Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant substance and is prevalent across the UK. Over 23,000 grams of cocaine is snorted in London each day, and what can begin as controllable recreational use can quickly spiral into a life-threatening addiction that harms you and those around you.
Addiction to cocaine can manifest in a variety of ways, but there are common symptoms that are often demonstrated in heavy users who are dependent on the drug.
Over-excitement: Cocaine is a strong stimulant which causes a rapid build-up of dopamine in the brain. When high on cocaine, a person will be extremely talkative and appear excited.
Legal problems: As addiction takes stronger hold in a user’s life, more from other areas of their lives are sacrificed so they can do more of the substance. This often shows itself in trouble with the police and law in general, particularly in relation to theft and crime.
Avoiding obligations: As a user falls further into addiction, other areas of their lives are sacrificed. This can include meeting friends and family, missing work or being fired from work and the neglect of the self, such as in basic hygiene.
Depression: As cocaine so heavily impacts dopamine regulation in the brain, it often leads to depression and depressive thoughts in users – particularly if they are experiencing withdrawal from the substance.
Physical signs: A person who is high on cocaine will have very dilated pupils and may demonstrate sudden mood swings and irritability. They are likely to be awake for long periods, as it is almost impossible to sleep when high on cocaine.
Please note that there is no single picture of addiction and while these symptoms are very common, a person who is addicted to cocaine may not exhibit all or any of them.
In addition to being a Class A substance which can lead to up to seven years in prison and a fine if caught possessing the drug, cocaine use can have serious and life-threatening consequences.
Cocaine use drastically increases heart rate and can cause liver and heart damage – particularly if consumed with alcohol. If taken with drink, the release of cocaethylene can cause a person to engage more easily in compulsive and violent behaviour.
Damage to the body and nose from snorting cocaine is possible, and the injection of cocaine (called ‘crack’) with needles can lead to gangrene, ulcers and the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B and C. If used when pregnant, cocaine can lead to miscarriage and low birth weight.
In addition to the symptoms described above, one of the most common signs of addiction of any sort is simply a sudden or sustained shift in a person’s mood, behaviour and life. If you are concerned about potential symptoms and also see a loved one appear to change in behaviour and temperament significantly, they may be struggling with addiction as it takes greater hold over their life and priorities.
If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction we can help. You can call the Help Me Stop Team free today to discuss our treatment options. Simply phone us on 0208 191 8920 or use our contact form to get in touch.