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How to Recognize Cocaine Abuse

How to Recognize Cocaine Abuse


Often times people that develop drug addictions can become very adept at hiding them and we may not know for sure if our loved ones have an addiction. When you suspect that someone in your life may be addicted to a stimulant like cocaine there can be certain signs and symptoms to look for. Cocaine is a very dangerous drug and it is important to be familiar with these signs so you can intervene before it causes serious health problems.

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that increases energy, alertness, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. It can keep people awake but also provides a euphoric rush that can quickly become addictive. It does not take many uses of cocaine for a person to develop a tolerance and go through withdrawal symptoms.

The high that people get from cocaine does not last very long so they will have to continue taking more and more of it to get the same effects. After about an hour or so, the effects will fade and they will start taking more. When they come down from the drug they can be irritable and angry.

Noticeable Short Term Effects

There can be certain revealing signs that show whether someone is high from taking cocaine. The short term effects may be difficult to spot if the person has a high tolerance or has become adept at hiding their addiction. However, these signs may indicate that a person is engaging in cocaine abuse.

-enlarged or dilated pupils

– extreme confidence

– excessive enthusiasm

– unusual talkativeness

– runny nose or nosebleeds

– frequent sniffling

– decreased appetite and sudden weight loss

– nausea

– irritability

– paranoia

-risky behavior

If you notice that someone exhibits any of these signs then they may currently be abusing cocaine. Another indication is when the person starts experience coming down off the drug which can be very painful and stressful for them. When they crash after a binge they might seem depressed, fatigued, anxious or agitated because they are going through rapid withdrawal.

Long Term Effects and Signs of Addiction

When someone is addicted to cocaine it can lead to some unusual behavior and the person may act differently. They may become more secretive and start to lose interest in old activities that they cared about. Their continued drug use can start to affect them mentally and physically.

There are some of the noticeable long term effects of cocaine abuse:

  • Financial problems such as borrowing or stealing money
  • Relationship problems
  • Changes in physical appearance including deterioration
  • Severe weight loss and malnourishment
  • Reproductive damage and infertility
  • Movement disorders

Someone who uses cocaine repeatedly over a long period of time is going to experience a number of negative long term effects on their physical and mental health. Cocaine causes a lot of internal damage and can increase the risk of a heart attack by triggering irregular heartbeats and thickening the heart muscle. It can also lead to dramatic increases in blood pressure that can lead to stroke or tearing of the aorta.

People who use cocaine regularly can lose their sense of smell from repeatedly snorting the drug and they can also develop infections of the nasal cavity. In really severe cases of addiction the nose can collapse or holes can form in the roof of the mouth. Many people develop a hole in their nasal septum which is the wall of tissue that divides the nose.

Cocaine Overdose

One of the most deadly effects of cocaine abuse is the possibility of overdosing on the drug. People can overdose unexpectedly if they take a high dose that is more than their body can handle. Mixing cocaine use with other drugs can greatly increase the risk for overdosing.

When someone is experiencing an overdose they could have the following symptoms.

-a fast heart rate

-elevated blood pressure

-high body temperature




-irregular breathing

People going through a cocaine overdose often have hallucinations including the feeling of bugs crawling on them. It is important to get immediate medical attention to someone who is overdosing.

Treating Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug and can be one of the most difficult to quit once the person has developed a dependence. It is crucial that anyone with a cocaine addiction is able to go through a detox program to get the drug out of their system. Going through withdrawal in a safe environment is important because symptoms can be painful and even dangerous if they are not medically supervised throughout the process.

Cocaine addiction is a specific kind of problem and there are many treatment programs that cater to helping cocaine abusers recover. If you or someone you love is showing signs of cocaine abuse or addiction, then contact a treatment center that can provide them with the care that they need.