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Cocaine Symptoms and Warning Signs

    Cocaine Symptoms and Warning Signs

    Cocaine is a highly addictive, class A drug. Like most drugs, what may seem like harmless fun or experimentation can quickly turn into a serious addiction that can affect the rest of your life.

    Cocaine can mean an individual will develop some very serious, and sometimes life-threatening symptoms and consequences. These consequences can have devastating effects professionally, personally and financially.

    If you or someone you know is abusing cocaine, then it’s important to know and understand the signs and symptoms.

    Cocaine can cause life-threatening, physical, psychological, behavioural and long term consequences.

    Common Symptoms of Cocaine use include:

    • Feeling awake for long periods of time
    • High heart rate
    • Increased body temperature
    • Dilated pupils
    • Reduced sensitivity to pain
    • Loss of appetite
    • Not feeling hungry
    • Feeling overly excited
    • Feeling overly confident
    • Feeling paranoid frequently
    • Sniffly and runny nose
    • Mood swings or feeling irritated
    • Frequent spells of depression

    Symptoms of Cocaine Use

    The above symptoms occur after a few uses of cocaine. However, larger amounts of cocaine more frequently have even more dangerous symptoms and consequences on your health.

    Large doses of cocaine can result in heart attacks, strokes and even death. Some of these symptoms include:

    • Headaches
    • Excessive sweating
    • Chills
    • High blood pressure
    • Nausea
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Ending up in a coma
    • Frequent confusion
    • Seizures and blacking out

    If you experience any of the above symptoms, then your addiction is severe and you could end up with life-threatening health consequences due to your addiction.

    If you are frequently abusing cocaine and develop any of these symptoms then you should see a doctor or healthcare professional immediately.

    Psychological Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction include:

    As well as some physical symptoms, cocaine addiction can have psychological consequences and symptoms that can have both short and long term effects on the brain.

    Some of these psychological symptoms can include:

    • A state and feeling of euphoria or ‘high’
    • A state of feeling overly confident
    • Feeling restless and uneasy
    • Feeling irritable and agitated
    • A state of depression
    • Psychosis
    • Difficulty in focusing
    • Poor decision-making skills
    • Frequent mood swings
    • Cravings for the drug

    Physical Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction include: [1]

    As well as many psychological symptoms, cocaine also has very serious physical symptoms.

    These symptoms include:

    • Increased, rapid heart rate
    • A frequent runny nose
    • Frequent nosebleeds
    • Frequently blacking out
    • High blood pressure
    • Hot body temperature and excessive sweating
    • Lack of need to sleep and insomnia
    • Breathing problems

    Behavioural Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction include: [2]

    Cocaine also has some less well known behavioural and social symptoms.

    These symptoms are noticeable from friends and families and are often the first warning signs that friends or family might notice.

    Some of these behavioural and social symptoms include:

    • More energy than normal
    • Neglecting their usual responsibilities
    • Poor decision-making skills
    • Only ever socialises with other drug or cocaine users
    • Taking part in risky behaviour
    • Taking other drugs
    • Borrowing or stealing money
    • Lying about their actions
    • Isolating themselves from certain individuals who may disapprove of their using
    • No longer taking part in their normal hobbies
    • No longer attending work or working as hard as usual

    Long Term Consequences of Cocaine Abuse

    Unfortunately, cocaine use can have some serious and sometimes fatal, long term consequences.

    These long term consequences include:

    • Liver damage
    • Kidney damage
    • Lung damage
    • Hypertension and high blood pressure
    • Infectious Diseases
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Looking thin or unhealthy
    • Feeling and looking disorientated
    • Difficulty having sex
    • Feelings of severe depression and/or anxiety
    • An increased risk of a stroke or heart attack

    The Warning Signs of Cocaine Abuse

    If you think you know someone who is abusing cocaine, then it’s important to understand and look out for the common warning signs.

    The most common warning signs of a cocaine abuser are:

    • Acting erratically
    • Acting hyperactive
    • Experiencing extreme euphoria
    • Loss of appetite
    • Acting aggressively or violently
    • Panicking frequently
    • Feeling sick or nauseous for no reason
    • Spells of anxiety or depression
    • Getting out of breath easily
    • Dilated pupils

    Cocaine Abuse and the Brain

    Another long term effect and consequence that cocaine has is on the brain. The use of cocaine changes the way the brain functions, both long and short term.

    As cocaine stimulates the pleasure centre in the brain, dopamine is released. Dopamine is sometimes naturally produced in the brain, like when you eat your favourite food for example.

    This release of dopamine is natural and is therefore reabsorbed by the body. However, when cocaine produces dopamine, it is not unnatural to the body and is therefore rejected.

    If consumed on a frequent basis, this creates a build-up of these chemicals and results in intense feelings of pleasure. The individual then associates taking the drug with this feeling of pleasure.

    This is what makes taking cocaine and other drugs so addictive.

    However, over time, the brain will normalise these pleasure feelings and the brain will no longer produce dopamine.

    When this happens, individuals feel the need to consume more cocaine in order to ‘chase’ the feeling of pleasure.

    Causes of Cocaine Addiction

    There are no single causes of cocaine addiction. Individuals can become addicted to cocaine for a number of different reasons.

    Nevertheless, there are well researched and understood factors that can increase the chances of someone developing an addiction to cocaine.

    These causes include:

    1. Genetic

    Many people are unaware that genetics play a role in the development of an addiction. Research has shown that addiction can run in families. However, having addiction in your family does not necessarily mean that you will become addicted to drugs yourself, as there are several different genes and factors involved.

    2. The Environment

    Unfortunately, many people grow up in unhealthy and destructive environments that may affect and determine if someone is likely to become addicted to drugs or not. For example, if you grew up in an environment where drug-taking were the norm, you’re much more likely to try drugs yourself, under the belief that it’s normal.

    3. Peer Pressure

    It’s very common for people to try drugs for the first time due to peer pressure, even when they rather wouldn’t. This can be from friends or family members.

    Peer pressure can lead to addiction, where individuals often find themselves surrounded by more drug dealers who then exert more peer pressure on an individual to stay addicted and to continue using.

    4. Emotional Trauma

    Those suffering from emotional, even sometimes unidentified trauma can become addicted to drugs. Individuals, sometimes without even knowing it, can be attracted to drugs in an attempt to numb the pain or to try to forget about the traumatic experience altogether.

    5. Pre-existing Mental health problems

    It’s commonly known that drug abuse is often linked with mental health problems. Many individuals try to self medicate their pre-existing mental health struggle with drugs.

    What to do if You or Someone you love is Addicted to Cocaine:

    If you or someone you love is addicted to cocaine then it’s important you seek help immediately.

    If you recognise any of the above symptoms, then you’re putting your physical and mental health at risk by continuing to abuse drugs.






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