It’s not always easy to recognize and identify a cocaine abuse problem. That’s why it is important to know the signs of cocaine abuse. If you spot several of these signs in a loved one, it might mean that they require drug addiction treatment.
Cocaine can be consumed in several ways, but nasal inhalation is the most common. Most cocaine users snort the powder cocaine through their nostrils. Snorting any powder in this way can be dangerous, leading to a series of nasal problems.
One of the most obvious signs of cocaine use is chronically having the sniffles. Many cocaine users suffer from a constant runny nose, and they may try to justify it by mentioning allergies or saying that they have a cold.
Snorting cocaine can also cause nosebleeds. Having frequent nose bleeds, therefore, could be a sign of a reliance on cocaine. Some heavy cocaine users are diagnosed with a nasal septum perforation or a hole in the membrane between the nostrils. While there are many causes for this perforation, cocaine use is certainly one of them.
Unusual Sleep Patterns
Cocaine is a stimulant drug. After taking it, most users will experience a surge in energy, at least for a short period of time. Chronic cocaine users and abusers will often have unusual sleep patterns. These changes to sleep schedules can help loved ones recognize the drug problem.
Cocaine users may appear energetic, almost bouncing off the walls. Just an hour or two later, they might look exhausted. If this cycle is repeated within a day, it may be the result of repeatedly consuming cocaine.
In addition to proving a short surge of hyper energy, cocaine can make it hard to feel rested. That might mean periods with little sleep alternating with 12 or 14 hours of sleep. In short, any unusual changes in sleep patterns can point to a cocaine abuse problem.
Manic Enthusiasm or Lacking Inhibitions
Cocaine doesn’t just provide energy. It also changes a person’s personality for a brief time. Taking cocaine can make people giddy with enthusiasm as well as effusive with language and behavior.
People abusing cocaine may begin to hug and praise people, even people they barely know. They might be the first to jump to conclusion, or they might suggest outlandish activities. Cocaine use lessens inhibitions. This encourages risky behavior and dangerous activities.
Cocaine users are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, and they are more likely to take physical risks. If someone you care about begins to exhibit these behaviors without explanation, then it might be due to cocaine use.
Changes to Weight or Appearance
Since cocaine is a stimulant, it can have an impact on metabolism. Cocaine abuse can lead to weight gain, weight loss or other changes to appearance.
For some individuals, cocaine’s stimulant effects mean reduced appetite. These individuals may struggle with rapid weight loss or even malnutrition. Muscle weakness and atrophy is also possible.
On the other hand, some individuals can actually gain weight as a result of cocaine consumption. Chronic drug use can discourage healthy eating habits, and strange sleep patterns can mean less time for exercise and a far more sedentary lifestyle.
Finally, cocaine use can also impact how people care for themselves. Grooming and hygiene habits might disappear as a result of cocaine consumption. Any sudden or unexplained changes in appearance, along with other symptoms, might be a result of cocaine abuse.
Mood-Related Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
Mood swings are one of the most common signs of a cocaine addiction. A person who uses cocaine can be happy, sad, angry and then happy again within a 90-minute window. Cocaine can also cause a number of serious mood problems and behavioral concerns, some of which can be serious.
Anxiety is increased as a result of cocaine use. Some cocaine users suffer from chronic anxiety, and as the cocaine effects wear off it will get more pronounced. Panic attacks are also possible as a result of this anxiety.
Cocaine abuse can also lead to irritability and feelings of superiority. Many cocaine users stop socializing with friends and family members. They get irritated quickly and might believe that their loved ones just don’t understand them anymore.
Some cocaine users also experience paranoia. They might be concerned that others are picking up on their drug use or strange behaviors. This can further isolate cocaine users and contribute to unhappiness.
References to Cocaine or Cocaine Paraphernalia
Another way to determine whether someone is using cocaine is by paying attention to their vocabulary. While some people that use cocaine call it by its best-known name, others refer to it by slang nicknames. Cocaine might be referred to as coke, blow, snow, nose candy, bump, line or powder.
In addition, it can be helpful to know what cocaine paraphernalia to look for. Those who abuse cocaine might be surrounded by items like rolled up dollar bills or other pieces of paper, white residue or small clear plastic baggies. If you spot these items or hear nicknames for cocaine being used frequently, then it is worth getting to the heart of the matter.
Responding to the Signs of Cocaine Abuse or Addiction
Recognizing cocaine abuse is important, but it is only the beginning of the journey to recovery. If you notice these signs in a loved one, then you need to respond. Ignoring the problem could mean that cocaine abuse becomes an addiction, which could eventually become an overdose.
Cocaine abuse requires professional treatment. Often, the best route is a medically supervised drug detox. This is the opportunity for patients to break free from their physical and psychological dependence on cocaine.