How to Spot and Help Someone with Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine has a highly addictive potential. Although it can give you a high that activates the reward chemicals associated with achievement and survival, it poses many serious risks to your health. Because of the risk faced by people who might get addicted to cocaine, this article will discuss how to spot and help someone with cocaine addiction.

Cocaine usage is linked to both long-term and short-term dangers, which ranges from overdose to organ failure. It results in dire consequences such as constricted blood vessels, which leads to a dangerous increase in blood pressure, and more.

What is Cocaine and Why is It Illegal?

The stimulant known as cocaine or coke has a high abuse potential, resulting in psychological or physical dependence. Cocaine abuse poses many dire health risks to those that use the drug.

It’s for this reason that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the U.S. classifies cocaine as a Schedule II controlled substance in America, Many other similar agencies in other countries have taken similar steps and similar classifications.

The DEA recognizes that coke has a few medicinal uses such as local anesthetic. Thus why it’s only one step removed from Schedule I drugs (of which marijuana falls under until recently, with the legalization of the drug across multiple states).

Recognizing Cocaine Addiction

Although abuse results in addiction more often than not, they’re not analogous with each other. They’re merely correlated. Cocaine abuse often results in dire consequences. However, some cocaine abusers can handle coke use and can quit on their own.

The complexity of cocaine addiction cannot be denied. Cocaine use disorders can range from mild to severe cases. The criteria came about based on the drug’s negative impact on your life, from work-related consequences to strained relationships with friends and family.

Cocaine Primary and Secondary Effects Chart

Compared to other substances, the primary effects of cocaine don’t last long. The short-lived effects of taking the drug only happen for about half an hour before they wear off. When taken in small doses, coke produces effects of concentration, sociability, happiness, and decreased need for sleep.

Without further ado, this chart partially lists down the primary and secondary effects of using cocaine regularly.

The Multitude of Ways Cocaine Affects You The Specific Cocaine Effects Enumerated
Primary Effects
  • Sociability
  • Happiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Concentration
  • Overconfidence
  • Over-excitement
  • The dopamine flood
  • Long periods of wakefulness
  • Feelings of satisfaction and euphoria
Side Effects
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Nose bleeds
  • Mood swings
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite while you’re high
  • Cocaine “crash” filled with exhaustion
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
  • Legal issues
  • Memory loss
  • Nose collapse
  • Slow reaction time
  • Financial problems
  • Short attention span
  • Shrinking brain size
  • Cravings for cocaine
  • Missing or being late to work
  • White powder around nostrils
  • Runny nose or frequent sniffles
  • Desensitization to cocaine (requires more doses to get high or to “chase the high”)

From overdosing or long-term abuse:

  • Death
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Organ failure
  • Mood disorders
  • Respiratory illness
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease

From injection or sharing needles:

  • HIV infection
  • Hepatitis B infection
  • Hepatitis C infection

Why Is Cocaine Addictive?

Cocaine affects the reward receptors of your brain that activate whenever you accomplish a constructive and worthwhile achievement that results in the betterment of your life, your survival, or social status.

The more cocaine you take—and you might end up taking more in order to chase after the intense high you felt the first time you took coke that becomes less and less pronounced at the same dosage—the more dangerous the side effects become.

By taking coke, your brain ends up with a dopamine flood that activates during critical moments of your life such as graduation, a promotion, sharing a first kiss or sex with a romantic partner, or the birth of your first child.

Back in 2011, over half a million Americans sought medical assistance in emergency rooms nationwide due to their adverse reaction to cocaine abuse. This number accounts for 40 percent of all emergency department visits. As high as 855,000 adults over 11 years old in age suffer from cocaine dependence as of 2013.

The Primary and Secondary Effects of Cocaine

Experts consider cocaine as a central nervous system stimulant, which means it’s capable of elevating vital life functions such as heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. People who use coke generally require less sleep and have less of an appetite compared to non-users.

The primary or intentional effects of coke include an increase in elation, euphoria, energy, and focus. Many coke users tend to be more excitable and talkative as well as have increased self-confidence while feeling good about themselves all the while.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Whenever you’re exposed to something joyous—such as sexual experiences, tasty new food flavors, personal achievements in your career, winning the lottery, getting validation from your peers, acquiring first prize in a contest, and other positive stimuli—your brain releases dopamine.

The neurotransmitter or chemical messenger is then recycled back to your neurons, which encourages you to repeat whatever event or behavior that created the surge of happiness. Normally, this is a rewarding event that’s a result of your hard work or perseverance.

The danger of associating coke with the happiness of self-realization and improvement is that you’re tricking your brain into thinking you’re achieving something when really all you’re doing is taking drugs.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

The more coke you take the less dopamine your brain will naturally make. It’s as though the drug is the water for your thirst for self-actualization instead of normal dopamine rushes during personal goal fulfillment.

  • Desensitization and Decreased Dopamine Levels: Your brain tends to become more accustomed to the presence of cocaine in your system, resulting in not only desensitization to its effects but also in it ceasing dopamine production due to the repeated dopamine floods.

  • Compelled to Involuntarily Seek Coke: At this point, the constant coke abuse can result in cocaine dependency. This compels the patient in question to involuntarily seek out cocaine because he doesn’t feel normal when not taking the drug. The constant usage has normalized itself in your brain.

  • Using to Prevent Withdrawal Symptoms: You might also be forced to do this to simply prevent painful withdrawal symptoms. Dependence indicates an intrinsic change in your brain’s motivation and reward circuitry. Coke addicts require the drug to feel normal because using the drug is their new normal.

  • Normalization of Coke Abuse: Now that cocaine abuse is your new normal, you will feel anxious, irritable, or downright depressed without the drug. You will also suffer from cravings for coke. You might continue abusing coke in order to self-regulate your happiness and pleasure.

Dopamine Flood and Its Dangers

The reinforcement of natural rewards pathways in your brain normally results in you finding fulfillment in achieving goals, getting validation for your hard work, and improving yourself as a contributing member of society.

  • Dopamine Flood Caused by Blockage: Drugs such as cocaine interfere and circumvent this natural process of becoming a better person and doing good things for yourself and others by blocking the dopamine from reabsorption. This blockage results in a dopamine flood, which gives you an intense high.

  • Reinforcement of Bad Habits: This also results in your mind and body associating the consumption of cocaine as more rewarding than actually living your sober life and finding fulfillment as a normal person. What’s worse is that the results of such a high are temporary and at their peak the first time you try coke.

  • Cocaine Crash: As the drug leaves your bloodstream, you’ll end up going to extreme lows from the uplifting coke high. Your mind and body then “crashes”, thus increasing feelings of exhaustion or even depression over the fact that you won’t ever feel something like that unless you chase after the high with more coke.

  • Extreme Highs and Lows: While you’re high, you might feel like you’re the King of the World or the happiest you’ve ever been in your life. When the high is over, your body crashes, which results in fatigue setting in and your appetite levels increasing (in contrast to your nonexistent appetite while high).

Numerous Side Effects of Cocaine Use

The drug affects your brain’s communication pathways, disrupting the typical mechanism of dopamine and other neurotransmitters. This results in you feeling more euphoric than normal, as though taking cocaine is in and of itself a major life achievement.

Using coke comes with numerous side effects and risks as well. They include the following.

  • Paranoia

  • Sweating

  • Irritability

  • Weight loss

  • Nose bleeds

  • Mood swings

  • Loss of appetite while you’re high

  • Increase of appetite after the high

  • Cocaine “crash” filled with exhaustion

The extent by which long-term negative effects become graver depends on the amount and frequency of your cocaine usage for an extended time period. The more you use cocaine the more it affects your gastrointestinal system, kidneys, brain, and heart.

The Multitude of Signs of Cocaine Abuse

The highly addictive and illicit substance known as cocaine starts off seemingly harmless. Most people experiment with it, thinking it as something they can occasionally use like aspirin for headaches.

Doing so can lead to them falling for the slippery slope of a potentially life-threatening addiction for a lifetime. Its resulting consequences should devastate you in a familial, financial, professional, and personal way.

Recognize the signs of abusing cocaine. Get yourself or your loved one they help required before the addiction becomes worse and an overdose happens.

Common signs that someone uses cocaine include the following.

  • Chills

  • Coma

  • Nausea

  • Seizures

  • Confusion

  • Headaches

  • Trouble sleeping

  • High blood pressure

  • Short attention span

Chasing the high leads to you exhibiting nosebleeds, violent behavior, heart attacks, strokes, and outright death as well as addiction and dependence.

Continuous cocaine abuse can also result in destructive physiological and behavioral side effects, such as damage to your nasal cavity and outright depression.

What are the Risks of Cocaine Addiction?

The users of highly addictive stimulant drugs don’t only comprise 40 percent of ED visits in America. An estimated 14 to 21 million people around the world have used cocaine. As a result of cocaine use, many of these persons suffer numerous unpleasant consequences.

The many potential risks for cocaine addiction include the following complications.

  • Stroke

  • Overdose

  • Memory loss

  • HIV infection

  • Nose collapse

  • Mood disorders

  • Poly-drug abuse

  • Slow reaction time

  • Respiratory illness

  • High blood pressure

  • Hepatitis B infection

  • Hepatitis C infection

  • Shrinking brain size

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Gastrointestinal disease

Method of Cocaine Abuse in Relation to Risks

The two main forms of cocaine include powdered cocaine and rock cocaine or “crack”. To consume the white powder coke, you have to snort, smoke, or inject it in your system. Meanwhile, crack should be smoked exclusively.

The method of taking cocaine influences the type of side effects or complications you can suffer from it due to the increase in potency between consumption methods. To wit:

  • Cocaine Smoking Side Effects: For example, if you mostly smoke powdered or crack cocaine, you’re more likely to suffer from breathing issues and respiratory disorders.

  • Cocaine Snorting Side Effects: In turn, people who abuse powdered coke by snorting lines of it on glass sheets may have more issues with nasal tissue or sinus cavities damage and nosebleeds.

  • Cocaine Injection Side Effects: People who inject coke may share needles and other paraphernalia, resulting in an increase of risk for infectious diseases, scarring, and skin irritations as well as vein collapse.

Potential Complications to Cocaine Addiction

The following potential complication risks could happen to you if your cocaine addiction remains unaddressed to the point of no return.

  • Overdose and Death: Back in 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms reported over 5,000 cocaine overdose deaths.

  • Cognitive Defects: You can develop permanent impairment of your attention span, reaction time, and memory due to cocaine addiction. Coke addicts might experience brain shrinkage as well as premature aging.

  • Mental Illness Symptoms: Your preexisting mood disorders might become worse or you might develop mood disorders from using cocaine. Between 10 to 40 percent of those addicted to coke end up with mental illness.

  • Infection Disease Contraction: Using coke can lead to cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, and/or neurovascular complications. They can also result in illnesses such as seizures, unhealthy weight loss, disrupted sleep patterns, stroke, respiratory distress, organ failure, hypertension, heart attack, and heart disease.

  • Long-Term Health Issues: Because both your body and mind are being treated in Thai rehab, you’ll also get to enjoy Dual Diagnosis services for co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and trauma on top of your addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.

The First Step to Help a Cocaine Addict

If you believe you are or someone close to you is struggling with coke addiction, it can be hard to figure out what to do or where to turn to. Coke addiction can cause psychological issues and physical problems in your body.

You should nevertheless recognize the physical, behavioral, and psychological symptoms of cocaine addiction to know if someone is struggling and requires an intervention. These include the following:

  • The patient behaves in a reckless, risk-taking manner due to cocaine use.
  • The patient’s social circle is now composed of other cocaine users and abusers.
  • The patient “borrows” or steals money from loved ones in order to feed into their addiction.
  • The patient requires more cocaine and more frequent doses to get the high they want.
  • The patient acts secretively. They tend to lie about their cocaine use and whereabouts.
  • The patient is unable to cut back on their cocaine abuse even as it ruins their life in every which way.
  • The patient is agitated and irritable whenever they’re not taking cocaine for a prolonged time period.
  • The patient no longer takes part in activities and events they used to enjoy with friends and/or family in favor of simply being a coke fiend.
  • The patient acts and behaves on impulse. They’re characterized by having more energy and overconfidence when under cocaine’s influence.
  • The patient might suffer from tell-tale signs of abuse such as nosebleeds from snorting, insomnia, rapid heart rate, and appetite reduction.

How to Spot and Help a Cocaine Addict

If you are or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction, a number of things can be done as assistance against the dangerous condition. You can do several things to help and avoid several things that could make things worse instead of better.

Addiction can also wreak havoc with your behaviors and habits as well as ruin all areas of your professional and personal life. The main thing to do is to get the patient to a rehab facility.

Whether it’s an outpatient (Narcotics Anonymous) or inpatient (Miracles Asia) one depends on the severity of the addiction.

Go to Miracles Asia Rehab to Treat Coke Addiction Immediately

You can avail of local online therapy by video call, phone call, email, or hotline at the Miracles Asia even when abroad. Even better, you should go to the rehab treatment center.

Miracles Asia rehab knows how to adapt to the needs of cocaine abusers and other patients suffering from addiction. This is why the company achieved a 98 percent completion rate and a similarly favorable number against relapse.

Call them right now to learn more about what they have to offer in terms of cocaine addiction rehabilitation, detoxification, therapy, dual diagnosis, and counseling.