Knowing the symptoms and signs of cocaine addiction or cocaine abuse can be crucial. If you think you, or someone close to you, might be in denial or doubt about the effects that cocaine or crack addiction might be having on your, or their, life, then being aware of some of the signs and symptoms to look out for can prove very useful.
If you would prefer to talk to someone who has been through addiction themselves and can help direct you towards the right help for you, or a loved one, call Port of Call for free on 0800 002 9010.
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Symptoms of Cocaine use
The short-term effects and symptoms of cocaine use on the body include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils and an increase in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. People who take cocaine will feel hot and may start to shake or twitch.
Heavy users of cocaine can also suffer from ‘cocaine psychosis’, a condition which causes paranoia, confusion, depression and even hallucinations. Cocaine addicts can become irrational (e.g. hard to talk to) and aggressive and may experience the sensation of bugs crawling under their skin.
Symptoms of using cocaine can include feelings of an increased performance or doing well at something. This might be at work, school or out with friends dancing, but this isn’t real and will soon lead to an overall and often swift decrease in performance. Maintaining an addiction to cocaine can be very expensive and may lead to a person committing other crimes in order to support their habit. Cocaine addiction tends to damage relationships with family and friends.
Signs of Cocaine addiction
There are a range of tell-tale signs of a cocaine addiction. Taking cocaine speeds up the whole metabolism of your body, resulting in your heart beating faster and you may even talk, move, and think more quickly. Your body feels too hot and you might shake or twitch, plus you won’t sleep or want to eat very much.
Another sign of cocaine addiction is that it can make you feel happy and excited but your mood can change very quickly. You might become angry, nervous, or afraid that someone is out to get you. You might do things that make no sense.
After the initial ‘high’ of the cocaine wears off, you can experience what is described as a ‘crash’ and may feel tired and sad for days. You may also have a strong craving to take the drug again in an attempt to feel better.
A person who snorts cocaine through the nose can get nosebleeds. They can even lose his sense of smell. Their nose might be runny all the time, like they have a permanent cold.
A person who injects (shoots up) cocaine will have marks where the needle went into their body, usually on his arms.
People addicted to cocaine might take bigger doses or take it more often to get high. A cocaine ‘high’ usually doesn’t last very long. So people take it again and again to try to keep feeling good.
Symptoms of Crack Cocaine abuse
The results of abusing crack cocaine are so severe that only the most powerful addiction would keep a person using this drug. Crack cocaine is a strong stimulant that energises the entire central nervous system, placing damaging stresses on the heart, lungs and brain. It is often associated with a dramatic deterioration of the quality of life. When crack cocaine is smoked, the muscles tense and the heart beats faster. The person experiences exhilaration as a result of the release of specific mood hormones. At the same time that the heart beats faster, the blood vessels constrict, resulting in increased blood pressure. At any time, this change in blood pressure may result in a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest.
A person abusing crack cocaine may be left with tiny plastic bags with small off-white rocks of crack inside them, or just a little residue of the drugs that were stored in the bag. There may be crack pipes around made of metal or glass. A person who has been smoking crack often may have burned their fingers or lips from holding onto the pipe while it heats up.
Symptoms of cocaine abuse when using the crack form do not tend to last as long as cocaine in its powder form, which means the person using it may feel the need to disappear for another dose in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. A crack cocaine user is therefore always in need of more of the drug. This is one of the reasons that many crack users resort to crime, as they have no other way to keep up with their constant need for crack.
Physical signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse
Some of the potential physical effects and symptoms of cocaine abuse may include:
- Heart Disease
- Altered heart rhythm
- Chest pain
- Very high or very low blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Endocarditis — Heart infection
- Lung Damage and Disease
- Difficulty breathing
- Chronic bronchitis
- Ruptured lung structures
- Collapsed lung
- Respiratory failure
- Sudden death
Psychological signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse
Some of the potential psychological effects and symptoms of cocaine abuse may include:
- Irritability and mood disturbances
- Auditory hallucinations (imaginary sounds that seem real)
- Formication – The sensation that insects are crawling under the skin
Other signs and symptoms of cocaine use might be sexual dysfunction, menstrual cycle disturbances in women and infertility for both men and women.
Whatever your situation or need might be, if you or a loved one is trying to deal with addiction issues, Port of Call are here to help you to access the addiction advice and support that is right for you. Take that first step towards breaking this cycle today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 0800 002 9010, or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org