Is Your Loved One Using? Signs of Cocaine Abuse & Addiction

Cocaine use can spiral out of control. The sooner you recognize the signs of cocaine abuse in a loved one, the more likely you can get them help.

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Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that often begins with some “innocent” experimentation but can quickly get out of hand. Without cocaine abuse treatment, use of this drug can cause problems that impact a person’s entire life as well as their loved ones.

Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Use

Cocaine abuse looks different for everyone and symptoms can vary greatly depending on the severity, but generally, there are some giveaways. Because abuse can be so destructive, the symptoms of cocaine abuse can also be physical, mental, and behavioral.

If you suspect that someone you care about is experimenting with this drug, the sooner you can confirm, the sooner you can get them help.

Common signs of cocaine abuse include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Overconfidence
  • Extreme excitement
  • Talkativeness
  • Frequent sniffling or runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Not eating or losing a lot of weight quickly
  • Staying awake for a long time, sometimes even days
  • Paranoia
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Mental confusion
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Becoming uncharacteristically unreliable
  • Trouble with finances
  • Legal issues
  • White powder residue on their face or on flat surfaces in their home
  • Health problems like heart attack, stroke, or respiratory system trouble
  • Inability to stop using cocaine despite the negative effects on their life

Cocaine Abuse Symptoms vs. Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

Just like the drug use itself, the signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse can vary greatly in severity. As cocaine use becomes more regular, abuse transitions to addiction. At this point, the symptoms become more noticeable and begin to impact every aspect of the person’s life.

Warning signs of cocaine abuse can be subtle, and the person using has a much easier time covering up their drug use. The first signs of abuse typically include the immediate short-term effects of cocaine such as excitability, dilated pupils, and increased talkativeness.

When the person starts to become dependent on cocaine and uses it regularly, an addiction will develop. At this stage, the physical signs of cocaine abuse will become more noticeable such as drastic weight loss, sunken eyes from not sleeping, and a general unkempt look if they neglect their personal hygiene. Other signs of cocaine addiction include negative effects on other areas of the person’s life as they begin to prioritize cocaine over anything else. These consequences may include run-ins with the law, financial problems from continuing to fund their addiction, losing their job, or serious health problems.

Whether your loved one is just starting to use this drug or has already lost control, it is important to try to get them help at the first sign of cocaine abuse. A drug rehab center can place them in a safe and controlled environment as they work toward not just quitting, but also finding lasting recovery.


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