Cocaine addiction isn’t something that’s easily identifiable. You might even know someone who uses cocaine when they go to parties or need a boost of energy at work. It doesn’t seem odd to you because it’s something that the person has always done, but in reality those are signs of possible addiction.
First of all, something that many people mix up is the difference between cocaine and crack cocaine. According to drugrehab.org, cocaine is “a highly addictive stimulant that can be snorted, injected into the bloodstream, or it can be freebased. Cocaine is usually a fine white substance and generally comes in powder form. The chemical, cocaine-chloride comes directly from the coca-bush, but when drug dealers get their hands on it they can cut or lace with other non-psychoactive substances…they may also adulterate cocaine with other drugs like procaine or amphetamine.” The same website identifies crack cocaine as “a smokeable, less expensive, and more profitable version of cocaine. Crack comes further down the line from cocaine, and after it’s mixed with legal non-euphoric substances like ammonia or baking soda it’s cooked down to remove the hydrochloride and produce a smokeable product- typically in the form of an off-white or yellow looking rock.”
Years ago, the cocaine problem was full-blown and almost uncontrollable. In recent years however, the trend has just about steadied and averages as 1.6% of the population over the age of 12 using cocaine. According to one study, the amount of high school aged people using cocaine has nearly cut in half since 2006. However, cocaine addiction is still a problem for those who choose to use it.
Signs of cocaine addiction
Those who start using cocaine are generally just experimenting with the party drug and don’t expect to get hooked. For this reason, they often don’t know they have a problem and therefore family members or friends need to be the ones to tell them. Classic signs of cocaine use according to Rehabs.com include:
- Dilated and enlarged pupils to the point that their eyes look completely black
- Unnatural amounts of energy and restlessness
- Weight loss, no appetite
- Insomnia, not able to sleep in normal sleeping patterns
- Extremely scatter brained, jump from subject to subject, talks really fast
- Elaborate mood changes, almost bipolar like
- Fast heart beat
- Nasal congestion
When high on cocaine, users experience a few moments of elatedness and then fall into short-term symptoms that the drug triggers. They might experiences things like tremors, dizziness, abnormal heart beats, panic, the feeling of having a heart attack, seizures, strokes, increased body temperature, and in the case of an overdose, coma or death. People who use cocaine normally may get sicker more often or more easily than a person who doesn’t use cocaine. While under the influence, the immune system is significantly suppressed, meaning they’re at risk for catching any illness they come in contact with. A chronic common cold or obtaining the flu could be a direct cause of the use of cocaine.
Sometimes addicts will leave physical clues in their trail. You might be able to find rolled up dollar bills or papers that they use for snorting the cocaine. Small razor blades, spoons, mirrors, or flat surfaces with powdery substances on them are all signs of use.
How to help?
The true problem comes in when the addiction is negatively affecting the users long term health as well as his or her social life. Supporting a drug addiction can get expensive, so depending on how reliant the user is on the drug, they may begin stealing money, not buying food, or forgoing their rent in order to pay for their bad habit. The drug use can lead to binge use, which is especially bad for your health and well-being.
Facilities like Nexus, a treatment center in Los Angeles, treat specifically for cocaine addiction. The unique addiction makes it important for patients to get individualized treatment so that they can maximize their likelihood of getting sober.