Cocaine is dangerous every time a person uses it. Over time, cocaine damages a person’s life in many ways. Identifying a cocaine addiction in a friend or family member requires knowledge and attention. If you know what to look for, spotting the signs of cocaine use early on can help you intervene in time to prevent serious harm. Cocaine abuse signs, symptoms and side effects only worsen over time. Once addiction is recognized, it is important to seek help immediately.

Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine side effects are subtle at first compared to more obvious side effects of addictive behavior. The physical and psychological symptoms can sometimes escalate along with behavioral signs and consequences. Helping a loved one stop cocaine use is easier early on in their addiction. However, once addiction sets in, reversing the damage can take years.

Cocaine addiction symptoms are physical, mental and emotional. Addiction impacts several organ systems and can cause long-term damage.

Cocaine also has financial side effects because the drug is expensive. A person may change their habits or behaviors to help pay for a cocaine habit. The behavioral change may arise as asking for money, stealing from friends or family members, taking on extra jobs, taking out loans, selling their possessions or selling drugs.

Physical Symptoms of Cocaine

Cocaine has serious physical consequences. These consequences range in severity from mild to severe. People who use cocaine will have very little physical symptoms, but others may be more obvious. Some examples include:

  • Darkened circles around the eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Hoarseness
  • Impotence
  • Increased body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Runny or bloody nose
  • Sniffing
  • Stomach pain
  • Twitching or shaking

Withdrawal symptoms start when the drug starts to leave the system. The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can include depression, fatigue, and intense cravings. In the most severe cases, cocaine withdrawal can cause heart issues and seizures.

It is difficult to predict how potent cocaine is because of what it may have been added to it. Drug dealers cut cocaine with inert chemicals to make it seem like a larger batch. For that reason, one bag of cocaine may be much stronger than the last one. This constant variation sharply increases the chances of overdose because no one knows exactly how much cocaine (or additives) they’re consuming.

Psychological Symptoms of Cocaine

Intense psychological distress can happen with long-term cocaine abuse. General cognitive abilities, such as memory and motor tasks, are impaired with prolonged use. Signs of chronic cocaine abuse may be few at first, but will eventually become too many to ignore.

  • Anxiety
  • Bursts of elevated mood and euphoria
  • Emotional swings
  • Hallucinations
  • High energy levels
  • Hypersomnia (oversleeping)
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy and introversion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Paranoia
  • Short attention span

Other Cocaine Side Effects

The longer someone uses cocaine, the more severe and broader the side effects. Long-term users can develop difficult-to-treat addictions. However, other organ systems that can be damaged by cocaine use include:

Effects of Long Term Cocaine Abuse

A tolerance to cocaine develops in the early period of use and grows quickly. Those who use cocaine constantly need to take larger amounts to feel the original effects, which increases the likelihood of long-term damage. Though no amount of cocaine is safe to take, the drug is much more dangerous in large doses. It is easy to ignore the amount consumed because of increased tolerance. Long-term cocaine side effects include:

  • Chronic impotence and sexual dysfunction
  • Lost sense of smell
  • Damage to the septum, nose, and airways
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is not easy to spot unless you know what you are looking for. Someone with a cocaine use problem is motivated to hide that problem, and they may not know how to ask for help. They might deny the problem and reject any help. For those using cocaine, it is easy to become lost in the euphoria because of how cocaine impacts the circuitry of the brain. Being understanding of loved ones in need is important.

Cocaine Addiction Intervention

Intervention can be challenging. Make sure your loved ones know that you are looking out for their best interest and are worried about them. Do not attack them or their behavior or you risk losing the opportunity to help them. Rehab is an important first step for those seeking help.

If you recognize the signs, symptoms or side effects of cocaine addiction in yourself or a loved one, the sooner you seek help the sooner you can address the addiction and begin living a healthier life. Professional addiction treatment is the safest way to address a substance use disorder. Call The Recovery Village today to speak with a representative about how individualized treatment plans provide people struggling with addiction the support they need to achieve and maintain sobriety.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.