Cocaine is a fast-acting and extremely addictive stimulant. While many people see it as a harmless party drug, an increasing number of Americans have developed potentially life-threatening dependencies on this substance. Stimulant overdose deaths are on the rise; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 people died by overdosing on cocaine in 2019.
As the popularity of this dangerous drug rises, it is important to be aware of the signs of substance use. Today, we’ll explain the intricacies of cocaine addiction and answer your frequently asked questions about this stimulant.
How to Tell If Someone is on Cocaine
Early drug use may be subtle in nature. However, there are sure signs that someone has begun abusing cocaine, either by sniffing coke or smoking crack.
Using cocaine results in an altered mental state. Individuals who are high on stimulants may initially exhibit overconfidence and self-assurance; however, extreme anxiety and nervous behavior are actually far more common. The elation of drug use is typically eclipsed by paranoia, erratic behavior, and hyperactivity.
Physical Indicators of Cocaine Use
You can tell that someone is using cocaine by observing their physical appearance. Check their eyes: dilated pupils and bloodshot eyes are clear indicators that something is up. Those who are sniffing coke may have runny noses and sudden nosebleeds – you will notice them sniffling or struggling to speak due to a hoarse throat. Weight loss, poor personal hygiene, and ill-fitting clothes are other physical signs that something is wrong.
There are also behavioral signs that a person is on a stimulant drug. People who have just consumed cocaine may seem to bounce off the walls with a burst of energy. They might be fidgety or unable to sit still. You’ll probably pick up on the fact that they are speaking too much and too quickly. Take note if they seem to disappear off to the bathroom or a private area more often than they used to. Additionally, individuals on this drug exercise poor judgement due to heightened confidence, meaning that they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.
Finally, spotting paraphernalia can also be a clue that something isn’t right. People who are sniffing coke may leave certain items around, such as razor blades, cut-off straws, rolled dollar bills, and small baggies. Keep an eye out for a powdery residue on flat surfaces or around their nose.
If you notice any of the above indicators, it is likely that your loved one is using cocaine. To determine whether they are using casually or have developed a substance use disorder, read on.
Cocaine Addiction Signs
Some people use cocaine occasionally. They may only choose this stimulant while out partying on the weekends. However, with continued use, it is fully possible to develop a physical and psychological dependency on this substance. This can be extremely dangerous; cocaine addiction quickly devastates a person’s health, finances, employment, and relationships.
How can you tell whether a person’s cocaine use has escalated to the point of addiction?
Cocaine is a very expensive drug. Therefore, people who are dependent on it tend to begin struggling with money. Addiction can also make it difficult to stay employed, which can create further financial problems. If your loved one has developed an addiction, they may ask to borrow cash or might even steal items to sell in exchange for cocaine.
Worsened Mental Health
Mind-altering substances directly affect the brain. Cocaine and crack users often experience severe mental health issues as a result of continued drug abuse. They may report paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, and other new concerns.
Significant Changes to Appearance
When a person engages in chronic, heavy cocaine use, they will begin to look different. Their personal hygiene may fall by the wayside and they will probably appear unkempt, especially respect to the health of their hair, skin, and nails. They may also exhibit sudden weight loss without mention of diet or exercise.
Stimulants wreak havoc on the body. First, they serve as appetite suppressants, meaning that your friend or family member may lose a lot of weight as a result of malnutrition. Even the act of sniffing coke can cause nasal issues like chronic nosebleeds, runny nose, and a lost sense of smell. Your loved one will also be more prone to illness as a result of a weakened immune system.
Developing a Tolerance
The brain eventually adapts to ongoing substance use; using cocaine over and over again causes your loved one’s body to acclimate to certain levels of the drug in their system. When this happens, more of a drug is needed for the user to achieve the same effect. This phenomenon is referred to as a tolerance.
Heavy cocaine users experience withdrawal symptoms. Unlike other substances, these are primarily psychological in nature. If your loved one has abstained from coke for a while, they may become irritable, fatigued, unable to sleep, and depressed. They will also experience cravings to use again. If this is the case, it’s a sure sign that an addiction has developed.
Fortunately, with proper care, it is fully possible to recover from this condition. Help is available.
Help for Addiction in Western Washington
At Lakeside-Milam, we know what it takes to overcome an addiction to cocaine. Our team of experts provide fully individualized treatment to those struggling with stimulant abuse.
When your loved one comes to our accredited facility in Washington State, they’ll benefit from evidence-based practices such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational incentives, and an immersive therapeutic community.
Contact us for more information about recovery from cocaine dependency.