Signs of someone using cocaine aren’t always straightforward. Some people can become what’s known as high-functioning addicts, meaning they can complete most responsibilities while abusing substances like cocaine. Even in these cases, the other foot is bound to drop eventually. It is always best to identify and address an addiction sooned than later. That being said, keep reading for tips on how to tell if someone uses cocaine or not.
5 Signs Someone is Using Cocaine
The most noticeable signs of cocaine abuse will be physical, including burn marks on the hands and lips, white powder residue around the nose and mouth, and track marks on their arms and legs. However, other signs of cocaine abuse aren’t as noticeable. Here’s how to know if someone is on cocaine.
1. Dilated Pupils, Poor Hygiene, and Sudden Physical Changes
Physical symptoms of cocaine use include changes such as dilated pupils, runny nose, and chronic nosebleeds. These are very common among people who inhale cocaine. Other physical changes might also involve sudden weight changes. Because cocaine suppresses appetite, it’s common for people to lose weight quickly. Finally, you’ll also notice chronic cocaine users will exhibit poor hygiene as it becomes less important. Eventually, their lack of hygiene leads to body odor, skin problems, and dental problems.
2. Mood Swings, Risky Behaviors, and Loss of Interest
Cocaine users often exhibit many problematic behaviors that are signs of their substance abuse. Since cocaine is a stimulant, people experience extreme highs followed by intense lows. Chronic users don’t have balanced brain chemicals, which causes mood swings to become more common, even without the presence of the drug. As someone uses cocaine more often, they might engage in risky behavior, which increases the risk of STDs, unintended pregnancy, and death.
3. Financial Problems and Social Isolation
Keeping up with a drug problem isn’t cheap. Financial problems are a sign someone is addicted to cocaine, especially when you notice some of these other signs. Even if the person can maintain a job, it’s expected they’ll resort to asking for money, stealing, or selling essential items to support their habit. Additionally, people who abuse cocaine are more likely to isolate themselves from family and friends as they seek privacy. They may believe that their family and friends won’t notice their abuse if they distance themselves.
4. Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
At one point or another, cocaine users will experience withdrawal symptoms. Most cocaine withdrawal symptoms are psychological, including irritability, fatigue, insomnia, depression, and cravings. These are often intense, leading users to take higher doses than usual, increasing the risk of fatal overdose.
5. Anxiety, Paranoia, and Mental Health Indicators
Cocaine users are very likely to experience symptoms of mental illness. Paranoia, depression, and anxiety can develop over time with chronic abuse, even when the person is not under the influence of the drug. Over 15% of individuals with a substance use disorder also have a severe mental illness.
When Cocaine Use Turns Into Addiction
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that makes people feel euphoric by changing how the brain feels pleasure. Regular users have difficulty feeling as good without the drug, so they continue to abuse it. Chronic cocaine users tend to become tolerant to the drug, needing higher doses to obtain the same effects as before. Eventually, cocaine use consumes them entirely to the point they think they have to be under the influence to function correctly.
Noticing the signs of cocaine addiction in others can be challenging at first. But, indeed, most drug users will spend more time trying to recover from using cocaine. Duties such as schoolwork, familial obligations, and work are often overlooked. Cocaine users often withdraw from families and friends, stop participating in activities they used to enjoy, and exhibit more physical signs of cocaine abuse.
Getting Help for a Loved One
If you notice the signs of cocaine abuse in a friend or a loved one, consider early intervention. You can start by getting professional help through your family physician or a local rehab facility. People with cocaine addiction may struggle to see if they have a problem or seek treatment. Consider scheduling a professional intervention to encourage them to get professional assistance. While the path to recovery is a long way, recovering from addiction is possible with the right treatment program. Let your loved one know you’ll be there for every step of their recovery.