Cocaine Addiction Signs & Symptoms
Cocaine is a serious drug. It is both highly addictive and very dangerous. It also changes the mind and body. Some of these changes may be irreversible and even fatal.
Plus, it’s also a popular drug. It is the second most widely abused illegal drug in the US. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 1.5 million Americans used the drug in the past month. That’s huge! But it’s important to remember that using this drug has serious consequences. So let’s go over the signs and symptoms. This can help you or a loved one who may be struggling.
What Are The Short-Term Effects?
Let’s take a moment to look at the short-term effects of cocaine. Before we do that, let’s first break it down to the two most common forms:
- As a white, powdery substance. This is usually known as “coke”, “blow” or “powder”. It’s most frequently snorted and lasts about 30 minutes. Some users will inject it for a more powerful and quicker high. This usually only lasts about 15 minutes.
- As off-white or yellow rocks. This is known as “crack”, “freebase”, “base” or “rock”. This is smoked and usually lasts about 15 minutes. It’s more powerful than snorting but less powerful than injecting.
As you can see, the high does not last very long. Plus, the short-term effects will kick in immediately after the high starts. These include:
- Lots of energy and even hyperactivity.
- The user may become overly enthusiastic.
- More aggressive behavior and a short temper.
- The user may act impulsively and without any inhibitions.
- Twitchy movements and muscle tics.
- Serious changes in personality, including increased anxiety or even paranoia.
- The user may lose their appetite entirely.
So, if you think that a loved one may be using cocaine, then it will be helpful to keep an eye out for these signs.
What Are The Long-Term Effects?
We’ve discussed the short-term effects. These usually go away after about an hour or two. However, there are long-term effects as well. These can stay with a user for the rest of his or her life.
Plus, the longer a person regularly uses cocaine, the greater the negative effects. These can include:
- The person’s brain chemistry profoundly changes. This means that their reward system has been altered. As a result, they’ll crave the drug on a regular basis.
- People who snort the drug suffer from serious damage to their noses. This includes the loss of smell, holes in the septum, or a chronically runny or bleeding nose.
- Long-term cocaine abuse increases the risk of heart attacks. This is especially true for someone with underlying heart disease or an unhealthy lifestyle.
- The user may suffer long-term changes to their metabolism. This may alter how they store fat and contribute to their heart disease.
- Brain damage that could lead to seizures, strokes, or even a coma.
- Some chronic users will completely lose their appetite. This may lead to catastrophic weight loss and even malnutrition.
- Tooth decay and missing teeth may also happen, especially for users who smoke crack.
- Lung problems from smoking crack, including chronic pneumonia or even tumors.
Without the proper treatment, the user may suffer from these long-term effects. So, if you or a loved one is abusing cocaine then it’s important to get help before these consequences become your reality.
How Does Cocaine Abuse Affect Mental Health?
Prolonged abuse may result in a condition known as “cocaine psychosis”. This is characterized by four main symptoms:
- Paranoia will likely develop. This includes extreme suspicion or distrust of loved ones, government agencies, or law enforcement. This is the most common symptom.
- As the paranoia gets worse, then delusions may develop. Delusions are unrealistic thoughts and beliefs that a person experiences about themselves or the surrounding world.
- Hallucinations may occur as the overall condition gets worse. These make people think they are hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting something that does not exist.
- The person may become violent. This usually occurs as the person becomes more paranoid and aggressive.
As you can see, this condition is serious. During this time, it’s much more likely that the person will harm themselves or someone else.
It’s also quite common. For instance, let’s take a look at some related figures:
- Paranoia occurs in 68% to 84% of patients using cocaine.
- Violent behavior occurs in about 55% of patients with cocaine-induced psychiatric symptoms.
- The drug has been associated with over 30% of homicide victims.
- Some data suggests that the drug is present in 18% to 22% of suicides.
As a result, we can see that cocaine not only destroys a person’s body, but their mind as well. This can lead to destructive, dangerous, and even criminal behavior.
How Long Does Cocaine Psychosis Last?
Cocaine psychosis is a dangerous and distressing side-effect of the drug. But how long does it last? Is it a permanent condition?
No, it’s not permanent. It usually lasts about as long as the person is intoxicated. Once the high wears off, it will start to go away. In some cases, the effects may linger for hours or days after the last use.
There are some factors that can influence how long it lasts. These include:
- The purity of the drug – if it’s more powerful, then the effects are more powerful.
- How much of the drug was used.
- The route of administration (if it was snorted, smoked, or injected).
- If the user has “tolerance” to the drug. The longer someone uses, the higher their tolerance becomes.
- The presence of other drugs or alcohol in the person’s system.
Ultimately, getting medical treatment is critical in this situation. Clinicians will be able to manage the symptoms and decrease the likelihood of violence or self-harm. Just make sure you’re honest! They have to know that cocaine is present in the person’s system.
Am I Addicted to Cocaine?
Denial is one of the major symptoms of addiction. This makes it difficult to diagnose the condition. Unfortunately, recognizing the presence of addiction is the most important step in someone’s recovery. In fact, that’s why it’s Step One in the 12 Steps of Cocaine Anonymous (CA).
If you’re still unsure, then look out for the following things:
- Declining grades and overall disinterest in school.
- Poor work performance. This includes always being late and poor performance reviews.
- Changes in physical appearance. This includes poor hygiene and dirty clothing.
- Pulling away from friends and family. This may include engaging in secretive behavior.
- Negative changes to relationships. This can include family, friends, and coworkers.
- A decrease in energy when doing day-to-day tasks.
- Spending more money or constantly requesting to borrow money.
- Financial troubles, like not paying bills on time.
- A decrease in appetite and drastic weight loss.
- Bloodshot eyes, poor skin, and appearing run down.
- Being overly defensive or in denial when asked about substance use.
Remember, the first step towards recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Only then can you start living the honest life you need to conquer your addiction
How To Find Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Always remember that addiction is a serious disease. You shouldn’t feel ashamed that you struggle with these issues. In fact, getting treatment in a compassionate and judgment-free environment gives you a much better chance at recovery.
This should be done under the supervision of professionals. If you or a loved one are struggling, then contact Bedrock Recovery Center today. Ask to speak to a rep about getting the treatment you need. The sooner you do so, the better your chances of avoiding dangerous long-term effects. As they say in CA support groups, get clean and become “happy, joyous, and free”!