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Cocaine Symptoms and Warning Signs

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

Cocaine is an addictive substance that requires drug addiction treatment. Repeated exposure to the drug produces short-term and long-term effects, while increasing your risk for a stroke, heart attack, and drug overdose. Cocaine also shows a high potential for abuse and dependence, which can only be averted with drug addiction rehab.

Cocaine Drug Addiction

For decades, nobody knew just how dangerous cocaine was. After all, how can a drug derived from the Erythroxylon coca plant be harmful? Its energy-boosting effects made it widely popular among the working classes who consumed it through tonics and elixirs in the 1900s. Even the earliest formulas of Coca-Cola® had it as a main ingredient.

These days, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug which only doctors are allowed to handle. But that never really stopped people from obtaining it illegally. Cocaine remains to be one of the most pervasive illicit drugs in the United States with use steadily climbing in recent years.

A study published on Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows an increase in cocaine use and related problems from 2011 to 2015. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the growth can be pinned on the increasing availability and lower prices of cocaine. Local dealers can now access the drug in large quantities, partly because of the surge in coca plant cultivation and drug production in Colombia.

The Dangers of Cocaine Addiction

The rising incidence of cocaine use is alarming for two reasons:

  • First, it is a highly addictive substance. It produces powerful but short-lived stimulant effects, which encourages drug users to take it more often. This can quickly lead to tolerance if you don’t get drug addiction rehab right away.

  • Secondly, cocaine causes serious health effects and medical emergencies. Some of which include a rapid heartbeat, hallucinations, delusions, stroke, heart attack, lung damage, depression, mood disorders, suicidal tendency, and death.

In 2011, the Drug Abuse Warning Network found that 1 out of 3 drug abuse related visits to the E.R. were due to cocaine. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that deaths resulting from cocaine overdose nearly doubled from 2014 to 2016 – with numbers increasing from 5,892 to 11,316.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine or ‘coke’ is a stimulant drug that is capable of increasing body activity. This would explain why people who abuse the drug report a surge of energy shortly after taking it.

Stimulants also trigger the release of high amounts of dopamine, a feel-good hormone produced by the brain to encourage you to perform certain activities – like sleeping and eating food. Unfortunately, cocaine produces these pleasurable feelings at the expense of reinforcing substance addiction.

Some early symptoms of cocaine use include:

  • Increased heart rate

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Faster breathing

  • Decreased appetite

  • Chest pains

To help you identify cocaine abuse in a loved one, below are some early (and more obvious) signs you can look out for.

How to Tell if Someone is Using Cocaine

Cocaine is usually sold on the streets as a fine, white powder. This form of cocaine is typically snorted alone, though some combine it with other drugs for greater potency. Nosebleeds and a runny nose are early signs that someone has been snorting cocaine.

Some users dissolve the cocaine powder and inject it intravenously, alone or with other recreational drugs. If you see scars, scabs, or bruising around veins – like the neck, hands, legs, feet, and groin – they might be injecting the drug. However, most drug users inject cocaine through their forearms, and will try to cover them up by wearing long-sleeved clothes.

Other people ingest powdered cocaine by rubbing it against their gums, mixing it with drinks, or placing some of the powder in tissue paper and then swallowing it – also known as bombing or parachuting. However, unless a person is late in their addiction, it can be hard to tell if they’ve been swallowing cocaine.

Cocaine is also available in rock crystal form called crack. This type of cocaine is heated to produce vapors which are then inhaled. The presence of burns on the lips or fingers, as well as persistent cough, indicate that someone has been smoking crack cocaine.

More Signs of Cocaine Abuse

As a stimulant, you can also expect cocaine to have these effects on the user:

  • Increased confidence

  • Being more talkative

  • Talking faster than usual

  • Excitability

  • Dilated pupils

  • Less social inhibitions

  • Enthusiasm

  • Change in eating patterns

  • Hypersensitivity to external stimuli

A ‘cocaine high’ doesn’t last too long, with effects lasting no more than 5 to 10 minutes if smoked, or an hour or so if snorted. People who abuse cocaine usually binge on the drug and consume large amounts in a short time. The habit produces longer-lasting effects and allows the user to maintain a high, but can easily lead to addictive behavior.

Warning Signs of Cocaine Drug Addiction

Repeated exposure to cocaine causes a person to develop physical tolerance to the drug. When this happens, the user will have to take more and more of the drug just so they could get high. Before you know it, you already have an addiction.

The general signs of cocaine addiction are:

  • Severe weight loss

  • Frequent headaches

  • Impotency and infertility

  • Movement disorders (i.e. Parkinson’s disease)

  • Loss sense of smell

In addition to these, people may show more specific signs of cocaine addiction – depending on whether they’ve been snorting, swallowing, or injecting cocaine powder, or if they are smoking crack cocaine.

Get in touch with us at Recovery Blvd Treatment Center if you or your loved one need help with cocaine drug addiction treatment in Portland, Oregon. Call us at 503-897-1916 or visit our drug rehab center at 1316 SE 12th Avenue Portland, OR 97214.

173 views2 comments


William bentick is suffering from lung disease but still he takes cocaine to a large extent, i am sure if he'll not stop using it then he'll die soon.


Lucy Alura
Lucy Alura
Oct 27, 2020

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