Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a dangerous, powerful, and highly addictive drug that can be snorted through your nose rubbed on your gums or injected into your bloodstream.
The effects of cocaine are usually felt right away and can last anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes. The short-lived high usually means that people tend to use more cocaine in order to feel the high again.
As they continue to use cocaine, they will need to continually increase the amount they use in order to feel the same level of high as before. This is what causes addiction.
If you are worried that you may have developed a dependency on cocaine, it is helpful to understand the signs and symptoms of addiction and to know what help is available for you.
It is important to seek treatment for cocaine addiction as soon as possible, as overcoming an addiction gets more difficult the longer it goes on.
What are the signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction?
You likely have a cocaine addiction if you recognise any of the following in yourself:
- You feel that you need to take higher doses of the drug in order to feel the desired effect
- You make promises to yourself that you are going to stop using cocaine or cut down your use, and never stick to them
- If you do reduce your intake, you become depressed or agitated
- You continue to use cocaine even though it is having a negative effect on your personal relationships
- You spend a lot of time thinking about when you are going to be able to take cocaine again
- You are overspending or getting yourself into debt to fuel your drug habit
- You lie to your friends and family about your whereabouts or who you are spending time with
- You withdraw from your friends and family in favour of spending time with other cocaine users
- You care less about personal hygiene
Other symptoms of cocaine addiction are:
- Frequent runny nose
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings or irritability
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sudden bursts of energy
- Legal troubles
- Dilated pupils
- Erratic behaviour
- Increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate
What are the symptoms of a cocaine overdose?
Because it is easy to build up an immunity to cocaine, you will often find that you need to increase your dose regularly to feel the desired high you are chasing – this can lead to an overdose.
If you fear that you have an addiction and might overdose, it is helpful to understand the symptoms of a cocaine overdose.
Some of the most common symptoms of a cocaine overdose include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness or pain in your chest
- Panic attacks
- Nausea or vomiting
If you believe that you have overdosed, call an ambulance immediately.
What treatment is available for cocaine addiction?
Admitting that you need help is the first step towards overcoming your addiction. It might be scary to admit to those around you that you have spiralled into an addiction, but the sooner you get treatment, the easier your addiction will be to beat.
Telling close friends and relatives will ensure that you have a good support system around you, especially if you’re having a bad day.
There are several treatment options available to you, and the treatment option that you need will depend on the severity of your addiction. You can choose one or a combination of the following;
- Detox: Detoxing is the process of removing a particular toxin from your body – in this case, cocaine. During a cocaine detox, your body may face several withdrawal symptoms including intense cravings, depression, nausea, or fever. These withdrawal symptoms are a result of your brain telling your body that it needs cocaine to feel normal again. Withdrawal symptoms usually last a few days but in severe cases can last up to two weeks.
- A residential rehab facility: A residential rehab facility requires you to check in as an inpatient for an agreed number of days. This can be anywhere from 10 days to 90 days. During your time in a rehab facility, you will have round-the-clock access to medical professionals to help you through your recovery process. You will be prescribed medication to combat the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, attend therapy and partake in mindfulness practices. You will learn coping mechanisms, so you are better prepared if you face a trigger in the future and enjoy a healthy diet consisting of plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. You will leave the facility healthier in body and mind.
- Outpatient rehab: Going through rehab as an outpatient means that you can still attend your everyday duties such as school or work, but you will have certain appointments with healthcare professionals on a regular basis to keep up to date with your progress. This suits many people as their lives are not disrupted for long periods of time as is necessary in a residential facility, however, it can often be difficult to overcome an addiction when all the usual triggers of everyday life are still there.
- Peer support groups: A peer support group such as Narcotics Anonymous will introduce you to other people that currently are, or have been, on the same journey you are on. It helps to know that you are not alone through the process of finding sobriety and these groups aim to teach you coping mechanisms and give you support. Many of them offer a sponsor program in which you are assigned to a long-standing member of the group whom you can turn to if you feel you need a little extra support during bad days or feel that you are on the verge of a relapse. Friends and family members are also welcome to come along to these meetings to gain a better understanding of what you are going through and learn how they can support you.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Cognitive Behavioural Therapy aims to teach you how to mentally approach certain situations in a more positive way. It is helpful to continue with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy long after you have reached sobriety as the methods taught during the sessions may help to prevent a relapse. You will learn to recognise harmful thoughts and behaviours and learn ways to overcome these intrusive thoughts.
- Individual Therapy: Individual therapy may be necessary when you are working to overcome an addiction. These sessions will help you recognise any underlying issues that may have led to your addiction and can address these issues head-on to reduce the chances of a relapse. Addiction is often a co-occurring issue alongside other mental health issues and the addiction cannot be fully overcome unless the underlying mental health issues have been addressed.
- Family therapy: Addiction does not only affect the person who was using the drug, it also affects those around that person as well. Families can be torn apart by addiction, and you may need professional help to rebuild those relationships. Family therapy can help your loved ones understand what led to your addiction and how to support you on your journey to sobriety, but it can also help you see what your addiction has done to your family and help you work out ways to put it behind you.