According to the NIDA, over five million people use cocaine every year, and roughly 1.3 million people are living with a cocaine use disorder. There are nearly 20,000 people that die every year as a result of cocaine overdose – the worst-case scenario for any user.
Cocaine can lead to other risky decisions and behaviors, which is why friends and family members must understand the many signs of cocaine use. Early detection is often the best prevention – the sooner an addict receives help, the better chance they have of recovering.
To fully understand the signs of cocaine abuse, you must first understand what cocaine is – as well as how cocaine affects the mind and body. While everyone has differing opinions of the experience, the signs are similar.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a Schedule II drug that’s not only highly addictive but highly lethal when misused or abused. It’s a stimulant that was once believed to be a medical miracle but is now one of the most dangerous chemicals circulating the streets.
Thousands of years ago, South American natives ate the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca, also known as the coca plant. It wasn’t until the 1850s that European scientists isolated cocaine hydrochloride from the coca plant. Thirty years later, it was the magical ingredient in Coca-Cola.
Today, there are three primary forms of cocaine – powder (which can be snorted or rubbed on the gums), dissolved powder (which can be injected into the bloodstream), and rock crystal (also known as crack; heated and smoked). Either way, you’re putting your body in harm’s way.
How Does Cocaine Impact the Body?
When you snort, inject, or inhale cocaine, it enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain – where it crosses the blood-brain barrier. Once there, cocaine increases activity levels in the brain and creates an abnormal balance of chemicals – also known as neurotransmitters.
One of the most prominent neurotransmitters affected by cocaine is dopamine – the chemical responsible for reward, motivation, satisfaction, and pleasure. Instead of recycling back to the cell it came from, the dopamine builds up and results in a euphoric feeling that lasts minutes.
What are the Signs of Cocaine Use?
Once an individual is addicted, they can no longer control their cocaine use, and it often takes confrontation from a loved one before the individual starts to change their ways. With that said, friends and family members must understand and recognize the many cocaine use signs.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common cocaine use signs:
- Sudden and temporary rush of energy or excitement
- Increased mental alertness
- Sensitivity to sights, sounds, and touch
- Irritability, easily distracted, annoyed
- Paranoia and extreme distrust of others
- Dilated pupils and heavy eye contact
- Constricted blood vessels
- Increased blood pressure and heartbeat
- Restlessness, tremors, twitches
Understanding the signs of a cocaine addict is only half the battle for the individual’s loved ones. They also have to be willing to confront that individual and recommend they seek help before the addiction worsens. The sooner you spot the signs of addiction to cocaine, the better.
What are Common Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?
If a cocaine addict wants to recover, they’ll eventually need to stop using cocaine – which isn’t easy, considering the withdrawal symptoms they experience. Once the body is cut off from its regular supply of cocaine, it starts to react and respond negatively to the sudden changes.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common signs of cocaine withdrawal:
- Having a hard time concentrating on one thing
- Extreme fatigue or tiredness
- Displeasure with your surroundings
- Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
- Cravings, urges, and temptations
- Muscle aches and nerve pain
- Hot flashes, cold flashes, shaking, and tremors
- Slowed thinking and slow responses
- Having nightmares and sleeping problems
Cocaine withdrawal is one of the primary reasons why so many people have a hard time kicking their cocaine addiction. In an effort to cope with the withdrawal symptoms, patients are tempted to use cocaine again to ease the pain and discomfort – the start of a dangerous and risky cycle.
How to Find Cocaine Addiction Treatment in Indiana
Do you or someone you know struggle with cocaine addiction? Have you been wanting to kick your addiction and begin a new chapter in your life? Do you feel like cocaine is weighing you down or ruining your potential in life? If you answered yes to any of those questions, contact our Indiana rehab center.
At SEE Purpose Treatment Center, there’s nothing we love more than seeing patients recover from addiction in a safe and controlled environment. If you’re noticing the signs of addiction to cocaine in yourself or someone you know, we have the program designed exclusively for you!