Signs of a Cocaine Addiction

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In the early 1970s, you could find physicians and even government health officials who would claim that cocaine was an entirely harmless substance and that it was not an addictive drug. You would have a hard time finding anyone saying such a thing today.

Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine use creates feelings of euphoria and supremacy, but no matter the method of ingestion, the feeling does not last for more than 30 minutes or so, when the user will often crave more. The 'comedown' from cocaine use is notorious for its deep feelings of anxiety and depression, along with fatigue and some minor withdrawal symptoms, including tremors, aches, and pains.

Cocaine abuse—whether the drug is snorted, injected or smoked—leads to more emergency room visits than any other illegal drug in the United States. Cocaine can cause heart attacks, fatally abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), strokes, nasal perforations, ulcers, high blood pressure, and kidney failure, to mention just a few of the damaging effects of cocaine.

Even short-term effects can be harmful, including constricted blood vessels, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate, and loss of appetite with eventual weight loss.

Signs of Cocaine Use

Extended abuse of cocaine can lead to a variety of symptoms that are difficult for users to suppress, if they are even trying to do so. They might include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Overly excited and tangential speech
  • Excessive energy
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Weight loss
  • Constant sniffling and nasal irritation
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Frequent sore throats

Taken individually, none of these signs or symptoms would indicate a cocaine user, nor will they all taken as a whole indicate as much, but they should cause suspicion, especially when occurring in conjunction with other attributes of addicts, such as withdrawal from social functions, lying, stealing, and a change in the kinds of company one keeps.

While the numbers vary depending on the source, most estimates say that as many as 15,000 people die in the United States every year as a direct result of cocaine abuse and addiction.

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