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10 Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a potent, highly addictive illicit drug. Users may experience a range of intense short and long-term effects, including addiction. Prolonged or heavy use can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening complications.

People who use cocaine should seek treatment to stop safely and avoid relapse for life. Recognizing cocaine abuse and addiction is the first step toward getting the help you need to overcome this condition.

This article will detail 10 of the most common signs of cocaine addiction and how to find the treatment you need to regain control over your health and future. Reach out to the Mandala Healing Center specialists now to explore a range of holistic cocaine addiction treatment programs or for guidance during any stage of your addiction recovery journey.

Ten Signs of Cocaine Addiction

When someone is addicted to cocaine, friends and family may notice certain signs and symptoms. These include:

1. Nasal problems

One of the most common ways to ingest cocaine is by snorting the powdered form of this drug. This practice can irritate the nasal cavity and throat. The lining of the nasal passageways, inside the mouth, and throat are delicate, and repeated cocaine exposure can cause severe damage and inflammation.

People who snort cocaine may have chronic sinus problems, nose bleeds or runny nose, reduced or lost sense of smell, and trouble swallowing.

Some chronic cocaine users may suffer extreme damage, including nasal cavities or palate ruptures. Repairing this damage may be difficult or impossible, resulting in lifelong problems with breathing, eating, and speech.

2. Paranoia

Paranoia is typical in cocaine users, with somewhere between 70 and 84% of cocaine users experiencing it at some point. Cocaine-induced paranoia may be temporary in some cases. However, it can last several hours, days, or weeks.

Paranoia can take many forms. However, cocaine users are likely to experience intense paranoia, where they believe that people are suspicious or knowledgeable about their activities. Cocaine users who experience paranoia are likelier to isolate themselves to avoid crowds or the suspicions of loved ones. 

3. Cardiovascular problems

Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug. It works by increasing activity in the central nervous system (CNS). Cocaine also constricts blood vessels, increasing heart rate and blood pressure. This puts pressure on the entire cardiovascular system. One common complication of cocaine addiction is cardiovascular issues. 

Cocaine users with a history of cardiovascular issues may be more likely to suffer from heart attack, stroke, tears in the muscle of the aorta, heart failure, and other heart-related problems. However, even those without a personal or family history of cardiovascular issues may experience cardiovascular problems.

4. Weight loss

Because cocaine is a CNS stimulant, cocaine use speeds up many bodily processes, including metabolism. It also acts as an appetite suppressant, causing people to consume far fewer calories than their body needs. As a result, cocaine users often experience rapid, dramatic weight loss. Some people with cocaine addiction may also become malnourished as they lose significant amounts of weight quickly. 

5. Mood changes

One of the most recognizable signs of a cocaine addict is mood swings. Cocaine’s stimulant effects can cause dramatic mood changes. Users may experience anxiety, paranoia, and irritability. They may also exhibit rapidly fluctuating moods, appearing euphoric and energetic in one moment and anxious and irritable in the next.

Cocaine users experience bursts of energy and activity while using cocaine but may suffer from lethargy and depression when not using the drug. Depression and fatigue can be signs of cocaine withdrawal, which occurs when people stop using cocaine. This may be especially noticeable to friends and family who observe this drastic behavior change.

6. Skin problems

One of cocaine’s effects is the sensation of bugs crawling under their skin. Many cocaine users develop skin rashes, lesions, and infections because they frequently claw and scratch at their skin. These lesions may never heal or become infected.

Cocaine users may also combine this drug with heroin and inject it. This is known as speedballing. Using contaminated needles to inject drugs puts users at risk of skin infections, scarring, and other serious medical complications. 

7. Risky behaviors

Cocaine use can impair a person’s judgment,  making them more likely to engage in risky behaviors. While using cocaine, people may drive under the influence, have risky sex, or participate in dangerous or illegal activities. People may also combine cocaine with other illicit substances, making it more likely that they will experience serious complications, including overdose.

8. Memory problems

Research suggests that people with cocaine addiction may suffer cognitive setbacks, including:

  •  Poor attention span
  •  Impaired working memory
  •  Deficits in declarative memory
  •  Reduced attention

Working memory is related to linguistic and perceptual processing, while declarative memory is the ability to recall events and facts. Deficits in these areas of memory can make it difficult to function in your daily life.

Some studies suggest that cooking addiction may also impair people’s ability to exhibit emotional empathy and cause problems with social cognition and decision-making. Medical experts believe that cocaine affects neurotransmitters in the brain, significantly impacting overall cognition and memory.

9. Isolation

Although many people think of cocaine as a party drug, people with cocaine addiction often end up profoundly lonely and isolated. People with cocaine addiction may isolate to avoid contact with concerned loved ones or suffer from severe depression.

Other cocaine users isolate themselves because of the paranoia common with cocaine abuse. They may spend time alone to avoid judgments or intrusion from others.

People with substance abuse or addiction may be isolated as the condition grows. Drugs and alcohol become the center of a person’s life, and people may prioritize substance use over hobbies, relationships, or responsibilities.

10. Movement disorders 

Medical experts believe that heavy, prolonged cocaine abuse May contribute to the development of movement disorders, including:

  •  Parkinson’s disease
  •  Tourette syndrome
  •  Dyskinesias
  •  Myoclonus
  •  Acute dystonia

Cocaine affects dopamine levels in the brain, which makes it highly addictive and also increases the likelihood of movement disorders. The only way to avoid these and other complications is to seek treatment as soon as you recognize cocaine abuse or addiction.

Get Help for Cocaine Addiction Now

If you or someone in your life struggles with cocaine abuse or addiction, you are not alone. If you recognize the signs of a cocaine addict in yourself or a loved one, reach out to the specialists at the Mandala Healing Center now.