Am I Addicted To Cocaine

Commonly sold as a white powdered substance, cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is usually snorted, injected, smoked or rubbed on the gums.

It is extracted from two different types of coca leaves and produces a euphoric high and temporary burst of confidence, making it a popular party drug frequently used at social events. [1]

It is illegal to possess, sell, manufacture or use cocaine in the UK, with sentences ranging up to seven years for possession and up to life in prison if found guilty of the supply and manufacture of this substance. [2]

Cocaine is both physically and psychologically addictive, and it can be extremely difficult to recover from a cocaine addiction due to the habit-forming nature of this drug.

What are the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction?

It can be difficult, if not impossible, to know whether a friend or family member is using cocaine on a recreational basis.

However, if their social use of cocaine spirals into addiction then a number of physical, psychological, behavioural and social symptoms will become clear if you are aware of what to look for.

Many people will attempt to keep their cocaine addiction a secret out of fear, shame or simply an inability to recognise that they have a problem.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of cocaine addiction and be prepared to take action if you notice a pattern forming.

The physical symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Frequent sniffing
  • Persistent runny nose
  • Insomnia – difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Excessive perspiration
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of appetite
  • Little desire to sleep
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor grooming and lack of personal hygiene

The psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Bursts of overconfidence and euphoria
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Becoming restless and fidgety
  • Appearing agitated and irritable
  • Paranoia
  • Making poor decisions
  • Psychosis

The behavioural symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Becoming secretive and dishonest about activities, whereabouts and cocaine use
  • Borrowing or stealing from others in order to fund cocaine use
  • Regularly being late to school or work, or calling in sick often
  • Increased sex drive – excessive use of pornography, masturbation or escorts
  • Poor performance at work or school

The social symptoms of cocaine addiction include:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Associating only with other people who also use cocaine
  • Strained relationships with family and friends

If you have noticed some of these signs in a friend or family member and are concerned that they may be struggling with a cocaine addiction, organise a time in which you can have a supportive and non-judgemental conversation with them regarding their cocaine use.

What are the other warning signs of cocaine addiction?

Aside from the above symptoms, there are a number of other warning signs that could indicate a potential cocaine addiction.

The key signs of addiction include the inability to stop using the substance despite expressing a desire to recover, and experiencing negative consequences as a direct result of their substance use but continuing to repeat the behaviour.

Common warning signs of addiction include:

  • They need to increase the amount of cocaine they take in order to experience the same effects
  • They have attempted to stop using cocaine but have been unable to
  • They have experienced negative consequences due to their cocaine use but continue to use it
  • They are in financial trouble due to their cocaine use
  • They have experienced legal troubles directly related to their cocaine use
  • They experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using cocaine
  • They have lost interest in hobbies and activities that previously interested them
  • They spend large amounts of time obtaining, using and recovering from cocaine
  • They can no longer imagine their life without cocaine

How can a cocaine addiction affect my life?

If left untreated, cocaine addiction can affect every aspect of your life. Many people are aware of the physical repercussions that can result from excessive use of this substance, but cocaine can also have a negative impact on your mental health, finances, relationships and even your future opportunities.

1. Physical effects of cocaine addiction

Over time, the physical effects of cocaine addiction will become clear to everyone around you. As this stimulant suppresses your appetite and leaves you feeling as though you require little food to survive, you may eventually end up noticeably underweight and malnourished.

You may also suffer from insomnia, leading to exhaustion and burnout.

You will also be at greater risk of suffering heart and respiratory problems, as well as kidney and liver damage as well as changes to your brain resulting in potential memory loss and trouble communicating effectively.

2. Mental health effects of cocaine addiction

While using cocaine increases your chances of experiencing depression and anxiety, you are also more likely to develop a range of psychiatric issues including paranoia, psychosis and panic disorder.

Excessive cocaine use is linked to ADHD, PTSD and a host of other mental health disorders that can have a severe impact on your daily life.

People who use cocaine are also more likely to exhibit risk-taking behaviour such as having unprotected sex or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. [3]

3. Financial effects of cocaine addiction

Cocaine addiction can take a huge toll on your finances, with a gram of cocaine priced at £30-£40 in the UK. Many people find themselves falling deeper into debt as they struggle to fund their cocaine use and end up struggling with repayments even years after recovering from addiction.

Legal fees, borrowed money from friends and family and even damages caused while you were under the influence can end up costing you a small fortune.

Your employment status may also suffer due to your addiction, potentially leading to a further loss of future earnings if you are let go from your current job.

4. Legal effects of cocaine addiction

As it is illegal to possess or use cocaine, you may find yourself facing a fine or even a prison sentence if found guilty of the above. This will be added to your criminal record and may make it more difficult for you to find employment in particular fields in the future or travel to certain countries, potentially limiting your future prospects and opportunities in life.

5. Relationship effects of cocaine addiction

Addiction does not merely affect the individual – instead it takes a toll on those around them including friends, family members and colleagues. This can lead to strained relationships with those closest to you and on some occasions these relationships may be damaged beyond repair.

It can be difficult for the people around you to understand why you continue to use cocaine despite the negative consequences, and they may struggle to come to terms with the changes that they see in you.

While initially supportive, over time they may find the strain and worry too much to deal with and will begin to step away for the sake of their own personal health.