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Signs of Cocaine Addiction

There are numerous signs of cocaine addiction. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It has extremely potent euphoric effects, and individuals who take cocaine can develop an addiction to cocaine after using the drug for a very short period of time. Cocaine is a crystalline, granular, or powder substance, having a saline, slightly bitter taste that numbs the tongue and lips. It heightens alertness, inhibits appetite and the need for sleep, and provides intense feelings of pleasure. Some users find that the drug helps them to perform simple physical and intellectual tasks more quickly, while others can experience the opposite effect. It is prepared from the leaf of the Erythroxylon coca bush, which grows primarily in Peru and Bolivia.

The effects of cocaine are immediate, extremely pleasurable, and brief. Cocaine produces intense but short-lived euphoria and can make users feel more energetic. Like caffeine, cocaine produces wakefulness and reduces hunger. Psychological effects include feelings of well-being and a grandiose sense of power and ability mixed with anxiety and restlessness. As the drug wears off, these temporary sensations of mastery are replaced by an intense depression, and the drug abuser will then "crash", becoming lethargic and typically sleeping for several days.

When cocaine use is stopped or when a binge ends, depression (crash) follows almost immediately. This is accompanied by a strong craving for more cocaine, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, sleepiness, and sometimes agitation or paranoia.

Common physical signs of cocaine addiction include but are not limited to:

  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Runny nose or frequent sniffing
  • Weight loss
  • Increased susceptibility to illness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased temperature
  • Nosebleeds
  • Altered motor activities (tremors, hyperactivity)
  • Perspiration or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting

Common emotional signs of cocaine addiction include but are not limited to:

  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Change in groups of friends
  • Change in school grades or behavior
  • Withdrawn, depressed, tired, or careless about personal appearance
  • Loss of interest in school, family, or activities
  • Frequently in need of money
  • Unusual energy followed by excessive sleeping
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Erratic behavior
  • Isolation
  • Strained relationships
  • Missed work
  • Increased time away from family
  • Stealing/Lying/Financial problems
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Paranoia
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Talking rapidly

Common signs of cocaine addiction withdrawal include but are not limited to:

  • depressed mood
  • fatigue
  • generalized malaise
  • vivid and unpleasant dreams
  • agitation and restless behavior
  • slowing of activity
  • increased appetite
  • intense cravings for cocaine

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