Cocaine Abuse: Signs and Symptoms - Addiction Answers

Cocaine use is on the rise. Whether it’s your life or the life of a loved one, chances are you will cross paths with the drug more than once.

A recent drug threat assessment by the DEA determined that cocaine is now more available than ever, and instances of deaths and addictions have risen as a result. With the recent ubiquity of the drug, it’s important to stay educated on what cocaine does to the brain, what cocaine addiction signs are, the ever-present dangers of the drug, and what the treatment options are.

Read on to learn more about cocaine, cocaine abuse, and the dangers of addiction.

What We Know About Cocaine, Cocaine Addiction, and Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug that works by enhancing dopamine levels in the circuits of the brain that trigger body movement as well as reward centers. It works by targeting the central nervous system, giving the user feelings of euphoria and sharp spikes in energy.

Street nicknames for cocaine include the following:

  • Blow
  • White
  • White Girl
  • Snow
  • Bump
  • Dust
  • Rock
  • Crack

To ingest cocaine, the user can snort, smoke, or even dissolve and inject it. Depending on the method, the potency varies: smoking and injecting are more intense, while snorting is less potent and lasts longer.

No matter how it’s taken, the effects are short-lived, with snorting lasting around 20 minutes and injecting or smoking lasting around 10 minutes. This often leads to many repeated doses throughout a single period of time.

Signs of Cocaine Abuse

In many cases, cocaine use is anything but subtle: most users experience sudden, extreme bursts of energy that lead to talkativeness, enhanced anxiety, and uncharacteristic mood swings. By learning to spot the symptoms, you can tell pretty easily whether a user has taken the drug.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Depending on whether you snort, smoke, or inject, the effects of cocaine can be felt almost immediately. They are typically extremely intense and short-lived, leading the user to do multiple doses in rapid succession.

Here are the most common short-term effects of cocaine use:

  • Sudden and extreme spikes in energy
  • Inflated self-worth and belief in one’s own capabilities
  • Rapidly improved mood
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound, and other stimuli
  • Feelings of paranoia and anxiety
  • Increased anger/irritability

A person who has taken cocaine is noticeably energized and may exhibit behaviors that are atypical to the way they usually act. Plus, they might seem excessively talkative and difficult to be around, especially for anyone who hasn’t taken cocaine.

Side Effects of Cocaine

While there are many effects that are considered “favorable” by cocaine users, these come at a price. Side effects of cocaine use can be felt alongside the high, or even long after taking the drug.

Here are some of the most common side effects of cocaine use:

  • Nosebleeds and tears/holes in nasal membranes when snorted
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Teeth grinding and lockjaw
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart palpitations
  • Heart attacks and increased risk of heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Damage to lungs
  • Problems with mood due to depleted dopamine levels
  • Issues with sex drive and sexual performance
  • Increased risk of seizures and convulsions

Despite the side effects, many cocaine users continue taking the drug, eventually becoming very apathetic and negligent of their own health. This starts the short and narrow path to cocaine addiction.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

While the effects of cocaine are initially intense, they lose potency over time with repeated use. This is because the body develops a tolerance to the drug, causing it to need more of it in order to achieve the same high.

Additionally, repeated use of cocaine over time can lead to lasting health effects that may result in premature death. These long-term effects, as well as the high risk of overdose, are just a few of the reasons never to do the drug in the first place.

Here are some of the long-term effects of cocaine use:

  • Depleted energy and chronic fatigue
  • Cardiac issues
  • Frequent headaches
  • Noticeable and unhealthy amounts of weight loss
  • Bloodborne illnesses when injected, such as HIV or hepatitis

Repeated cocaine use wears away a user’s health over time, leading to a number of complications that could result in death. In any case, the reward is not worth the risk.

Cocaine Addiction Signs

Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs out there, with the potential to form a nagging habit in as little as one use. Once a user becomes addicted, their life (and health) can quickly go downhill.

Here are some of the most common signs of cocaine addiction:

  • Lack of adherence to personal and professional obligations
  • Deteriorating relationships with friends and loved ones
  • Increased reckless behaviors, such as driving under the influence, hanging out with sketchy crowds, or partaking in crimes (especially theft of money to pay for drugs)
  • Lack of interest in hobbies and other recreation
  • Disregarding negative side effects and continuing cocaine abuse, despite the consequences

A person who is addicted to cocaine will often use the drug on a daily basis. Over time, they become dependent on the drug, abandoning many aspects of their life that they once cared about.

Signs of Cocaine Withdrawal

Because the body becomes dependent on cocaine, it relies on that steady supply in order to function normally. If a user stops taking cocaine, this can lead to withdrawal symptoms that make it extremely difficult to quit, such as difficulty concentrating, depression, thoughts of suicide, restlessness, and cravings that become more severe over time.

To quit completely, many users need rehab and professional intervention in order to regain control of their life. It’s not an easy road, but recovery from cocaine addiction is possible.

Dangers of Cocaine Use

In recent years, the instances of cocaine-related overdoses have skyrocketed due to many of the drugs being laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin. It’s extremely easy to overdose fentanyl, especially when the user is unaware of its presence in the cocaine.

On top of that, cocaine itself has a high risk of overdose, mainly due to heart complications resulting from repeated use. Either way, it’s an easily habit-forming drug that isn’t worth the risk.

Stop Cocaine Abuse Today

Cocaine is a deadly and addictive drug that can quickly take over the life of whoever uses it. Now that you know more about cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction, take the steps to stop cocaine abuse today.

If you or someone you know are struggling with cocaine addiction, contact us now at (877) 555-6050.

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