Cocaine Facts

  • Up to 75% of people who try cocaine will become addicted to it. Only one out of four people who try to quit will be able to without help.
  • The short-term physiological effects of cocaine include constricted blood vessels; dilated pupils; and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • Injecting (cocaine) releases the drug directly into the bloodstream, and heightens the intensity of its effects.
  • In rare instances, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

How can you tell if someone you care about is using cocaine? Sometimes it's tough to tell. But there are symptoms you can look for. The symptoms of cocaine use can be baffling. At first they may go unnoticed because they are so subtle. As the symptoms of cocaine use grow larger so does the individuals addiction to cocaine. Cocaine symptoms may start off as simple as a normal nosebleed and can become as extreme as cardiac arrest.

The effects of cocaine are immediate, extremely pleasurable, and brief. Cocaine and crack cocaine both produce 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.

Cocaine addiction can occur very quickly and be very difficult to break. Animal studies have shown that animals will work very hard (press a bar over 10,000 times) for a single injection of cocaine, choose cocaine over food and water, and take cocaine even when this behavior is punished. Animals must have their access to cocaine limited in order not to take toxic or even lethal doses. People addicted to cocaine behave similarly. They will go to great lengths to get cocaine and continue to take it even when it hurts their school or job performance and their relationships with loved ones.

If someone you care about has one or more of the following symptoms of cocaine use, he or she may be using cocaine or other illicit drugs:

  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • A runny nose, frequently sniffing, or bloody nose
  • A change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • A change in groups of friends
  • A change in school grades or behavior
  • Acting withdrawn, depressed, tired, or careless about personal appearance
  • Losing interest in school, family, or activities he or she used to enjoy
  • Frequently needing money
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Increased energy
  • Talking rapidly
  • Rapid pulse and respiration
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hallucinations
  • Altered motor activities (tremors, hyperactivity)
  • Stereotyped, repetitive behavior
  • Anger
  • Impaired judgment
  • Perspiration or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Evidence of weight loss
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