Why Is Cocaine Addictive?
Most drug addiction happens after several uses of a substance, and cocaine is no exception. The first few times a person uses cocaine, it’s of their own free will. They’re likely chasing the energy and euphoria caused by this drug, which may help alleviate symptoms of co-occurring problems. However, with regular use, cocaine changes the neurons in the brain.
When the neurons change at the start of a substance use disorder, they help the body develop tolerances to these substances. This means more cocaine is needed to produce the same effects your body and mind crave, so higher doses of cocaine are taken, increasing dependence. Higher doses not only lead to greater cocaine dependence but also contribute to overdose deaths.
Historical Arizona data shows almost 20% of the state’s population uses at least one illicit substance each year. Nationwide, around five million people use cocaine specifically each year.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
The most obvious sign of drug and alcohol addiction is an intense craving for a particular substance. However, there are numerous other signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction that can be different for everyone. If a person uses cocaine alongside other forms of substance abuse or uses it to treat co-occurring mental health problems, the symptoms may look very different.
A few of the most common signs a person needs substance abuse treatment for cocaine addiction include:
- Dilated pupils
- Long periods of wakefulness or insomnia
- Loss of appetite, which may cause unexpected and dramatic weight loss
- Feeling overly confident or excited
- Paranoia or anxiety
- Frequently runny or red nose
- White powder noticed around the nostrils
- Frequent nosebleeds or otherwise apparent damage to the nose
- Track marks or long markings along veins (if cocaine is used intravenously)
- Financial problems (such as always asking for money or falling behind on bills)
- Intense and noticeable mood swings
- Depression, irritability or self-harm attempts
Those addicted to cocaine may also have regular legal troubles. These issues with law enforcement may go beyond arrests for possession of cocaine. Since cocaine drug abuse can cause irrational behavior, addicts may also be arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and similar offenses.