The rumors were true: Cocaine delivered a feeling of invincibility coupled with endless energy. Well, that was until the high faded away and left you craving the newfound high that much more.
Regardless of what lead you or your loved one to try cocaine for the first time – peer influence, curiosity or any other reason – that first hit did more than just take the edge off. It made you feel infinite, powerful, and as if you were on top of the world. Your life, subsequently, changed forever.
Perhaps your cocaine use started slow and, for a short time, you were a social user. Or, maybe your cocaine use quickly spiraled out of control – going from one time to constantly.
Whatever your path, you may be realizing you’re abusing cocaine, or that your first time or casual use has evolved into an addiction, and you want to learn about addiction warning signs.
It’s important to note that your acknowledgment of your dangerous use is truly the first step in recovery and ridding your life of drugs and addiction.
Before you review the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction, it’s beneficial to understand the difference between abuse and addiction.
The Difference Between Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
It’s common to hear addiction and abuse used interchangeably, but they are actually two different entities and depend on the degree in which cocaine controls an individual’s life.
What is Cocaine Abuse?
Drug abuse is the intense desire to obtain and use a mind and body altering substance.
While substance abuse varies widely from person to person, the distinguishing factors of cocaine abuse can be identified through these examples:
- An individual who inappropriately uses cocaine for reasons such as performance, pleasure or to alter one’s perception of reality.
- An individual who uses cocaine but still functions reasonably well at work, in society, within groups of people and at home.
- An individual who uses cocaine and occasionally or consistently – to a small to moderate degree – experiences physical, mental or personal (i.e. financial or legal) problems because of the substance use.
- An individual who uses cocaine and learns from the negative consequences of cocaine abuse and works to make more positive life choices.
Cocaine abuse is extremely dangerous, and continued, increased abuse is a clear warning sign that an individual is losing control and becoming addicted.
What is Cocaine Addiction?
The fundamental difference between drug abuse and drug addiction is that addiction becomes the dominant force in an individual’s life. The drug of choice – in this case, cocaine – quite literally hijacks an individual’s mind and seizes control over every action, mood and behavior. Addicts begin to neglect responsibilities, fall behind at work and spend most of their time thinking about their drug and trying to get more.
- An individual who is addicted to cocaine will more than likely run into financial, health or legal issues because of their addiction.
- An individual who is addicted to cocaine has developed a chemical dependency that prevents them from ceasing all cocaine use on their own.
- An individual who is addicted to cocaine will usually take risks, act irresponsibly and do whatever it takes get their next fix.
- An individual who is addicted to cocaine tends to downplay the extent of their substance use or deny they have a problem altogether.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
As a frequent user or addict, you may not realize how much you’re consuming and how cocaine is negatively affecting every facet of your life. If you’ve landed on this article to make sense of your physical, mental and behavioral states, review all signs and symptoms of cocaine use below.
As a loved one to a cocaine user or addict, you may think something is different or off about your loved one – and you suspect drug use – but you’re not sure of the signs of using cocaine. Start here. Thoroughly review the signs and symptoms of cocaine use below.
Whether you use cocaine or are a loved one to a cocaine user, keep in mind that early detection plays a vital role in stopping cocaine experimentation and social use from turning into a dangerous and devastating cocaine addiction.
For Loved Ones: Tools Used by Cocaine Users and Addicts
It’s common for addicts to try and hide their substance use, this includes meticulously cleaning up after themselves. However, if you see any of the following laying around and out of place, it could point to cocaine use:
- Powdery substance or residue
- Razor blades
- Small spoons
- Dollar bills that are tightly rolled
- Metal, plastic or glass straws
Physical and Mental Signs of Cocaine Use and Addiction
Cocaine can really take its toll on the human body. Every individual will experience the effects of cocaine differently, but one thing’s for certain: signs and symptoms of cocaine use and addiction are anything but euphoric. Here is how continued cocaine use can affect an individual in the short- and long-term:
- Weight loss from a decreased appetite
- Increased alertness
- Increased body temperature
- Enlarged pupils (sometimes, the pupils can dilate so much that they almost appear entirely black)
- Increased heart rate
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle twitches and tremors
- Nasal congestion
Binge use of cocaine can lead to:
In severe cases:
- Heart attack
Behavioral Signs of Cocaine Use and Addiction
Because cocaine essentially rewires the brain’s chemistry, it can be near impossible for addicts to quit using even if they wholeheartedly want to. The strong cravings that accompany addiction often cause an individual’s behavior to change and become compulsive. Here are some telltale behavioral signs of using cocaine:
- Fast or scattered speech
- Striking mood changes, such as switching to one or more: very happy, frustrated, irritated, sad/depressed, aggressive
- Switching social circles to be with individuals who support drug and cocaine use
- Becoming argumentative or refusing to talk when approached about cocaine use or addition
- Spending money for bills on cocaine
- Skipping school or work to get high
Next Steps: What to Do When Cocaine Addiction Warning Signs Are Identified
When cocaine use continues even after experiencing unpleasant and dangerous symptoms, or if it continues even when the user is aware their actions are revealing warning signs of cocaine abuse, addiction could already be present or knocking on the door.
Continued use and higher doses increases an individual’s tolerance level. As this cycle continues, addiction is almost always inevitable.
Because of the severity of addictions and the dangerous detox and withdrawal symptoms that accompany quitting, an individual who is addicted to cocaine must get professional help to end their addiction and learn how to avoid relapse.
If you are a loved one to an addict, we’re here to tell you that there is hope. Your loved one must acknowledge their addiction and want to get help before any rehab process can start. You can, however, talk to them and be there for support. Be sure to read our article on How to Forgive a Loved One for their Addiction.
If you are the addict, you must know that at some point, it’s a choice. It was a choice to start using cocaine, and it is a choice to stop using and get clean – forever. You can change the trajectory of your life. Are you ready?
Find Life-Changing, Faith-Based Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills
You were meant for so much more than where your cocaine addiction has landed you. It can stop forever, and you can regain your life. It starts at Covenant Hills, where one of the most experienced and acclaimed cocaine treatment teams in the country helps addicts quit all forms of cocaine use. Through a proven 12-step, faith-based model, our cocaine treatment program empowers you to reclaim your physical and mental well-being through emotional, nutritional, social, fitness and spiritual therapy components.