Common Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse

Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction and get help for yourself or a loved one. Seven Hills Hospital helps individuals struggling with cocaine addiction build a strong foundation for lasting recovery. Located near Las Vegas, Seven Hills is the leading provider of psychiatric and addiction treatment.

Understanding Cocaine Addiction

Learn About Cocaine

Cocaine, more commonly referred to as coke, is a highly addictive and vastly prominent recreational substance that provides individuals with euphoric feelings of excitement and elation. Cocaine also induces a numbing effect by blocking the brain’s ability to feel pain. The high that people receive after using coke does not last long, typically only up to about half an hour. This makes the users experience intense cravings, leading to an increase in the amount that they use.

When people become addicted to cocaine, they not only experience disruption in their ability to function appropriately on a daily basis, including lacking the ability to perform adequately at work or in school, but it also puts them at a high risk for suffering from severe health complications.

Statistics

Cocaine Statistics

The statistics for cocaine use are disturbing and should be treated as a major health concern in the United States. Coke is believes to be the second most highly-trafficked illicit drug in the world, the second most commonly used illicit substance in the America, and the third most commonly found drug in schools throughout the U.S. Additionally, it is estimated that approximately 3.6 million Americans are chronic cocaine users, yet an astounding 34 million people (the equivalent of 14.7% of the population aged 12 and older) have used cocaine at least once in their lifetime. Most disturbingly, however, is the fact that, according to researchers in the field, 75% of people who try coke become addicted to it.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors of Cocaine

Professionals in the field believe that the development of an addiction to any substance, including cocaine, is the result of a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors working together. Some of the most commonly cited causes and risk factors for cocaine abuse and addiction include the following:

Genetic: People who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, who struggles with an addiction to coke or another type of substance, are at a greater risk of developing an addiction as well. More specifically, it has been said that the children of addicts are eight times more likely to become addicts themselves.

Physical: Certain research results have indicated that a prolonged use of cocaine leads to altered levels of the specific brain protein that is responsible for regulating the actions of the dopamine chemical. Dopamine levels are associated with the pleasurable rush that cocaine provides.

Environmental: Environmental factors can play a significant role in the development of cocaine dependence because certain life circumstances can lead people to seek out something to numb their negative experiences and emotions. These people may want to find a way to escape the reality of their everyday lives and therefore find comfort in the numbing and euphoric effects of cocaine.

Risk Factors:

  • Being exposed to cocaine while in utero
  • Living in an environment where drug use is prominent
  • Having easy access to the substance
  • Unstable home environments
  • Lack of parental supervision / involvement
  • Suffering from a mental illness
  • Peer pressure
  • Enduring high levels of stress

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

The signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse will vary from person to person depending on how much the person is using, how long the person has been using, and the overall state of the person’s mental and physical health. Some examples of the various symptoms that a person who is using cocaine may exhibit can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Rapid speech
  • Sudden bursts of hyperactivity
  • Prolonged periods of excessive energy
  • Participating in risk-taking behaviors
  • Aggression
  • Lying
  • Stealing

Physical symptoms:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Increased body temperature
  • Seizures

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Sudden, drastic mood swings
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest in things one used to be interested in

Lasting Effects

Effects of Cocaine

After prolonged use, the long-term consequences that cocaine abuse can have on a person can be extremely detrimental and have a grossly negative impact on his or her life. The effects that individuals may suffer from as the result of excessive cocaine abuse will vary based on a number of different factors, including the length of time that a person used and the frequency in which he or she used the drug. The following are examples of effects that cocaine addiction can have on a person’s life:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Broken relationships
  • Legal problems
  • Unemployment
  • Academic failure
  • Destruction of nasal tissue
  • Respiratory failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Malnutrition / unhealthy weight loss
  • Permanent damage to one’s heart, brain, and blood vessels
  • Loss of one’s sense of smell
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Death
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders

There are a number of mental health disorders that can exist alongside cocaine dependence. In some cases, people unknowingly use cocaine as a way to self-medicate from the symptoms they are experiencing of a mental disorder that they are unaware of. Some of the most commonly noted disorders known to co-occur with cocaine addiction can include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of cocaine withdrawal:

When a person who has been chronically using cocaine suddenly stops using, he or she will begin to experience symptoms of withdrawal. Some signs that a person is going through withdrawal from coke may include:

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Excessive irritability
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Lethargy
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Intense cravings

Effects of cocaine overdose:

Overdosing on cocaine is a serious medical emergency and need to be addressed as such. If someone is suspected of overdosing on coke, he or she should immediately be taken to the emergency room as a cocaine overdose can be fatal. Signs that a person is experiencing a coke overdose can include:

  • Nausea and heavy vomiting
  • Irregular breathing
  • Hyperthermia
  • Delirium
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack

Before getting rehab at Seven Hills, I used to snort cocaine often. As I descended deeper into my addiction, the farther away I got from my friends and families. Thanks to the patient and competent staff at Seven Hills, I am celebrating five years of sobriety!

– Jessie B.