Differences Between Side Effects of Cocaine and Addiction Symptoms

There are many side effects of cocaine abuse that affect a person mentally, physically and behaviorally. Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction differ from normal side effects of abuse because symptoms of addiction are typically noticed in behavioral changes and changes in day to day life. Common side effects of cocaine use and abuse can include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Sleep disorders
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Hypothermia

Higher doses of cocaine and long-term abuse can result in some of the following side effects:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart attack
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Sexual dysfunction

Cocaine addiction can result in a wide variety of behavioral changes in how a person lives day to day. Because many of the physical side effects of cocaine abuse can mirror the effects of cocaine addiction, the best way to recognize cocaine addiction is to look for behavioral changes. Some of the different behavioral symptoms a person addicted to cocaine may experience can include the following:

  • Intense urges that cocaine must be used on a regular schedule and seeking out the substance constantly
  • Repeated attempts to stop using cocaine only to continue
  • Taking specific measures to ensure that a steady supply of cocaine is on hand and even maintaining a stockpile of the substance
  • Spending large amounts of money on cocaine even if that leaves other financial responsibilities neglected such as bills, children’s college funds or other day to day necessities
  • Obtaining the substance at all costs even if that means reverting to abnormal behavior such as lying, stealing or other criminal behavior
  • Feeling that cocaine is a necessity in order to cope with negative emotions and using the substance before and after stressful events or situations
  • Engaging in risky or dangerous behavior while under the influence of cocaine such as criminal activities or daring stunts
  • Becoming constantly preoccupied with searching for, obtaining and consuming the substance despite negative consequences
  • Showing a decreased regard for personal responsibilities and overlooking them if they get in the way of obtaining or consuming cocaine

The symptoms of cocaine addiction are almost always demonstrated through a person’s abnormal behavior, such as becoming secretive and withdrawn from others. Family members and close personal friends are typically in the best position to notice these behavioral changes as they commonly spend the most time with the addict. Seeking out professional help is essential to avoiding the serious consequences of continued cocaine abuse.

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