Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Knowing the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction could make a huge difference to someone you care about.

Being able to recognize the early warning signs of cocaine addiction could be life-saving.

Why? In the simplest and bluntest terms possible, cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs on the planet. It is highly addictive and can become an obsession to the point where it take over the user’s life. Identifying a cocaine user early, is vitally important to helping the person using cocaine to break the habit. Drug rehab, recovery and abstinence is the only way to avoid the ultimate consequences of using cocaine, including jail, permanent physical damage, insanity and death.

Most commonly taken by snorting, cocaine can also be taken through injection, smoking, or in the case of crack cocaine, by inhaling. This multitude of methods makes it easy to use.  In 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million current (past-month) cocaine users aged 12 or older.

Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is not a subtle drug like marijuana. It takes a physical and mental toll on those who use it, almost from the first day of use. Prolonged use is especially obvious if you know what signs to look for. The following signs are common indicators of cocaine usage:

  • White powder residue on mirrors or other hard surfaces
  • Rolled up dollar bills, short thin metal tubes or straws
  • large amounts of unaccounted for money
  • Razor Blades
  • Small bags containing white powder
  • Runny noses, constant sniffing, and nose bleeds, as a result of snorting
  • Track marks on the arms or thighs due to injections
  • Burns on fingertips or lips from smoking
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Unusual aggressiveness
  • Excitement for no apparent reason
  • Poor decision making, often caused by overconfidence
  • Notable exhaustion, identified by excessive yawning or napping
  • Strange food cravings
  • Shortness of breath after even light activity
  • Sweating

If left unchecked, these rather mild signs of cocaine use can escalate to much more dangerous effects, including:

  • Psychosis
  • Heart abnormalities, potentially resulting in a heart attack
  • Social disruption, including loss of job, friends, or spouse and even potentially felony convictions
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Death

Any individual sign is not necessarily an identifier of cocaine use, but multiple signs, especially if they appear for more than a few days, is highly suggestive of some type of drug use, most likely cocaine use if enough of the above signs are present. The stronger effects that result from prolonged abuse are almost certain signs that a person is using cocaine and requires intervention as quickly as possible.

Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction – Withdrawal Symptoms

white powder on small mirrors with rolled up dollar bill are signs & symptoms of cocaine addictionAs with just about any drug that creates a physical addiction, cocaine users experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug consistently. Since cocaine is both physically and psychologically addictive, and strongly at that, the symptoms tend to kick in only shortly after usage is stopped, though luckily these symptoms are rarely life threatening. Similar to signs of use, not all symptoms will occur in every user, but cocaine users that stop taking the drug, even briefly, should expect some portion of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Sudden chills
  • Uncontrollable shaking of extremities or body tremors
  • A complete inability to concentrate
  • Aches and pain throughout the body
  • Bouts of depression
  • Extreme anxiety over matters both large and small, verging on paranoia
  • Debilitating exhaustion, both of mind and body
  • Inability to derive pleasure from things that should be pleasurable
  • Strong and distracting cravings for cocaine
  • Erratic behavior