Cocaine Symptoms and Warning Signs

There are approximately 9.88 million people in the United States who currently use cocaine.

It’s not always easy to figure out whether or not someone close to you is addicted to cocaine.

Some warning signs to you ought to look out for are explained below, along with tips on how to intervene if someone you love is struggling with cocaine addiction.

Symptoms of Addiction to Cocaine

The following are some general symptoms of an addiction to cocaine.

Mood Changes

Changes in mood are highly common among people who are struggling with any kind of addiction, including an addiction to cocaine.

Some of the most common mood changes associated with cocaine addiction include:

  • Feelings of anxiety, fearfulness, panic, and/or restlessness
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Inexplicable feelings of irritation
  • Feelings of superiority

In individuals who are addicted to cocaine, these mood changes often seem to come out of nowhere. If your loved one has recently begun exhibiting a dramatic change in their mood, cocaine abuse might be the cause.

Behavioral and Psychological Changes

If someone you love is addicted to cocaine, they will likely exhibit the following changes in behavior:

  • Becoming extremely talkative
  • Experiencing intense feelings of paranoia
  • Experiencing significant increases in their energy
  • Beginning to steal or frequently ask to borrow money
  • Becoming violent
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Abandoning activities they once enjoyed
  • Experiencing a lack of motivation
  • Hallucinations

Individuals who are addicted to cocaine will also, in many cases, begin to exhibit behaviors that seem erratic, reckless, or risky.

Physical Health Problems

Frequent cocaine abuse contributes to a wide range of health issues. Some common health problems associated with cocaine addiction include:

  • Insomnia followed by extreme fatigue after usage
  • Frequent headaches
  • Muscle spasms and/or tremors
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss and/or malnutrition
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • A chronic runny nose and/or frequent nosebleeds
  • Hoarse voice
  • Body temperature changes
  • Heart rate and blood pressure increases
  • Pupil dilation
  • Sexual dysfunction

In severe cases, people who are addicted to cocaine may also experience conditions like gangrene of the bowel. They also experience a suppressed immune system and an increased risk of developing conditions like HIV and hepatitis.

Warning Signs a Loved One May Be Using Cocaine

The specific cocaine addiction warning signs you ought to look for will vary depending on the age of your loved one. Children who are addicted to cocaine will behave differently than adults who are addicted.

Is My Child Using Cocaine?

You may think your child is too young to be using drugs, but research shows an increase in the number of kids as young as 12-14 who are abusing all kinds of drugs, including cocaine.

If your child is addicted to cocaine, behavior changes are typically the first sign you’ll notice.

Some of the most common warning signs teens exhibit when they’re struggling with cocaine addiction include:

  • Sudden changes in friend groups
  • No longer spending time with friends or family
  • Becoming isolated
  • Quitting or showing a lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed (sports, hobbies, lessons, etc.)
  • Sudden changes in grades and academic performance
  • Stealing money or items from around your house (to sell in order to get money for drugs)
  • Increased drowsiness or fatigue
  • Sudden changes in mood (becoming irrational, dramatic, irritable, or even violent)
  • Threatening to leave school or leave home
  • Sudden changes in personal hygiene

It’s also important to be on the lookout for physical changes, including the following:

  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • A frequent runny nose or nosebleeds
  • Shaking 
  • Red or flushed cheeks
  • Bruises and/or other unexplained injuries

Of course, you should also search for the presence of drug paraphernalia.

Specific items you child will likely possess if they are addicted to cocaine include hollowed out pens or similar devices (for snorting cocaine) and razor blades or plastic cards used for chopping up cocaine and making it easier to snort.

Your child might also start wearing strange jewelry that doesn’t seem to align with their personal style. There are many different types of jewelry that are designed for discretely storing and transporting cocaine. 

Is My Parent Using Cocaine?

Many of the behavioral and physical changes associated with cocaine addiction in children are common in adults as well. But, if you’re concerned that your parent is addicted to cocaine, there are some other warning signs you ought to watch out for.

Some of the most common signs of cocaine addiction in adults include:

  • Failing to show up to work regularly
  • Neglecting to pay bills on time
  • Failing to perform everyday tasks — preparing meals, cleaning the house, picking kids up from school, etc.
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and grooming
  • Mood swings 
  • Spikes in energy followed by intense crashes

Your parent will also likely possess drug paraphernalia if they are addicted to cocaine. 

Intervention for Cocaine Abuse

No matter how old your loved one is, if you think that they are struggling with cocaine addiction, it’s important to encourage them to seek help. 

Many people will hold an intervention to talk to their loved one and let them know that they want them to get help.

An intervention is a type of meeting that provides everyone with an opportunity to talk to the addict and let them know how their behaviors have affected them personally.

If you decide to hold an intervention for your loved one, it’s important to make sure you and everyone involved are on the same page. Hold a pre-intervention meeting to discuss how you will broach the subject of their addiction.

During the intervention, remember to use “I” statements so that your loved one does not feel attacked or defensive.

Clearly explain the consequences that you will enforce if they don’t seek help and offer your support and encouragement to help them get the treatment they need.

Final Thoughts on Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine abuse and addiction are serious issues, and millions of people –both children and adults — struggle with them every year. 

If you or someone you love is exhibiting signs of cocaine addiction, it’s imperative that they get help as soon as possible.

Contact us today to learn more about our different addiction treatment programs.

You can also schedule a quick and confidential assessment to find out which treatment protocol is right for you or your loved one.