Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Cocaine is an illegal drug that is harmful to your health and highly addictive, especially through prolonged use as this can lead to addiction.
Originally designed for anesthetic purposes, it is now most commonly sold as a street drug and obtained for its side effect of an intense euphoric high. As a result of its high potential for abuse and limited medical use, cocaine is considered a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
Using cocaine can potentially cause a number of short and long-term health effects including heart attack and even sudden death. This may be difficult to learn, especially if you have taken cocaine, but it is important to know the risks so that you can make an informed choice. Help is available if you want to quit taking cocaine.
If you have taken any amount of cocaine, you should consult a medical professional for peace of mind. In the case of extended cocaine use, you may have developed a physical dependency on the drug. This is known as addiction or substance use disorder and requires professional care at a treatment center in the form of detox. Knowing the warning signs of cocaine addiction can allow you to seek help as soon as possible.
The good news is people can and do recover from cocaine addiction. At Ebb Tide, we understand how difficult it can be to make the first step towards recovery, but our caring and experienced staff are here to help.
Call us today for confidential advice about your cocaine addiction and start your recovery.
What is Cocaine?
There are two primary forms of cocaine. These are cocaine and crack cocaine.
Cocaine typically presents as a fine white powder that has a bitter taste. It may come in other colors such as grey, brown, or black, depending on how it was made. As cocaine is an unregulated street drug, you can never be completely sure what is in it. It is commonly cut with other substances such as crushed opioids or caffeine to bulk out supply. Users are unaware of these other substances being combined with cocaine, so this increases the risk you take when using cocaine.
Cocaine is most commonly snorted, but it is also often smoked or dissolved in water and injected. Each method comes with its own individual and addiction health risks. For example, snorting causes damage to the nasal tissues, smoking causes damage to the lungs, and injecting risks infections such as sepsis and HIV.
The effects of taking cocaine are rapid, depending slightly on how it is administered. However, the initial ‘rush’ is short-lived and can wear off within minutes. This quick come-down encourages further use, which is what makes cocaine so dangerous. As the rush dies down, cocaine users may feel anxious or depressed and have a desire to take more drugs.
Taking cocaine in any form and by any method is always dangerous.
What is Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is a crystallized form of cocaine and usually resembles an off-white ‘rock’. Crack is nearly always smoked, which provides rapid onset effects just like smoking powdered cocaine.
Some people consider crack more dangerous than cocaine. This popular misconception is mostly down to social stigma. The bottom line is that there are no pharmacological differences between cocaine and crack. They both pose risk to your health and well-being.
What are the Risks of Cocaine Abuse?
Cocaine is a central nervous stimulant. This means it speeds up messages sent between the brain and the body.
As a result, cocaine can make a person feel euphoric, alert, energetic, and talkative. It can also make a person exhibit behavioral symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, and panic.
Other short-term negative consequences include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Constricted blood vessels
- Dilated pupils
- Decreased appetite
- Sleep problems
These symptoms of cocaine use can lead to severe medical complications such as seizures, heart attack, or even sudden death. Cocaine users also risk injury or death due to risky behavior such as driving under the influence.
There is no way of knowing how you will react to cocaine, which is why it is never worth the risk. You might have taken cocaine once and think you can handle it, but your body will suffer from prolonged use even if you don’t see the effects immediately.
Long-term effects of cocaine include:
- Cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and strokes
- Weight loss and malnourishment due to suppressed appetite
- Higher likelihood of infections like pneumonia
- Lung problems such as lung disease (if cocaine is inhaled or smoked)
- Chronic nose bleeds and damage to nasal tissues including nasal perforation (if cocaine is snorted)
- HIV and Hepatitis C (if cocaine is injected)
- Cognitive impairment
- Exacerbated existing mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder
- Panic attacks
The more cocaine you take, the greater the risk of addiction. This becomes a vicious cycle.
Addiction is an all-consuming brain disorder where drug abuse is continued despite adverse effects to a person’s life. With the right help and support, there is no reason why you can’t turn things around and have the life you deserve.
What Are the Signs of Cocaine Addiction?
Addiction happens because drug abuse distorts your brain’s natural reward systems. When you take cocaine or other substances, it sends a rush of dopamine to your brain which sees this as a reward. Your brain receives dopamine through other means such as music or food, but drugs provide dopamine quicker and through prolonged use, your brain adapts to this supply of dopamine and begins to crave it at all costs.
An addiction to drugs is known medically as a substance use disorder. It is a medical condition that requires professional treatment.
Physical symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
- Chronic nose bleeds
- Dry mouth
- Dilated pupils
- Weight loss
- Sleep problems including insomnia
- Excessive sweating
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety
You might not want to accept that you have a problem with drug abuse. Perhaps you think you have it under control, or could stop at any time. Denial is common in addiction. Many people manage to hide the depth of their addiction from friends and family for a while, but over time, addiction consumes every aspect of your life.
Behavioral signs of cocaine addiction include:
- Poor performance at school or work
- Poor hygiene and self-care
- Isolation from friends and family
- Dropping responsibility and commitments
- No longer pursuing things that were once important
- Joining a new social circle
- Secrecy, dishonesty, and lying
- Defensiveness when confronted about drug use
- Financial issues
- Risky behaviors including driving under the influence, shoplifting, or unprotected sex
Admitting you have a drug problem is the first important step to recovery. It is important to know that addiction can happen to anyone and does not discriminate. There is no shame in addiction and help is available.
What Does Addiction Treatment Look Like?
Addiction treatment begins with a detox that rids the body of all substance traces.
How long the detox process takes depends on your personal health profile, the length and severity of your drug use, and if you have co-occurring substance abuse problems such as alcohol use disorder. However, most detoxes take one to two weeks.
For peace of mind, it is recommended that you detox under professional supervision at a treatment facility. This is because detoxing can be dangerous due to some withdrawal symptoms. Not to mention, it is incredibly difficult to detox alone. Help is available and will only enhance your chance of long-term successful recovery.
What are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?
Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are usually unpleasant but manageable. They are also short-lived and ultimately worth it for a chance to turn your life around. When you detox at a treatment center, you will be supported during this difficult time. Do not fear detox; it is simply addiction leaving the body.
Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:
- Mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
- Vivid dreams
- Increased appetite
After you have no more drugs in your system, your treatment will focus on the psychological side of addiction. Through a variety of therapeutic treatments, you will unpick why you turned to substance abuse in the first place. Tools such as coping mechanisms as well as ongoing support and community are vital during and after addiction treatment.
Get Help For Drug Abuse Today
At Ebb Tide, we believe that people can and will overcome drug addiction with the right treatment and care. That is why we offer affordable, personalized plans at our specialized treatment centers.
Call us today to see how we can help you overcome your cocaine addiction.