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Signs of Cocaine Use

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Pinpointing the signs of cocaine use in a loved one can be challenging but increasing your awareness of addiction is worthwhile.

If you familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of cocaine use, you can more expediently connect your friend or family member with the most effective treatment for their needs.

Today’s brief guide highlights the most noticeable physical and behavioral signs of a cocaine addict and outlines how to get a loved one into cocaine rehab.

Common Symptoms of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is an illicit stimulant narcotic that induces a powerful, exhilarating high.

Highly addictive, cocaine is derived from the South American coca plant. Cocaine is a schedule II controlled substance. Like all drugs under this schedule, cocaine has some limited medical applications but a strong potential for both abuse and addiction.

Before we explore the most common signs of cocaine addiction, how about the most obvious symptoms?

Cocaine addiction is clinically diagnosed as substance use disorder or stimulant use disorder according to the diagnostic criteria listed in American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5-TR (fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). A mental health professional or addiction specialist will ask you the following questions concerning your cocaine use over the previous year:

  1. Have you used more cocaine than intended or used cocaine for longer than initially planned?
  2. Do you require more cocaine to achieve the same effects as tolerance builds?
  3. Have you made several unsuccessful attempts to stop using cocaine or to moderate use?
  4. Do you spend lots of time obtaining and using cocaine then recovering from the after-effects?
  5. Have you started using cocaine in potentially dangerous situations?
  6. Do you get cravings for cocaine?
  7. Are you spending less time doing things you once enjoyed due to cocaine use?
  8. Is your cocaine use causing you to neglect responsibilities at home, school, or work?
  9. Do withdrawal symptoms manifest when the effects of cocaine subside?
  10. Are you still using cocaine even though it is causing problems in your closest relationships?
  11. Do you continue to use cocaine even though it is triggering or inflaming a psychological or physical condition?

Stimulant use disorder (cocaine addiction) is diagnosed as follows:

●  Mild cocaine addiction: 2 or 3 criteria.

●  Moderate cocaine addiction: 4 or 5 criteria.

●  Severe cocaine addiction: 6 or more criteria.

Cocaine can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Whatever the route of delivery, addiction can quickly set in.

The sustained use of cocaine will cause tolerance to the drug to build. This diminishes its effects and means you will need more cocaine or more frequent doses of cocaine to experience the same euphoric high. This can initiate a vicious cycle of abuse, increasing the chances of physical dependence developing.

Over time, abusing cocaine will prompt structural and functional brain changes, making it more difficult for you to resist intense cravings for cocaine.

For most people who abuse cocaine, the trickiest aspect to tackle is the powerful psychological dependence.

How can you identify the signs of cocaine use in a loved one you suspect may be abusing this drug?

Physical Signs

Cocaine addiction signs can be physical, psychological, or behavioral.

These are the most common physical signs of cocaine use:

  • Insomnia
  • Persistent nosebleeds
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Breathing problems
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • High body temperature
  • Increased energy levels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive sweating
  • Blackouts
  • Hypertension
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Tolerance to cocaine
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Heart attack

Behavioral Signs

These are the most common behavioral signs of cocaine use:

  • Trying to borrow money
  • Stealing money
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Reckless behaviors
  • Dishonesty regarding movements and activities
  • Excessive porn viewing
  • Talking excessively
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Inability to moderate or discontinue cocaine use
  • Large chunks of time spent using cocaine
  • Loss of interest in favored activities
  • Socializing with people who use cocaine
  • Using other addictive substances
  • Continuing to abuse cocaine despite negative outcomes

What to Do When You Recognize Signs of Cocaine Addiction

As soon as you recognize that a loved one is grappling with cocaine abuse, you should initiate a conversation about treatment and recovery.

Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain condition. Cocaine addiction is characterized by the compulsive use of the drug in the face of obviously negative outcomes. Denial is often a by-product of addiction, so be prepared for your loved one to claim that they can control their use of cocaine. They may even outright deny the existence of a problem.

Let your loved one know you are prepared to help them every step of the way if they choose to undertake an inpatient or outpatient treatment program for cocaine addiction.

While there are no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of cocaine addiction, most stimulant use disorders respond positively to psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management), and counseling. Reassure your loved one that heading to rehab is the most effective way for them to reclaim their life from cocaine addiction.

If you are unable to persuade your loved one to connect with the professional addiction treatment they need, you may need to stage an intervention. This involves a group of friends and family inviting the person to engage with pre-arranged treatment.

For immediate assistance, reach out to Drug Rehab Centers today. 

Get Addiction Treatment Help Today

At Drug Rehab Centers, we can help you find the most appropriate cocaine addiction rehab for your needs.

To detox from cocaine as comfortably and safely as possible, most people find a supervised detox at a licensed medical detox center is the optimum approach to the first phase of rehab. We can connect you with suitable facilities near you in California.

Once detoxed, you should engage with an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, depending on the severity of your addiction and your personal circumstances. Consult our experienced team for help finding the right cocaine rehab the easy way. For more information and specifics of cocaine addiction rehab, contact us right here or call 866.559.4256 for guidance and immediate assistance.

Joe Gilmore
Author: Joe Gilmore

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