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Cocaine Signs & Symptoms

Cocaine Signs & Symptoms

Cocaine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug that claims thousands of lives in overdose deaths every year. Cocaine can also cause several long-term physical and psychological effects. If you’re struggling with cocaine abuse or concerned that a loved one is showing cocaine addiction signs, it’s important to get help as soon as possible.

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

Really, if you’re using cocaine regularly, you likely have a substance use problem that needs to be addressed. Over time a tolerance to cocaine develops. You need to increase the amount of cocaine to intensify and prolong its euphoric effects. Cocaine tolerance is a sign that you’re developing an addiction. There are also other behavioral and physical symptoms of cocaine addiction.

Signs / Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction Include:

  • Needing more cocaine to get the desired effects
  • Preoccupation with how you’ll obtain more cocaine and when you’ll use again
  • Financial, legal, and relationship issues due to cocaine abuse
  • Neglecting work and personal responsibilities because of cocaine use
  • Inability to stop or decrease cocaine use on your own
  • Using alcohol or other drugs with cocaine
  • Needing cocaine to feel “normal”
  • Using cocaine throughout your day or in everyday situations

If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs of addiction, cocaine has probably become the focus in your life. Outpatient treatment for cocaine addiction may not be enough to help you break the hold the drug has on you. Especially if you’re using it in addition to other drugs or alcohol.  Research shows long-term stays in inpatient drug rehab offer the best outcomes for people with severe cocaine dependence.

Signs of Cocaine Use in a Loved One

Addiction to cocaine is serious, and it can be scary to see a loved one ruin their life and health over cocaine abuse. If you’re worried about a loved one, look for these cocaine addiction signs or signs that they’re using cocaine:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle twitches
  • Fidgety behavior
  • Odd sleep patterns and long periods of wakefulness
  • Periods of high, almost frenzied energy
  • Weight loss
  • Financial issues
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Poor concentration
  • Problems at work and with personal relationships
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom or other excuses to leave situations briefly

This is not an inclusive list of cocaine addiction signs. A problem with cocaine isn’t always obvious. Drug abusers who’ve been using cocaine for long periods of time may be good at hiding their addiction. They may have developed a tolerance to cocaine and are now in the stage of addiction where they’re using it to just function “normally.” Signs of an addiction to cocaine may be more elusive in people who’ve abused cocaine for longer.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine Abuse?

Although the physical symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are more moderate than many other drugs, psychological symptoms can be extremely challenging. Many people experience an overwhelming urge to start using again during detox. Depression is also common. The effects of cocaine addiction can have both short-term and long-term consequences.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

 Short-term effects of cocaine addiction include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Convulsions
  • Panic attacks
  • Chronic runny nose
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Bizarre, erratic, and violent behaviors
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle twitches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Paranoid psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Malnourishment and weight loss

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Long-term effects of cocaine addiction may include:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and panic disorders
  • Stroke
  • Inflammation of heart
  • Aortic ruptures
  • Bleeding of the brain
  • Movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease
  • Tears and ulcerations to the gastrointestinal tract
  • Damage to nasal septum
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Death

It takes time to repair the physical and psychological damage from cocaine abuse. While some of the effects of cocaine addiction are irreversible, with medical help, substance abuse treatment, and dedication to long-term sobriety, you can prevent further physical and psychological harm.

Can You Have Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

Another unwanted effect of cocaine addiction is withdrawal when you quit using it. While cocaine withdrawal is typically not as painful or dangerous as other substances like alcohol or opioids, it can be uncomfortable and psychological symptoms can be long-lasting.

If you’ve been abusing stimulants like crack cocaine, you’re at risk for physical discomfort and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Some of these may include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Severe cravings for cocaine
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Fluctuating energy levels
  • Inability to feel pleasure from anything other than drugs and alcohol

The cocaine withdrawal timeline is different for everyone. In general, any short-term physical symptoms subside in days. Mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety can continue for weeks or months. You should never attempt to quit using an addictive substance on your own. Always consult with a physician or attend a detox center program.

How Do You Treat Cocaine Addiction?

Just like any type of drug addiction, you need to address the reasons why you’re abusing substances to maintain sobriety. Otherwise, you’re at real risk for relapse when you quit using drugs or alcohol. Once you eliminate cocaine from your system, an addiction treatment program can help you identify triggers for drug abuse and teach you healthier ways to cope with difficult experiences and emotions.

Some common underlying themes behind drug and alcohol addiction include:

  • Undiagnosed co-occurring disorders (mental illnesses like anxiety and depression)
  • Trauma from emotional or physical abuse
  • PTSD
  • Unhealthy early attachment styles
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor coping skills
  • Grief and loss

These issues are prevalent across any kind of substance use disorder, whether it’s alcohol or cocaine abuse or heroin addiction and prescription drug addiction. Staff at an addiction treatment center are trained in specialized therapies to help you address these underlying emotional wounds and realize how you’re using drugs and alcohol as a way to “self-medicate” them.

Addiction treatment is also a place where you’ll build a toolbox of relapse-prevention skills to use when you face triggers back in everyday life. You’ll learn self-care practices as well as activities that support sobriety like:

  • Therapy
  • 12-step groups
  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness
  • Structure in daily life
  • Spirituality

Looking for Cocaine Addiction Treatment?

Addiction recovery is possible. Vogue Recovery Center provides effective treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders in a comfortable, private setting. Our inpatient and outpatient programs include:

  • Drug and alcohol detox
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Traditional and alternative treatments
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Continuing care planning

There’s help for you and your loved one. Call us today for insurance verification and to learn more about our treatment programs.

References

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/1673778
  3. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-short-term-effects-cocaine-use
  4. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-long-term-effects-cocaine-use
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12633913

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