Cocaine is a drug that can spiral out of control, and what was once a recreational habit can quickly turn into an addiction. Whether you are searching for yourself and your use or on behalf of a loved one, it can be difficult to recognise the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction.
There are a few tell-tale signs but if you have any concerns please do get in touch with a member of the team by contacting us here or calling us on 0208 191 9191 for a confidential conversation about cocaine rehab in the UK, and how to beat a cocaine addiction.
Cocaine comes in a variety of forms, but it is most commonly snorted as a powder. You may also come across crack cocaine in the form of small rocks, which are often smoked through a pipe, and also pure cocaine which is a lot stronger but has not been mixed or ‘cut’ with anything, like regular cocaine often has.
It is also important to understand that the strength of cocaine varies widely. Often, cocaine is mixed with other drugs such as speed, or with cutting agents like baking powder or teething powder, before it is sold. These combinations and the variations in purity mean that cocaine is always a dangerous drug with unpredictable side effects, especially when consumed in large quantities.
Here are some of the signs of cocaine use you can look out for…
Physical Signs of Cocaine Use
Insomnia and Restlessness
A person who has taken cocaine is likely to have elevated blood pressure and heart rate. They are likely to be awake for long periods, as it can be almost impossible to sleep when you have cocaine in your system. Typically, they will be more active and talkative than normal. There are some variations to this, however, including cocaine users with ADHD who take cocaine and report very different effects.
Changes to Body Temperature
Cocaine also has an impact on the body temperature, so look out for signs of someone being hot frequently and sweating profusely, as this is a common side effect of cocaine use.
When someone uses cocaine it can cause their pupils to dilate, which means they get larger. This can be a sign they have used cocaine but it does not necessarily mean that they are addicted.
A runny nose is one of the symptoms of cocaine addiction. There can be many different reasons why somebody has a runny nose frequently, but due to the way cocaine is consumed, this can also be a sign of regular usage. Cocaine is often snorted through the nose, and the body sees the cocaine as a foreign substance and tries to expel it with nasal mucus; this then causes the nose to run.
Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite can occur with cocaine use, and so if someone becomes addicted, you may notice that they are eating less, losing weight and have little to no interest in food. They may be skipping meals altogether, as cocaine numbs the sense of hunger you would usually feel when it is time to eat.
Psychological Signs of Cocaine Use
Mental Health Impacts
The mental health effects of cocaine addiction and use include sudden mood swings, irritability and lack of concentration. When someone enters cocaine withdrawal they may also experience depression, lethargy and a lack of enthusiasm. These psychological symptoms can become worse with prolonged cocaine addiction.
As cocaine so heavily impacts dopamine regulation in the brain, it often leads to depression and depressive thoughts in those taking cocaine – particularly if they are experiencing withdrawal from the substance.
Cocaine addiction often leads to a lack of sleep and manic mood swings. Cocaine is a stimulant and so when someone is taking cocaine regularly, they can find it hard to switch off or even get to sleep at all. Lack of sleep in itself can cause paranoia, but taking cocaine can cause a state of psychosis, and one of the most common ways this manifests in the body is through paranoid behaviour and actions.
As we have mentioned, cocaine is a strong stimulant which causes a rapid build-up of dopamine in the brain. If a person has taken cocaine, it is likely that they will be extremely talkative and appear excited. Cocaine can give people confidence and a sense of popularity, which is one of the reasons people take it in the first place, in a recreational sense.
Lifestyle-Related Signs of Cocaine Use
Cocaine is an expensive habit, so trouble looking after money and falling into debt may be a sign that they are buying cocaine, or other substances more frequently. Work may have also taken a back seat and they may be withdrawn from everyday life, as they are spending more time using and thinking about when they will next be able to take cocaine.
As addiction takes a stronger hold in a user’s life, more from other areas of their lives are sacrificed so they can do more of the substance. This can often show itself in trouble with the police and law in general, particularly in relation to theft and crime.
As a person falls deeper into addiction, other areas of their lives can be sacrificed. This can include meeting friends and family, missing work or being fired from work and the neglect of the self, such as in basic hygiene. When addiction takes hold, a person can become detached from the basic needs they have.
However, as with these things, there is no one image of addiction and every story is different. These symptoms are common and we have seen them in many of our clients, but that does not mean that someone who is addicted to cocaine will experience these symptoms – you may not even spot any of these symptoms.
Cocaine is highly addictive, and the buzz you get from the drug means it is very easy to fall into taking it more regularly, and taking larger quantities of it too. The rush and the high lasts for a short period of time, meaning it wears off quickly and the user is left wanting more.
If you are struggling with cocaine addiction or know someone who is, contact our experts today. We have helped hundreds of people that have struggled with drug abuse and we can help you spot the signs and symptoms. Help Me Stop is a drug rehab centre, and we can offer treatment both online and in-person for cocaine addiction.
Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the dangers and consequences of cocaine use and addiction?
In addition to being a Class A substance which can lead to up to seven years in prison and a fine if caught possessing the drug, cocaine use can have serious and life-threatening consequences.
Cocaine use drastically increases heart rate and can cause liver and heart damage – particularly if consumed with alcohol. If taken with drink, the release of cocaethylene can cause a person to engage more easily in compulsive and violent behaviour.
Damage to the body and nose from snorting cocaine is possible, and the injection of cocaine (called ‘crack’) with needles can lead to gangrene, ulcers and the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B and C. If used when pregnant, cocaine can lead to miscarriage and low birth weight.
How can families recognise cocaine use?
In addition to the symptoms described above, one of the most common signs of addiction of any sort is simply a sudden or sustained shift in a person’s mood, behaviour and life. If you are concerned about potential symptoms and also see a loved one appear to change in behaviour and temperament significantly, they may be struggling with addiction as it takes greater hold over their life and priorities. We have compiled more information about cocaine and its effects on our facts page. This can help you understand how this highly addictive drug works.
How can you help someone addicted to cocaine?
If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction we can help. You can call or email the Help Me Stop addiction treatment team free today to discuss your options.