Cocaine Warning Signs

Many addicts report that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure from cocaine as they did from their first exposure. Scientific evidence shows that there are powerful neurological reinforcing properties that are responsible for an individual’s continued use. The immediate effects of cocaine and signs that someone is “high” are inclusive of hyper-stimulation, reduced fatigue and mental clarity. Depending on the route of administration, these signs or effects will vary. For instance, the faster the absorption, the more intense the high. On the other hand, the faster the absorption the shorter the duration or action. The “high” can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes or 10-15 minutes depending on the action of usage (i.e. snorting, smoking or injecting).

Physical Signs of Cocaine Usage

The warning signs of a person using cocaine can vary from person to person. The best indicator to determine usage is quite often the eyes. A person will appear to have wide and/or bloodshot eyes and the pupils are dilated. Other physical signs of usage are:

  • Runny nose
  • Nose bleed
  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Sniffing
  • Perspiration
  • Hyper activity

Since cocaine is more commonly sniffed, if someone has a “cold” indefinitely, this is a possible warning sign.

Other behavioral warning signs include:

  • Elevated speech pattern
  • Cocaine is often used as an appetite suppressant, therefore skipping meals or weight loss can be a sign.
  • Because it’s a powerful stimulant, users typically have problems falling asleep or suffer from disruptive, inconsistent sleep patterns.
  • They generally are then lead into having a disregard for personal hygiene—showering, shaving or keeping one’s appearance neat. They essentially stop caring about their physical well being or cleanliness.

Emotional Effect of Cocaine

Emotional or psychological signs that someone is possibly using cocaine are:

  • Isolation
  • Changes in friends
  • Change in work or school performance
  • Suicidal
  • Missing work/school
  • Stealing
  • Lying
  • Withdrawing from normal activities

They are continually “busy” or “not in the mood” when it comes to spending time with friends and/or family. And new friends that are dramatically different from the usual circle of loved ones are a strong indicator of cocaine use.

Substance abuse is most commonly accompanied by symptoms of depression or may be a way for a loved one with depression to self-medicate.

Warning Signs of “Crashing”

Cocaine addicts have a sense of being “on top of the world” and exhibit feelings of power and a sense of well-being. However, they will crash at some point and at this point the warning signs are completely different. Most often than not, coke addicts will sleep for long periods of time, days in some cases, becoming depressed and non-responsive. The intense craving for more cocaine will escalate as a response to these despondent feelings brought on by the drug itself. Until the addiction has been fed, a user will demonstrate feelings of paranoia, anxiousness, irritability, agitation and others.

Physical Evidence of Cocaine Usage

As one begins to investigate the possible usage of cocaine by a loved one, there are physical pieces of evidence that one could look for as well:

  • White powder found on the clothes and/or face
  • Small spoon-like items used for snorting
  • Mirrors and razors blades used for making lines
  • Rolled dollar bills
  • Small bottles with screw on lids used for storing
  • Possession of small plastic packets with white residue

Cocaine is an expensive drug. Users are typically propelled into financial problems as a result thus justifying their decision to isolate themselves. They may repeatedly ask for money in order to finance their habit or sell personal belongings of sentimental value to feed their addiction.

Someone You Know May Be Using Cocaine

In 2008, the National Institute on Drug Abuses reported that 5.3 million Americans age 12 and older had abused cocaine. Of that group over 9 percent were teenagers as young as 8th grade.

With these types of statistics, if you suspect that someone may be using cocaine, you don’t want to ignore your suspicions. Even first time users can become addicted. Psychologists report that teens are more likely to become addicted more quickly than older people. The reason is that the brain is not fully developed until the early 20s, so influences such as drugs can alter brain chemistry permanently.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, counselor, minister or a friend, you want to approach the person and explore what is going on in further detail. You may feel awkward or nosy or that you are not responsible, but you need to put those feelings aside because you could be saving a life.
Psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, and even former addicts suggest that you take the time to discuss the problem openly but try to avoid anger, guilt, judgment or blame. By taking the time, speaking candidly but not abrasively, the person knows that her/his well-being is important to you, that they matter to you, and that while you may hate what they are doing, you do not hate the person.

As you might imagine, you may encounter reluctance when you approach the person you suspect of cocaine usage. Don’t let that unwillingness discourage you. Seek help from drug treatment referral and assessment centers, doctors, school counselors or any other person who you feel has experience with this situation.

Take the first step because the sooner you act, the sooner the person can start on the road to recovery. This journey begins with a single step – allow yourself to be the first step for someone you love.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is suffering from the effects of cocaine, treatment is available. To learn more about cocaine treatment programs, please call our toll free number at (866) 872-6495. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions you might have about cocaine rehab treatment.

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