Cocaine Addiction Warning Signs & Dangers

The Landing provides cocaine addiction treatment for men rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier, more satisfying life.

Understanding Cocaine

Learn about cocaine and substance abuse

Cocaine is a potent and illicit stimulant that is often abused for recreational purposes. Often referred to as coke, cocaine can bring about feelings of euphoria, invincibility, and power when smoked, snorted, or injected. It can also heighten an individual’s senses, increase self-esteem, enhance perception, and produce a sense of grandiosity. The high that develops from use is often short, rarely lasting more than a half hour. Since the effects of this substance can be pleasurable, even if they only last for a short while, an individual can find himself compelled to use more and more cocaine to re-experience the initial high. As an individual continues to consume more cocaine, his brain changes in ways that can bring about tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Sadly, once an addiction has developed, it can be extremely challenging to overcome without effective professional help.

Statistics

Cocaine addiction statistics

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 0.3% of adults ages 18 and older suffer from cocaine use disorder. The National Drug Control Policy reports that approximately 3.6 million Americans abuse use cocaine on a regular basis.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for cocaine addiction

A variety of causes and risk factors have been known to impact an individual’s vulnerability to developing an addiction to cocaine, or cocaine use disorder:

Genetic: Having a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, who has struggled with cocaine use disorder or another substance use disorder can increase the likelihood that an individual will experience a similar problem. Experts estimate that as much as 60 percent of the risk variance for developing cocaine use disorder or other substance use disorders is attributable to genetic factors.

Environmental: The APA states that there a number of ways that an individual’s environment can play into his or her susceptibility of developing cocaine use disorder. These factors can include prenatal exposure to cocaine, having parents who abuse this substance, growing up within a home that was unstable, and being exposed to community violence.

Risk Factors: In addition to the many environmental risks, the following can also play a role in an individual’s odds of abusing cocaine:

  • Having a history of childhood conduct disorder
  • Suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and antisocial personality disorder
  • Possessing an impulsive personality or other similar traits
  • Ease of access to obtain cocaine
  • Being surrounded by individuals who abuse cocaine or other drugs

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction

There are a number of signs and symptoms that an individual can display when he is abusing cocaine, including the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Engaging in repetitive moments
  • Jumping from topic to topic while in conversation
  • Abusing cocaine in increasingly larger amounts or over longer periods of time than initially planned
  • Continuing to abuse cocaine despite having the desire to quit
  • Failing to fulfill obligations at work
  • Failing to take care of responsibilities at home
  • Hypervigilance
  • Rapid speech
  • Participating in dangerous activities to obtain cocaine

Physical symptoms:

  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Elevated or lowered blood pressure
  • Increased bodily temperature
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Muscular weakness

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Confusion
  • Experiencing intense cravings for cocaine
  • Paranoia

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Heightened states of irritability and agitation
  • Lacking emotional reactivity
  • Episodes of unwarranted anger

Effects

Effects of cocaine addiction

When individuals continue to abuse a substance like cocaine, they are putting themselves in danger of suffering a number of risks. All areas of an individual’s life can be impacted negatively in one way or another when the abuse of cocaine is allowed to continue. The following are among the many ways in which cocaine can impact an individual’s life:

  • Financial turmoil
  • Failing to attend one’s occupational responsibilities, possibly ending in job loss
  • Interaction with law enforcement
  • Loss of child custody
  • Familial conflict
  • Marital strife or divorce
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Loss of one’s sense of smell
  • Malnutrition
  • Kidney, liver, or lung damage
  • Damage to the cardiovascular system

Co-Occurring Disorders

Cocaine addiction and co-occurring disorders

Unfortunately, it is common for individuals who battle with cocaine addiction to also struggle with symptoms linked to other mental health conditions. Some of these conditions can include:

  • Conduct disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Gambling disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of cocaine withdrawal & overdose

Effects of cocaine withdrawal: When an individual abruptly stops his use of cocaine or decreases the amount that he is taking, he can begin experiencing withdrawal. The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can be upsetting and can develop within a few hours after the last use. Some of the potential symptoms that can develop during this period can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Extremely strong cravings for cocaine
  • Disturbed occupational function
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Dysphoric mood
  • Disturbed social functioning
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Psychomotor retardation

Effects of cocaine overdose: When cocaine is being abused, individuals put themselves at risk for overdose. An overdose happens when an individual consumes more of a substance than his or her body is able to handle. Since cocaine is highly potent and can cross the blood-brain barrier quickly, users can consume more of the drug than they are able to handle without even knowing it. If an individual overdoses of cocaine, he or she will require immediate medical attention. Some of the signs that could be indicative of an overdose on cocaine can include:

  • Panicked feelings
  • Irregular breathing
  • Hypertension
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Cramping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pains
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Seizures

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Getting high off of crack was the only thing that I looked forward to each day. Now, I am 5 years clean thanks to the addiction treatment at The Landing.

– Anonymous Client
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