Cocaine Addiction

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

One of the most addictive drugs available on the street, cocaine is the only known drug that is able to both function as a stimulant to the central nervous system and a local anesthetic. In its pure form, cocaine is a whitish solid that can be cut into a powder. Once it is in this state, users snort it, dissolve it in water and inject it, or smoke it. Cocaine addiction develops very quickly and can result easily in cocaine rehab.

Cocaine’s street names include cokeblow, and snow. Cocaine is also the main ingredient in crack, called rock on the street, which produces a shorter, more intense high. The purity level of cocaine sold on the street is constantly in question as a variety of substances are used to increase retail value, such as talcum powder, cornstarch or amphetamine.

As of 2014, about 1.5 million people used cocaine or crack with individuals ages 18-25 being twice as likely to use the drug. Learn how to spot whether your loved one is addicted to cocaine, the negative effects of using it and how to help them get into recovery.

Regular use of cocaine is what differentiates cocaine users from those addicted to the substance. Discover how to recognize the short-term and long-term effects of cocaine use.

Short-Term Effects

Regardless of the intake method, cocaine use produces a relatively short high (typically between 5-30 minutes). Depending on how a loved one used cocaine, there may be different signs as well. Look for the following behavioral or emotional signs:

  • Increased energy followed by a rapid decline in energy
  • Euphoria and rapid speech
  • Irritability and hypervigilance
  • Sensitivity to sound, light and touch
  • Paranoia

Cocaine also has a profound effect on the body. Keep an eye out for the following physical signs of cocaine use:

  • Runny nose or sniffling without a medical cause
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Tremors or muscle twitches

Long-Term Effects

Chronic cocaine use can affect and individual mentally and physically. Signs of long term use include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Bowel decay (if cocaine is taken orally)
  • Malnourishment due to chronic appetite suppression
  • Movement disorders
  • Severe paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Long-term cocaine users are also at increased risk for stroke, cardiovascular issues, ulcers and a potentially fatal disorder commonly called bleeding on the brain. The risk of sudden death due to overdose is also present for people addicted to cocaine. Between 2010-2015, deaths from cocaine overdose increase 1.6-fold with men being at higher risk for overdose than women.

How to Help Someone with Cocaine Addiction

When a loved one has a cocaine addiction, offering help can be met with challenges. Because cocaine use may not have the same debilitating effects as other substances, many cocaine users can be resistant to getting treatment because they feel like there is nothing wrong. Unlike some other addictions, a cocaine addiction can be present while the individual is able to keep performance up at work, pay bills and maintain a household — at least for a while.

After learning about the effects of cocaine, make a list of local resources and treatment options available to help your loved one before discussing your concerns with them. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be honest and caring. Prior to approaching anyone addicted to substances, it’s important to consider what you will say. The best way to make an impact is to be honest and genuinely caring with them. Avoid accusatory remarks, bringing up the past or elevated voices. Instead, calmly express your concerns and be compassionate about their situation.
  • Don’t offer financial assistance. Compared to other substances, powder cocaine is expensive. Often, individuals addicted to cocaine will resort to selling valuables, getting involved in money-making schemes or committing theft to get their next fix. Don’t provide financial resources to your loved one directly. If you feel you want to help financially, pledge funds directly to a treatment program.
  • Set realistic expectations. It’s not uncommon to be met with resistance when discussing treatment for cocaine addiction with your loved one. Expect that you may have to talk about treatment multiple times before they will consider getting help. Be prepared to start small by offering to attend a 12-step meeting with them before suggesting more intensive treatment.
  • Seek support for yourself. Caring for someone who has an addiction can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining. Remember to take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, eating healthy and seeking outside support. In almost every community, there are meetings available for family and friends of individuals struggling with substance abuse. Sharing your frustrations, fears and feelings in a supportive setting will help you make connections with others and get the support you need. As an alternative, seek individual counseling from a professional or pastoral leader.

Get Help with Addiction Today

If you suspect yourself or a loved one has an addiction to cocaine, don’t wait another minute to review your treatment options. Help is available now. Contact us today to start your confidential consultation. Call Lumiere Healing Centers at 513-909-2225.