Sign and Symptoms

Cocaine’s stimulant properties act throughout the brain and body, causing neurological, psychological and physical symptoms when cocaine addiction takes hold. Because of cocaine’s rapidly developing tolerance and short-acting high, addiction can develop over a short period of use or experimentation. Though in the beginning stages of cocaine use, symptoms of cocaine addiction may be less pronounced, as severity and length of use increases, telltale signs of cocaine use tend to emerge. If you recognize any of the following signs or symptoms, call our hotline to seek out cocaine addiction treatment.

Overall Physical Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can cause overall increases in both heart rate and blood pressure, placing cocaine-addicted individuals at higher risk for serious cardiac problems. In fact, cardiac arrest is one of the most often cited complications in cocaine overdoses. Cocaine addiction also takes a toll on the muscular system, causing lowered muscle control, involuntary leg and arm movements, and twitching in the extremities. Other physical signs of cocaine addiction include restlessness, cold sweats from anxiety increases, vomiting, severe headaches and even vertigo.

Among those who smoke cocaine (most frequently in its rock form, “crack”), respiratory problems can arise. In fact, cocaine-addicted individuals who smoke the drug often suffer from frequent bouts of bronchitis, difficulty breathing, black phlegm and stabbing chest pains. One study found that among cocaine users who required emergency room visits, nearly four in 10 complained of chest pain, while two in 10 had problems with regular breathing function.

Cocaine highs generally last anywhere from minutes (for the rock form of cocaine, known as “crack”) to hours, requiring frequent use to maintain a cocaine high. As use continues, the body builds up a natural tolerance to cocaine, requiring users to increase the amount they ingest in order to re-achieve the level of high they crave. One of the indicators that cocaine addiction treatment should be sought is when cocaine users find themselves escalating in the amount of cocaine they consume.

Visual Signs of a Cocaine Habit

Visually recognized signals that cocaine is present in the body include dilated pupils, nosebleeds or users frequently rubbing or itching their noses. In fact, due to the frequency of users snorting cocaine, nasal crusting can take place, leading to sinusitis, chronic congestion and laryngitis. In cases where cocaine use continues, the nasal passages can become chronically inflamed, and the septum (the cartilage between the nostrils) can become perforated due to decreased circulation in the nose. In cases where the septum becomes deviated, a telltale whistling or wheezing while breathing nasally can be accompanied by chronic secretions in a condition colloquially called “coke nose.”

Be Aware of Drug Paraphernalia

Many cocaine users also will carry paraphernalia for cocaine uses, including small mirrors, razor blades (for cutting lines of cocaine) and rolled dollar bills with powder residue. Small plastic bags or glass or paper vials often are used for storing cocaine. For those who are freebasing cocaine in its rock form, glass pipes or tinfoil (particularly with burn marks) can be evidence of repeated use.

Are You or a Loved One Addicted to Cocaine?

You Prioritize Cocaine Above All Else+

You Prioritize Cocaine Above All Else

If you are making choices about events you will attend based upon whether or not you will be able to get cocaine there or bring cocaine in with you so you can stay high throughout the event, cocaine is no longer a substance of casual abuse. Prioritizing the ability to remain under the influence of the drug and missing out on important events or social events in favor of getting high signifies that you have a problem that requires cocaine rehab.

You Have Health Problems Related to Use+

You Have Health Problems Related to Use

There are acute health issues or side effects that develop as a result of cocaine abuse that can be troublesome, but there are also serious, chronic health problems that can occur when long-term cocaine addiction is an issue. For most, this means high blood pressure, nasal and throat passage problems, and cardiac issues. More serious health problems include overdose, seizure, cardiac arrest and more. If your doctor is showing concern about the state of your health due to cocaine abuse or if you are experiencing episodes of discomfort or pain in your chest and still cannot stop abusing the drug, it’s time to find a cocaine rehab.

You Have Financial Problems Due to Use+

You Have Financial Problems Due to Use

Cocaine is expensive. Small quantities cost large amounts and those small quantities get used up quickly. It’s easy to put a big dent in the household bills by indulging in cocaine. When cocaine becomes an addiction, there is no bill that gets paid before it. The rent or mortgage payment, car payments, credit card payments, money for things the kids need at school – none of these are important compared to getting more cocaine. College funds, retirement funds and a lifetime’s worth of savings can be drained in just a few short months when cocaine addiction becomes an issue. When the bill collectors start knocking, it finally becomes real – cocaine addiction is a problem you need to deal with at a cocaine rehab.

You are Unable to Quit Abusing the Drug on Your Own+

You are Unable to Quit Abusing the Drug on Your Own

Those who know that cocaine abuse is causing problems for them in their private and public lives may have tried to quit before. They may have promised worried loved ones on multiple occasions that the harm done while under the influence would never happen again. Unfortunately, when cocaine addiction is the problem and not a lesser issue of cocaine abuse, it’s almost impossible to quit using the drug without professional and medical care and treatment. The guidance received at a cocaine rehab facility is invaluable in helping cocaine addicts to get back on their feet and re-learn how to effectively function, handle stressors and accomplish their day-to-day tasks without depending upon cocaine. If you can’t quit on your own, you need to get help at a cocaine rehabilitation program.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When cocaine floods the brain with dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, users experience the classic cocaine high. However, the brain eventually adjusts to these imbalanced levels of chemicals, changing their natural production levels of neurotransmitters over time. As a result, when cocaine usage abruptly stops during attempts at abstinence (or lack of access to the drug), cocaine users experience withdrawal symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include severe exhaustion, wide mood swings and an intense desire to reuse the drug.

Your Social Relationships Have Changed+

Your Social Relationships Have Changed

As cocaine use becomes more important to the user throughout the course of cocaine addiction, social changes may occur as well. Circles of friends may shift to those who accept – or participate in – cocaine use, while the cocaine-addicted individual may estrange old friends and family. Hobbies and activities that used to interest the individual may be abandoned as cocaine use worsens, as well

Signs of an Overdose

If someone you love battles a cocaine addiction, knowing the signs of cocaine overdose can be imperative. Many cocaine overdoses involve the use of at least one other drug – most commonly, alcohol or prescription medications – and can prove quickly fatal if expedient medical attention is not sought. Users who inject cocaine are at the highest risk for overdose, as dosages are frequently miscalculated and the safe margin of error for over-ingestion is slim.

Signs of cocaine overdose include racing heart, hyperventilation and sharp pains in the chest. Loss of consciousness needs to be immediately treated if an individual is under the influence of cocaine, especially in the presence of alcohol or other drugs. Cocaine-addicted individuals who experience profuse sweating, sudden high fevers, shaking (or seizures) or mental confusion should seek emergency treatment immediately. Cocaine overdoses can also result in strokes and heart attacks and can become quickly fatal when medical attention is not sought. After an overdose, it should be clear to all parties that mental health treatment for a cocaine addiction is seriously needed