Boy in a cocaine slumpWhen people use any illicit substance or alcohol regularly or in large amounts, it changes how they behave and interact with others. Often, family members recognize that there are big changes and believe it to be a substance abuse issue but are unable to determine which drug is causing the problem.

Identifying the signs of cocaine abuse can help loved ones to move their addicted family member closer to treatment, understand the risks of allowing them to continue in active addiction without help, and move a step closer to being able to provide them with the guidance they need to get into a recovery program.

Five issues often exhibited by someone who is abusing cocaine include:

  1. Extreme mood swings: When someone is on cocaine – at least early on – they may be very social, vibrant, chatty, and seem like they are on top of the world. When the drug starts to wear off, however, their mood can begin to change, and after a binge, they may be hostile and surly, often uninterested in engaging in conversation at all. Many people isolate after a cocaine binge, taking depressants like sedatives or alcohol in an attempt to combat the residual effects of cocaine and fall asleep.
  2. Financial problems: Cocaine is expensive, and those who use it regularly often find their reserves running dry pretty quickly. Additionally, the effects caused by chronic use of the drug can make it difficult to maintain employment for long, cutting incoming cash flow as well as limiting opportunities for new employment. As a result, many who struggle with cocaine abuse and addiction will steal or commit fraud in order to pay for their habit.
  3. Physical changes: The brain changes when someone abuses cocaine for the long-term, and family members may notice that their loved one is relatively flat emotionally when they are not high as a result. Additionally, ongoing use can cause the user to experience chronic nosebleeds, severe bowel gangrene, runny nose, lost sense of smell, and more.
  4. Mental health symptoms: Cocaine and crack users often experience mental health symptoms due to their ongoing use of the drug. Paranoia, anxiety and depression can all develop over time, lingering even when the person is not directly under the influence of the drug. Many cocaine users, as a result, require dual diagnosis treatment that can address the mental health disorder as well as the cocaine addiction.
  5. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms: Most of the withdrawal symptoms experienced by people who abruptly stop use of cocaine when they are addicted to the drug are psychological. Irritability, insomnia and fatigue, depression, and cravings to get high are reported by many who go through cocaine detox. Because withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming to the user, it’s advised that those who intend to quit using the drug do so under the care of medical professionals who specialize in addiction treatment.

At Michael’s House, we offer detox as well as intensive psychotherapeutic treatment to those who are ready to leave abuse of cocaine in the past. Cocaine abuse can be deadly. If your loved one is living with the disorder, immediate intervention is recommended. Call now to talk with one of our admissions coordinators about how we can help you or your loved one begin a new healthy life in recovery away from cocaine.