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The Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

If you’re worried that someone you know may be suffering from cocaine addiction, you need to know what to look for. Drug addictions can be easy to hide from loved ones, but not if those loved ones are educated about the signs of cocaine abuse.

Common Signs of Cocaine Addiction

The signs of cocaine abuse may slip by you if you don’t pay attention to what matters. It’s best to understand what cocaine use may look like to be able to identify if you or a loved one may have an addiction.

Cocaine gets into the bloodstream quickly, but the high is short-lived (anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes). It blocks dopamine from getting recycled by the brain, artificially raising the levels of “feel good” that dopamine creates. This feeling usually comes along with being happy, talkative, social, excitable, confident, and having lower inhibitions. Once the crash begins, however, users may sleep or eat more than usual.

Here are some other common signs that might give away a cocaine user:

  • White powder around the mouth or nose
  • Constant sniffling
  • Risky behaviors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Erratic Sleep – Binging on snorting cocaine will seriously disrupt a person’s sleep schedule.
  • Curled-up dollar bills – These are often used to snort the powder.
  • Cash – Buying cocaine is usually a cash transaction, so users may carry large amounts of cash on them or seem to always have cash at any moment.
  • Disappearing – Coke users need a place to use. Taking a quick break to use the bathroom, going outside for a “cigarette”, or going to the car will provide a safe place to use while out and about.

Observable Cocaine Abuse Symptoms

While the above common signs of cocaine abuse mainly included information on those who snort cocaine, there are other ways to use the drug. Some may choose to smoke or inject cocaine into their system. If so, they may show other observable signs of use. Some of these symptoms to look for are:

  • Needle marks – These can be seen on various parts of the body but are most prevalent on the arms, legs, hands, feet, and neck. These are often called track marks.
  • Burn marks on hands or lips – These burns happen when one smokes crack cocaine.
  • Collapsed veins – When a vein becomes completely blocked by blood clots that have formed into scar tissue. This is caused by using the same injection site repeatedly.
  • Abscesses – Sores filled with pus and fluid from injection sites.
  • Hepatitis C or HIV – These can be contracted through needle use.
  • Endocarditis – An infection of the heart’s inner lining, often caused by mixing acid with cocaine to make it soluble before injecting.

Dangers of Cocaine Addiction

You can easily tell if someone has used cocaine immediately after they snort, smoke, or inject it. However, a full-out addiction has another set of symptoms to look out for. 

The symptoms seen from cocaine addiction vary by the length the addiction has been going on, how much is used, how frequently it is used, and the individual’s dependence on cocaine. To understand how far your or your loved one’s cocaine abuse has gone, it’s important to note any of the following common symptoms in addicts:

  • Euphoric mood followed by depressed moods
  • Irritability
  • Elevated feelings of well-being or supremacy
  • Restlessness
  • Lying about use
  • Hiding use from friends, family, loved ones
  • Strained relationships
  • Failure to maintain work (job, school, etc)
  • Always wearing long-sleeves (covering track marks)
  • Break from reality or psychosis
  • Sudden money problems or legal problems
  • Excited, fast speech
  • Recurring nasal issues
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Impaired sexual function
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia or Anxiety
  • Violent behavior

Even when attempting to detox from cocaine, an addict may experience some of the above symptoms. It is very dangerous to attempt to withdraw from cocaine without help from a detox center led by medical professionals. Find out more about cocaine withdrawal effects.

While this is an extensive list of addiction signs, not all symptoms must be present in order for someone to have a problem. Sometimes people can be functionally addicted, meaning they seem to still maintain relationships, work, and a seemingly normal life. This does not mean that you or a loved one is any less deserving of receiving help.

After recognizing the signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse, the next step is to know your options for intervention and treatment for cocaine addiction.

Intervention and Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Many rehab treatment centers offer inpatient or outpatient programs for those battling cocaine addiction.

At SOBA, we have a unique three-phase program that will help ease someone out of addiction, into sobriety, and back to a new, sober life. We provide unique, customized care to each client and create an environment where growth and change can last.

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