Cocaine Addiction: Symptoms, Signs and Side Effects
By The Recovery Village Ridgefield
Last Updated: May 26, 2023
Editorial Policy | Research Policy
Cocaine is a type of stimulant drug derived from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine increases the activity of dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin, three chemicals in the brain that artificially stimulates the brain and causes increased stimulation of the body. The increased activity of dopamine within the brain causes a sensation of euphoria and pleasure within the brain, leading to a high. Most people who take cocaine do so for the high and the increased stimulation that it causes. There are medical uses for cocaine, however, it is only for limited types of surgeries on the
Cocaine misuse can cause both tolerance and dependence to develop when used regularly. Tolerance occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the presence of cocaine and its effects. The body compensates by reducing the effects of cocaine, which makes a large amount of cocaine necessary to obtain the same level of high. Dependence occurs when the body adjusts its normal function to accommodate for the presence of cocaine and then requires cocaine to continue functioning normally. This adjustment makes quitting cocaine harder because the body must readjust to functioning without cocaine’s presence.
Using cocaine regularly can result in cocaine abuse symptoms beyond the development of tolerance and dependence. These symptoms can include lung, heart and mental problems that may eventually become permanent.
Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
Symptoms of cocaine abuse include the psychosocial symptoms that are typically associated with substance misuse, including:
- Continuing to use cocaine, even though it creates harmful effects
- Continuing to use cocaine, even if there is a desire to stop using it
- Feeling guilty or angry about using cocaine
- Being irritable or moody when cocaine is not available
- Stealing or lying to obtain cocaine
- Financial problems related to using cocaine
- Poor performance at work or school that is due to cocaine use
- Missing social obligations or activities that are normally attended
- Deteriorating relationships with friends or family
If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, it may indicate that your cocaine use is considered lead to addiction and you should consider seeking professional assistance to stop using cocaine.
Side Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine abuse causes many negative side effects. Cocaine abuse side effects include the following:
- Increased responsiveness to sounds, feelings, or sights
- Increased alertness
- Increased energy
- Decreased inhibition
- Increased confidence
- Problems breathing
- Chest pain
- Collapsed lung
- Irregular heartbeat
- Sudden death
In addition to these side effects, there may also be intense fatigue and a drained feeling once the effects of cocaine wear off.
Cocaine side effects also include sudden cardiac arrest which can lead to sudden death. Even with amounts that are not considered to be an overdose, sudden death may be experienced.
Side Effects of Long-Term Cocaine Abuse
There are several side effects of long term cocaine abuse that may be experienced by those who persistently use cocaine. These side effects are related to how much cocaine is used and how frequently it is used. The symptoms of cocaine abuse long term may include:
- Thickening and decreased function of the heart valves
- Enlargement of the heart
- Decreased pumping action of the heart
- Death of tissues within the nose
- A hole in the membrane separating the nostrils
- Long-term cognitive impairment
- Decreased memory
- Decreased ability to pay attention
- Infections and complications of infection
These long-term side effects will likely cause a decreased life span and can cause a decreased quality of life within that shortened lifespan. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms associated with long-term cocaine misuse, you should seek immediate professional help to quit the use of cocaine and to ensure that you have quality medical treatment that may prolong your life and improve your quality of life.
Signs of Cocaine Overdose
Overdose occurs when a potentially lethal dose of cocaine is used and the amount of cocaine within the bloodstream becomes toxic. The signs of cocaine overdose include:
- Prolonged lack of sleep
- Impaired judgment
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Coughing up blood
- Problems breathing
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these overdose symptoms, you should immediately contact emergency medical services by calling 911. These symptoms should be treated as soon as possible in a hospital.
If you or a loved one live with an addiction to cocaine, call one of our representatives and talk to them about treatment methods that could work best for you. Treatment at The Recovery Village is catered to individual patients to address their unique needs and any co-occurring mental health disorders. Start your healthier future today by giving us a call.
Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.