cocaine being cutThere are many people throughout the United States who are addicted to cocaine. While the number of addictions have been growing over the past 10 years, that doesn’t change all the dangers associated with cocaine addiction. There are reports of children as young as 12 years old who have used cocaine.

Many people consider cocaine to be a more luxurious drug. This is because it is more costly than many other drugs. Many people who abuse cocaine have a higher societal status or are a celebrity. However, there are many others who are abusing cocaine as well. Those with a cocaine addiction may have many financial difficulties because of the costs related to the addiction.

This drug is so attractive to people because they can stay awake for long periods of time and party at the same time. However, the dangers are not worth it. During 2009, the number of cocaine-related visits to emergency rooms throughout the United States was 422,896, The total number of illicit drug-related emergency room visits during that year was around 1,000,000. You can see how alarming cocaine use is from this comparison.

If you think someone you love or care about is using cocaine, there are some signs you might notice. Learn more about cocaine use and addiction today.

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Defining Cocaine and Use of the Drug

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is highly addictive. It severely raises levels of energy, attention, and alertness. It comes in two different forms. The hydrochloride salt form is a powder that gets dissolved into water. The freebase form gets heated up and the user inhales the vapors.

This drug provides a short-term high, usually lasting around 30 minutes before the addict needs to use again. When someone snorts cocaine, it often helps them to avoid sleep. Many party-goers use this drug to keep themselves awake for all-night scenes. Cocaine addicts often feel they are bullet-proof and may take on very high risk activities. When mixed with alcohol, this can get even worse.

Side Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine users may experience a wide range of side effects. Some of these side effects include:

  • Euphoric sensations
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Overconfidence
  • Disorientation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Laughing more than normal
  • Agitation
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Hyperactivity
  • Runny nose

These are some of the most common side effects known to cocaine users.

There are other effects that may occur the following day after use. These are generally more common when the cocaine user was also drinking. These effects might include:

  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Looks flushed

These may feel similar to a hangover from drinking, just amplified and more severe. This is oftentimes referred to a cocaine hangover.

The side effects may be felt immediately or awhile after use. Many cocaine addicts are quite fidgety and this is noticeable. They may seem very distracted. Cocaine addicts may sway their attention from one thing to another very quickly.

If you notice someone who used to be outgoing is now more isolated, this could be a sign of an addiction. Most financially stable people who develop a cocaine addiction have a difficult time keeping up with bills. They may fall into debt fast.

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Other Signs of Cocaine Use

cocaine powderYou won’t necessarily see all the above-mentioned signs in someone who has a cocaine addiction. There may even be some other signs that help you recognize cocaine use. You may see white powder around this person’s face or nose. They may keep washing their face. You may even see this powder on clothes or other surfaces in the home.

Some of the other signs you might see in someone you suspect has a cocaine addiction include:

  • Runny nose (they may constantly sniff or rub at their nose)
  • Nosebleeds (these are very common in cocaine addicts)
  • Bloodshot eyes (red and watery, often more noticeable in the morning)
  • Wearing sunglasses (even when there is no need to do so)
  • Needle track marks
  • Burned fingers or lips
  • Constantly leaving rooms or social events (then returning with more energy)

These are some of the other signs you might notice in someone who has a cocaine addiction. If you notice these signs, it is almost a sure-thing they are addicted to cocaine.

Cocaine Paraphernalia

If you suspect someone you care about has a cocaine addiction, there are some things you may want to look out for. Some of the things you might find include:

  • Plastic bags (these are used for storing cocaine)
  • Spoons
  • Pipes
  • Slabs (you may see white powder residue on these)
  • Large amounts of vinegar or lemon juice (user might mix with cocaine to get a stronger high)
  • Syringes
  • Needles

If you notice these things around the home, it is very likely that person has been using cocaine.

Cocaine Dangers

There are many dangers when using cocaine. After a longer time period of using this drug, the brain gets rewired. The natural pleasure responses don’t react as they used to. Something the addict used to enjoy, may not seem fun. With more tolerance to this drug, the user needs a lot more to get the same high. In addition, withdrawal symptoms may occur sooner than they used to after not using.

Nasal passages are often damaged if someone has snorted cocaine. This increases the risk of infection. It also causes nosebleeds, blockages, issues with swallowing, and nasal irritation. Those who smoke cocaine have an increased risk of developing lung issues.

The longer someone uses cocaine, the more likely they are to develop paranoia, anxiety disorders, or panic disorders. Some cocaine addicts have even developed psychosis.

Cocaine users have a higher risk of seizures, strokes, and heart related issues. They may develop decreased cognitive functioning. This may include loss of memory or attention issues.

After getting clean, if someone were to relapse, the risk of fatal reactions would be even higher.

Due to all these dangers, it is often recommended that those who are recovering from a cocaine addiction, do so with the help of professionals. The medical professionals at a rehab center can offer support, help, and medical treatments when necessary.

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Cocaine and Other Drugs

Since the high from using cocaine is very short-lived, many people use other substances with it. The most common choice is drinking alcohol. Some people mix cocaine use with ecstasy or heroin as well. Having more than one substance in the body at once increases the risk of overdose.

If you notice someone who has issues swallowing, breathing issues, or experiences chest pain, they need medical attention immediately. Other risks of mixing drugs include seizures or even going into a coma. If treatment is not received quickly, the overdose can cause renal disease or a fatal reaction.

Detoxing from Cocaine

When someone is overcoming a cocaine addiction, they will first go through the detox process. This can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary to help the body heal and recover. The first thing that happens in this process is withdrawal. Most recovering cocaine addicts experience a range of withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Increased appetite
  • Exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Concentration issues
  • Nightmares or bad dreams
  • Responding slower to conversations
  • Feeling restless
  • Less physical movements
  • Loss of happiness
  • Feeling suicidal or depressed
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors, muscle spasms, aches, pains, or chills

Most withdrawal symptoms begin about 1 ½ hours after last using the drug. Most recovering cocaine addicts experience symptoms of withdrawal for up to 10 days. It is recommended that cocaine addicts recover in the safety of an addiction treatment center. The medical staff can monitor these symptoms and make the recovering addict more comfortable.

Resources Available to Help Overcome Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine PowderOne of the most popular resources is CA or Cocaine Anonymous. This program was created based upon AA or Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a 12 step program that helps cocaine addicts overcome their addiction. It teaches them daily habits to achieve a clean lifestyle. The recovering addicts focus on one day at a time. There are face-to-face meetings provided for free throughout the world. Support groups are available online as well.

Recovering cocaine addicts can utilize SMART Recovery support. This is a bit different than the Cocaine Anonymous program. The goal of SMART Recovery is to focus solely on oneself. The belief in this program is that everyone knows themselves better than others do. With that in mind, everyone creates their own path to recovery.

Offering Support for Someone Who is Addicted to Cocaine

You suspect someone you love has been using cocaine. It might be a good idea to have a discussion with them. Be honest and open with this person about what you have seen or found. Don’t talk down to them or judge them. If you do, they will likely lock up and get defensive.

You may even want to schedule a professional intervention to help you have this discussion. There should be very few people attending the intervention. That way the addict doesn’t feel like everyone is ganging up on them. Most cocaine addicts are going to need treatment. This means you should have a plan ready for where they can attend, if they agree to get help. You may want to learn more about the various treatments available for a cocaine addict. Some of these options include:

  • Inpatient addiction rehab
  • Detox centers
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient rehab
  • Counseling
  • Sober living homes

The more you learn about the various treatments out there, the more you can support and help the person with the addiction.

You can also help someone who has a cocaine addiction by being there for them. It may take some time, but you can do this without enabling. It starts by setting up boundaries and making sure the person with the addiction knows those boundaries. However, be sure to let them know you are there if they need to talk.

Cocaine addictions are very dangerous. If you suspect someone you know is addicted to cocaine, try to get them into treatment as soon as possible.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.