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Signs Of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is like any other drug in the sense that it will affect your body, mind, health, and life in a variety of ways. This is because it works by impacting the parts of the brain responsible for rewarding feelings and thoughts. As a direct result, it creates intense euphoria that might cause you to keep going back to it over and over again.

In case you suspect that a loved one has been abusing cocaine, you might have a hard time accepting the fact. However, you still need to inform yourself about the signs of cocaine use to ensure that you can make better assessments that could ensure you are of great help to your loved one.

In many cases, most of the signs linked to cocaine use and abuse can be observed easily on the general behavior and appearance of the user. You should also watch out for any long term behavioral effects of using this drug.

Although many people have a hard time distinguishing cocaine abuse and addiction, you don't have to be like them. The best way is by learning to identify the signs and symptoms of cocaine use.

Understanding Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug that will affect the CNS (central nervous system). It works by increasing the amounts of dopamine that the brain produces. As a direct result, using this substance on a regular basis often creates intense cravings for it - particularly when you get to the stage where you develop cocaine withdrawal syndrome.

In case you suspect that someone has been struggling with cocaine abuse and addiction, you need to act immediately. In this guide, we will explore some of the signs of cocaine use.

In particular, you need to understand that cocaine is unlike other popular recreational drugs - such as heroin - in the sense that it does not create severe physiological dependence on users.

Studies have shown that the rate of addiction for cocaine abuse tends to be far lower in comparison to that of methamphetamine or opioids. Additionally, some users might not even slip into the self-destructive habits common among substance abusers and addicts, like those who are dependent on alcohol.

However, when you factor in the psychological effects that cocaine causes, it is evident that the drug can still cause devastation and trouble in the user as well as in their life, work performance, and more.

Today, cocaine is widely considered to be the most powerful of all naturally produced stimulants. It is made from the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca plant that grows naturally in South America - which natives have been chewing over thousands of years.

Today, the drug is classified by the federal government and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it comes with a high potential for use and abuse although it might also be administered and prescribed by doctors for medicinal purposes.

Cocaine, in its powder form, is widely thought of as a high class and upscale drug. As such, it has been sensationalized and glamorized in music, television, and film. What most people don't know is that using this drug can lead to severe addiction, increased risk of hardened aorta and arteries and heart attacks, as well as significant financial losses.

Dealing with cocaine use and abuse is difficult, particularly when it happens to you to or a close member of your family. At this point, you might feel like you are completely powerless to ensure that it stops happening.

In particular, cocaine might make your loved one so consumed with it that every trace of their former selves is extremely extinguished. This is because the drug is such an addictive stimulant that even a single instance of use can start taking over your life.

Trying to help someone get on the road to treatment and eventual recovery and sobriety, therefore, might not be easy. Luckily, there are several options you can count on to ensure that this happens.

Cocaine Intoxication

The first step you need to take is to learn how to tell that someone is intoxicated on cocaine. Since this drug is a stimulant, it will typically cause the user to be extremely confident, energetic, and talkative.

The drug also creates a false sense of wellbeing and improvement, meaning that the user will have a higher likelihood of being sexual, excitable, and social - more so than they normally are. People who are intoxicated on cocaine might also seem like they are pumped up for no reason whatsoever. Additionally, the drug might diminish their appetite and cause them to experience disrupted sleep. They may also have dilated pupils. On the other hand, their behavior might change and come to include a general lack of judgement, hallucinations, delusional thoughts, excessive aggression, and paranoia.

All these will tell you that the person concerned is most likely intoxicated on cocaine.

Signs Of Cocaine Use/Abuse

As an addictive substance, cocaine is quite dangerous. As such, what might start off as harmless experimentation might eventually develop into a dangerous and potentially life-threatening and fatal addiction that comes with devastating consequences on the user's family, relationships, finances, career, and personal life.

The best way to tell that someone is abusing this drug, therefore, is by understanding the common signs of cocaine use. After that, you can get them the help they require even before their condition takes a turn for the worse. Some of these signs and symptoms include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Frequent sniffles
  • Long periods of insomnia or wakefulness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overconfidence
  • Over-excitement
  • Paranoia
  • Runny nose
  • White powder around their nostrils

Dangers Of Cocaine Use

One of the main dangers associated with cocaine use is its relatively high potential for addiction. However, the drug also poses a variety of adverse risks on the overall health of the user.

In most cases, there are many long- and short-term dangers associated with abusing this drug. These dangers range from organ failure to overdose. Additionally, using cocaine might constrict your blood vessels, which could lead to an increase in your blood pressure. On the other hand, if you snort the drug, you might experience serious damage to your septum and nasal cavity.

That said, most people feel the effects of cocaine use relatively quickly. However, these pleasurable effects are often quite short-lived especially in comparison to other drugs - and may only last for about a hour.

When you take the drug in small doses, therefore, it might produce effects of connectedness, concentration, sociability, and happiness. It may also decrease your need for rest and sleep since it is a stimulant substance.

On the other hand, if you take cocaine in relatively large amounts, you may increase its dangerous effects. In particular, a large dose might lead to strokes, heart attacks, nosebleeds, violent behavior, and in extreme cases, sudden death.

The other side effects arising from cocaine use may include:

  • Chills
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Trouble sleeping

That said, the severity of the long term side effects will mostly depend on the amount and frequency of cocaine use over a long period of time. With time, therefore, the drug might affect your gastrointestinal system, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. Continuing your cocaine abuse may also lead to harmful physiological and behavioral side effects, including but not limited to damage to your nasal cavity and depression.


If you have been abusing this drug over a long time period, you might display certain behavioral indications that show you have a substance use disorder related to cocaine. These signs and symptoms include:

a) Withdrawal Symptoms

After you use cocaine for a long time or in large amounts, you will experience withdrawal symptoms if you start using less of it than you are used to or if you stop taking it. Some of these cocaine withdrawal symptoms include physical symptoms like seizures and cardiac problems as well as psychological symptoms like violence, paranoia, depression, and anxiety.

b) Tolerance

Cocaine is like most other addictive, intoxicating, and mind altering substances in the sense that it can quickly cause you to build up tolerance to it. At this point, you will have to start taking larger, more frequent doses of the drug to achieve the pleasurable effects that you are chasing.

c) Moodiness

When the pleasurable effects of cocaine start diminishing, you may seem moody. Additionally, your moodiness might include aspects of intense aggressiveness and hostility.

d) Mental Disorders

If you use/abuse cocaine for a long time - including crack cocaine - you may develop depression and anxiety. This is one of the main reasons why most people who have substance use disorders related to cocaine receive dual diagnosis treatment when they try to recover.

e) Loss of Smell

Apart from the nosebleeds it causes in the short term, cocaine abuse in the long term might cause you to lose your sense of smell.

f) Financial Difficulties

Since cocaine is such an expensive drug, people who have been using it for a relatively long duration might start experiencing financial difficulties because of the associated costs. Since being addicted to this substance might also make it difficult for you to maintain or find a job, you might start engaging in illegal activities such as stealing and prostitution to get the money you need to support your increasingly troublesome lifestyle.

g) Deterioration of Health and Well-Being

The longer and the more you use cocaine, the higher the likelihood that you will experience significant deterioration of your physical and psychological well-being. People who are on the drug, for instance, might start feeling tired and nervous almost all of the time but have a hard time finding sleep. They may also feel apathy and experience severe crashes marked by long periods spent sleeping.

h) Avoidance

When people come off the drug after a long period of use, they might start avoiding any social interactions and situations. They might also start taking other intoxicating and mind altering substances like alcohol and sleeping pills to get to sleep faster.

Overall, when you have been wondering whether someone has been using this drug, the first thing you should consider is their behavior. After that, you can check them for some physical signs of cocaine use.

In case they display any, some, most, or all of these signs and symptoms, the next step you should take is to get them into a treatment program where they can receive the assistance they require.

Cocaine Abuse Treatment

Today, there are several treatment and rehabilitation programs tailored to help cocaine users and addicts. Most of them come with dual diagnosis treatment because of the nature of the drug to also cause psychological and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

In case you believe that someone you love has been using cocaine or is addicted to it based on these signs of cocaine use, therefore, you should talk to addiction and medical specialists. This is because the drug is one of the most dangerous and deadly of all addictive and intoxicating substances.

On the other hand, you need to understand that although substance abuse typically lead and gives way to addiction, these two conditions and situations are not entirely the same.

Whereas cocaine use will lead to negative consequences that you can identify immediately, most of the people who take this drug might be able to quit on their own. Addiction, on the other hand, tends to be more complex than this - and will often require intensive treatment and rehabilitation, preferably at an inpatient drug addiction treatment center.

After the loved one checks into the facility, their cocaine use disorder will first be diagnosed, assessed, and measured before an appropriate treatment plan can be formulated specifically for them. The criteria used will mostly be based on the above signs of cocaine use as well as the negative impact the drug has had on their life - from strained relationships to negative consequences at school/work.

Overall, finding the right treatment center is essential - and may be the only way your loved one is provided with the help and assistance they require. This is why you should take your time in making a choice between the different cocaine abuse and addiction treatment rehabilitation facilities and programs.

Find Resources

If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.

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