Rehab 4 Addiction

Cocaine Addiction – What are the Signs & Symptoms?

Cocaine is a stimulant that makes individuals euphoric and very alert. Individuals will experience an increase in sensations such as light or sound sensitivity [1].

As one of the oldest drugs available, it remains just as popular. It used to be reserved for the wealthy and upper-class but is now more accessible and common in the 21st Century.

Signs of cocaine use:

  • Dilated pupils
  • High temperature and blood pressure
  • The belief that it makes you sober when mixed with alcohol
  • Erratic behaviour (risky behaviour)

Signs of a cocaine overdose:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Convulsion, seizures, and tremors
  • Excessive anxiety and paranoia

What many assume to be a mere daily ‘habit’, can actually be an addiction. Parties, social activities, and late nights can mask the evident existence of addiction.

Drug addiction means the constant use of a drug such as cocaine, without the ability to stop.

Not only this, but individuals will continue to use it despite the consequences.

The short-term benefits are outweighed by long-term and short-term issues.

PRO TIP: Learn how long cocaine stays in your system.

Addiction Genesis

Cocaine addiction begins with the very reasons people take it in the first place: a sense of euphoria and dopamine.

These chemical releases are overpowering, and users constantly justify endless use to themselves and others.

The rapid escalation and drops in dopamine can confuse your brain, leaving you with feelings of depression and anxiety when you stop.

Your brain is literally asking for more cocaine to give you a boost.

However, the more you give in to this feeling, the more you will use cocaine.

The more you use the drug, the higher the tolerance and therefore bigger doses are required.

A slippery slope to addiction.

Spotting Addiction Warning Signs:

Considering the risk of addiction is high following a single use of cocaine, it’s paramount that people understand the signs and symptoms of becoming addicted to cocaine[2].

Signs of Addiction:

  • You find yourself having to take more cocaine than usual because your tolerance has increased
  • If you suddenly stop using or miss a dose then you start to feel withdrawal symptoms
  • You struggle to cut down
  • You struggle to withdraw or stop
  • You have disregarded family and friends
  • You have stopped your usual daily activities
  • You are struggling to meet deadlines that are usually deemed easy to meet
  • You are aware of the damage using is causing but cannot stop

The signs of addiction are deemed ‘out of control’ by many users. This is the main reason people call addiction a disease, not a choice.

If you find yourself under the thumb of a substance like cocaine, it could be an early warning sign.

Commonly, your tolerance and usual intake will increase, as you find yourself more dependent on cocaine.

As dependency increases to addiction, the rest of your priorities are forgotten.

Your next hit becomes more important than seeing family or friends, and you stop turning up for a job or responsibility you used to deem important.

If you meet the criteria for the signs of addiction, you may manifest more than one of the signs of addiction.

Addiction Symptoms

Signs of addiction can become evident through various forms:

  • Behavioural
  • Psychological
  • Physical

These are the specific signs you should be aware of:

Behavioural:

  • Acting on impulse and taking risks
  • Attempting to steal money and being dishonest
  • Being unable to curb cocaine use
  • Engaging in socially taboo practices such as prostitutes

The behaviour symptoms of addiction may be more evident to those around you, more so than to yourself.

A change in character and habits is common, as you will start to adjust your lifestyle based on using[3].

Psychological:

  • Poor decision-making facilities
  • Unable to see the consequences of actions
  • Incapable of weighing up morality of actions
  • Restlessness and psychosis
  • Mental instability: agitation, depression, and anxiety

As you become fully dependant, your mental symptoms are all negative. Despite the small and instant highs from hits, you will see a gradual decrease in mental health[4].

Constant use can cause poor decisions, led by an inability to weigh up the consequences of actions. The relentless cycle is the catalyst for mental instability.

Cocaine interferes with brain signals, acting as a charger for brain stimulation.

As soon as you come down or come off cocaine, your brain is sending you signals to boost the dopamine.

If you fail to do so, you will instantly feel depressed and anxious. This can lead to larger and more dangerous mental illnesses, such as suicidal thoughts.

Physical:

  • High blood pressure and body temperature
  • Persistent nose bleeds
  • Constant heavy sweating
  • Loss of appetite but highly energised
  • Organ damage or failure
  • Cognitive impairment

Physical symptoms of addiction are arguably the most evident.

This is your body literally showing you the effects your constant cocaine habit is having on it, and your addiction means you would rather have a hit than prevent any physical damage.

The physical symptoms can be short and long term: high blood pressure and high heart rates can lead to heart issues, such as a stroke or irregular heartbeat.

If you experience any of these symptoms or signs of addiction, call us now at the clinic for a free consultation.

Getting help now may prevent you from falling into addiction, a vicious cycle.

Withdrawal and Effects

A study undertaken by Gawin and Kleber in 1984 studied the withdrawal process.

Collecting data from 30 cocaine addicts at an outpatient centre, they reported 3 evident phases[5].

  1. Crashing: The crash develops almost instantly following a ceasing of heavy and constant cocaine abuse. This is inherently linked with mental issues such as anxiety, and physical onset on symptoms such as increased appetite and exhaustion.
  2. Withdrawal: Withdrawal takes place in phase 2, where cravings are maximised and can persist for up to 10 weeks or more.
  3. Extinction: By ‘extinction, Gawin and Klebel meant the intermittent cravings following the end of withdrawal. If you are able to keep cravings at bay with a good treatment programme and after-care, you will not be vulnerable to relapse.

Withdrawal from cocaine can occur when someone is using constantly and immediately cuts down or goes ‘cold turkey’.

Withdrawal is a major sign of addiction, sometimes people only become aware of their addiction and dependency following withdrawal symptoms[6].

Why is it critical to foresee an addiction?

In spotting signs and symptoms of addiction, people can significantly reduce their chances of being fully led-astray by cocaine and other drugs.

Decreasing drug use before it becomes an addiction will be easier, and you will see a reduction in physical and mental issues that occur as a by-product of use.

Addiction can have detrimental effects on people’s lives, at home, within themselves and manifest in their relationships.

The signs and symptoms vary:

  • Person dependant
  • Dose and constant use dependant

Yet the signs aforementioned are common, and if you recognise these with yourself or a loved one that it’s time to seek help at a cocaine rehab centre.

Drugs affect everyone, regardless of social or economic status.

There are no criteria for who can and cannot take drugs, and it can be readily assumed that cocaine is one of the most popular ones.

When a substance order is developed, it becomes difficult to stop taking cocaine without the need for professional help.

This help will take longer and will inevitably by more expensive.

Inquiring about yourself or a loved one before it gets to a SUD might just save you from a list of psychological, physical, and behavioural issues.

You are risking your life with every hit of cocaine, or any other drug for that matter.

If cocaine doesn’t risk your life enough, you are exposing your life to social and personal downfalls such as ruined relationships and changed personal behaviour.

Despite being overlooked, all side effects are important. Sustained and continuous use will affect your life in every aspect possible.

Act now, and call us on 0800 140 4690. The earlier you call us, the easier it is for us to help and the faster you can reach sobriety.

References

[1] https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/cocaine

[2] https://www.tn.gov/behavioral-health/substance-abuse-services/treatment—recovery/treatment—recovery/prescription-for-success/warning-signs-of-drug-abuse.html

[3] Griffiths, M., 1996. Behavioural addiction: an issue for everybody?. Employee Counselling Today, 8(3), pp.19-25.

[4] Brower, K., Blow, F. and Beresford, T., 1988. FORMS OF COCAINE AND PSYCHIATRIC SYMPTOMS. The Lancet, 331(8575-8576), p.50.

[6] https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-toc~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7~drugtreat-pubs-modpsy-3-7-cws

[7] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000947.htm

 

boris

Boris is our editor-in-chief at Rehab 4 Addiction. Boris is an addiction expert with more than 20 years in the field.  His expertise covers a broad of topics relating to addiction, rehab and recovery. Boris is an addiction therapist and assists in the alcohol detox and rehab process. Boris has been featured on a variety of websites, including the BBC, Verywell Mind and Healthline.