Symptoms of cocaine addiction
Cocaine (also known as coke) is a powerful drug that can be highly addictive, due to the short but intense high that it creates. Becoming dependent on that intense high can start to have a detrimental impact on your life and eventually result in the need for cocaine addiction treatment.
There are a number of signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction, as well as cocaine withdrawal symptoms, which can vary from person to person. Symptoms of cocaine addiction can depend on the amount and frequency of cocaine taken, as well as the method used to consume the drug. This can include snorting, injecting or smoking.
If you are struggling with cocaine addiction, professional treatment can help you to quit and learn the coping skills for long-term recovery. Our experts at Life Works are dedicated to helping you tackle your symptoms, resolve the underlying issues contributing to your cocaine addiction, and ultimately help you regain control of your life and leave your addiction in the past.
If you or anyone you know has been misusing cocaine, the following are all signs and symptoms of a dependency on this dangerous substance. The warning signs of cocaine use in adults can vary, but the symptoms often affect behavioural, physical, mental and social aspects of life. Often, people don’t know what’s in cocaine when ingesting it, making it all the more dangerous and making the symptoms of cocaine addiction potentially even worse. If these signs and symptom are left to develop, they could result in many disastrous outcomes, or even fatally overdosing.
Psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction:
Some of the psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction you may experience include:
- Brief state of euphoria
- Heightened confidence
- Poor decision-making abilities
- Mood swings
- Taking cocaine in an attempt to relieve stress and tension; this can often be the trigger for many people who go on to become addicted to cocaine use
- Finding it hard to focus or concentrate at work, home, or in any other areas of your life
- Intense cravings for cocaine
- Exacerbation of any existing mental health problems
Behavioural and social symptoms of cocaine addiction:
Some of the behavioural and social symptoms of cocaine addiction you may experience include:
- Acting impulsively or with increased energy
- Engaging in reckless and risky behaviours e.g. driving when under the influence of cocaine
- Being unable to reduce your cocaine use, even though this has had a negative effect on your life
- Using other drugs alongside cocaine
- Attempting to borrow or steal money to pay for cocaine
- Being secretive or dishonest about your whereabouts, associates, activities and the extent of your cocaine misuse
- Avoiding contact with family and friends, leading to social isolation
- Finding that you only tend to socialise with other cocaine users
- Devoting an excessive amount of time to obtaining, using and recovering from the effects of cocaine
- Lack of motivation in all areas of your life and finding that you need cocaine to ‘pick you up’
- Losing interest in activities, hobbies or events that were once important to you
- Neglecting responsibilities and relationships
- Poor performance and/or attendance at work
Physical symptoms of cocaine addiction:
Some of the physical symptoms of cocaine addiction you may experience include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Elevated body temperature
- ‘Blacking out’ as a result of cocaine use
- High blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose or ‘cocaine sniffles’
- Persistent nosebleeds
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Bursts of high energy
- Reduced need for sleep
- Breathing problems
Long-term effects of cocaine abuse
As well as causing a whole host of short-term physical, psychological and behavioural problems, chronic cocaine use can also have a range of long-term negative consequences, affecting all aspects of your life. These long-term effects of cocaine abuse include:
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Increased risk for heart attacks and strokes
- Long-term cognitive impairment
- Family problems
- Relationship breakdowns
- Academic failure
- Chronic financial problems
- Job loss and unemployment
- Arrest and imprisonment
- Suicidal thoughts
Understanding cocaine withdrawal symptoms
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms depend on how long cocaine has been used and the quantity of cocaine used. Excessive use will have more severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms compared to short-term, intermittent use.
Long-term use of cocaine has many negative effects on your life; however, immediately stopping the consumption of cocaine can also have a detrimental impact on the body. Over time, the body becomes dependant on any drug that is misused. Without it, the body can react in many different, unpleasant ways. When having withdrawal symptoms or detoxing from cocaine, it’s essential to have the right help to do so as it can be a complex process.
Some of the cocaine withdrawal symptoms someone may experience when detoxing are:
- Nightmares and terrors
- Suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Intense cravings, especially for cocaine
These symptoms can vary from person to person, and some may be more severe than others. Unlike other drugs, withdrawal symptoms of cocaine can range from physical symptoms to physiological symptoms, making it even more challenging. That’s why it’s crucial to seek treatment when having withdrawals and detoxifying. The experts at Life Works are highly qualified and experienced in supporting people through the cocaine withdrawal stage of their rehabilitation.
Why it is so important to get help for your cocaine addiction
At Life Works, we recognise that cocaine addiction is a mental illness that can destroy relationships, ruin careers and leave sufferers financially crippled. At its worst, cocaine addiction can even kill. Death can occur because of heart problems or a stroke, as cocaine significantly increases their blood pressure. Deaths can also happen if there has been a toxic reaction created when mixing cocaine and alcohol. Deadly diseases like HIV and hepatitis can also occur from sharing ‘straws’ when snorting the drug or needles when injecting cocaine.
That is why it is so important to get help for a cocaine addiction as soon as possible, as the effects of cocaine can be catastrophic. Understanding and admitting that you have a problem with cocaine is the first big step toward recovery. When you reach out for help, you will learn how to beat cocaine addiction and regain control of life.
This page was reviewed by Robin Clayton, Primary Therapist, (BACP, ATSAC) in September 2021.