Cocaine, a powdered extract of the coca plant, is a highly addictive drug which is dissolved in water for injection or snorted as powder. A chemically modified form for smoking is known as crack cocaine. The high from snorting cocaine is short — usually about an hour — requiring repeated doses to maintain euphoria. This repeated use quickly turns into an addiction as the body learns to expect a regular supply.
What Are Cocaine Addiction Symptoms?
The first step in cocaine addiction is the body’s normalizing of the drug. Cocaine affects the part of the brain that recognizes pleasure. When the brain adjusts to the presence of cocaine as normal, without it there are feelings of aggression, paranoia, anxiety, moodiness and depression. At this point, the craving becomes so strong that the thought processes are focused on how to get the next high. In addition, there are physical signs of chronic use, such as:
- Loss of appetite leading to weight loss, which may be due to difficulty swallowing and loss of the sense of smell
- Runny nose from damage caused to the nasal lining from snorting cocaine
- Cardiac problems, such as high blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat and serious cardiovascular issues including a heart attack or stroke
- Gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea and abdominal pain
Social Effects of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine use takes a toll on every aspect of life, including social well-being. You may recognize cocaine addiction effects in someone you care about, such as:
- Loss of job because of poor attendance due to binging
- Financial difficulties due to the combined cost of supplying the drug and job loss
- Marital and other relationship problems with increased personality changes
- Arrests for drug possession or distributing drugs
Withdrawal Symptoms of Cocaine
While the physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as restlessness, fatigue, depression and unpleasant dreams, are less pronounced than other addictions, the psychological symptoms are extremely controlling. The constant and severe craving can cause behaviors that lead to risks, such as criminal activities. Relapse, even months after detox, is common. The dangers to recovering addicts include a severe reaction to cocaine when used following physical withdrawal, which can be life-threatening.
Life After Cocaine Addiction
Rehabilitation for cocaine addiction is a long-term recovery process, which includes 12-step meetings, supervision, accountability and learning to live a new life without drugs. Cocaine Anonymous is one of the programs used in the ongoing efforts to leave the party life behind and start living drug-free. Your rehab center will help set you up with quality aftercare programs to ensure you stay sober once you exit your addiction treatment program. Call our Free Addiction Hotline if you need help finding a rehab program.