
It may be hard to tell when someone is using cocaine, but if they use it frequently, they may display some cocaine behaviors. Some of the most common behavioral signs of cocaine use and abuse, or cocaine behaviors, include:
- Mood swings
- 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
Physical Signs of Cocaine Use
There are also physical signs of cocaine use to look out for. Physical signs of cocaine use include:
- Dilated pupils
- Bloody or runny nose
- Hoarse throat/voice
- Weight loss
- White powder around the nose
- Runny nose or frequent sniffles
If a family member or a friend is displaying these behaviors, they may be struggling with cocaine abuse and addiction. While cocaine addiction is treatable, it can cause some significant health concerns.
Risks of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
The more an individual uses cocaine, the more their brain will adapt to the drug. As they develop a tolerance to the drug, this individual will continue to need more and more cocaine to experience the same “high”. This can easily lead to cocaine abuse and 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. Abusing cocaine can also lead to an addiction, so it’s important to watch for the signs of a cocaine addiction. Some signs of a cocaine addiction include the behavioral symptoms listed above. Using cocaine can also contribute to the development of long-term mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Additionally, people who use or abuse cocaine are at a high risk for experiencing an overdose, which can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms of cocaine overdose include trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, sweating, confusion, tremors, anxiety, panic, and paranoia. If you witness someone overdosing on cocaine, contact emergency medical services so you can get them help as soon as possible.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
If someone wants to quit using cocaine, they should not stop suddenly. When a person stops using cocaine cold turkey, their body will go through a process called withdrawal which can be fatal if not treated appropriately. Cocaine withdrawal can cause intense side effects like agitation and restless behavior, depression, fatigue, discomfort, increased appetite, vivid dreams, suicidal thoughts, and a fever. Additionally, the craving for cocaine can last for months after stopping use of the drug.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options
If you think that a loved one may be addicted to cocaine, it’s important to approach them with care and concern. You should express that you care for them, and you just want them to be happy and healthy. It’s vital not to judge your loved one or criticize them for their actions. And you should be prepared for some push-back; they may not want to admit that they have a problem right away. The most important thing you can do is show your loved one that you’re there for them and will help them get the help they need.
Many substance abuse treatment centers like Silver Pines offer programs tailored to individuals who are addicted to cocaine. Cocaine addiction doesn’t 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.
If you need help for your loved one, we’re here for you. At Silver Pines, we offer whole-person and holistic residential cocaine addiction treatment to help individuals recover what matters most to them. We also offer drug detoxing for those individuals that need it. To learn more about the treatment options at Silver Pines, contact our team today at 267.719.8689.