Once called a designer drug due to its high cost, cocaine is now a substance commonly used across all populations. Some people snort it as powder. Others dissolve it in water and inject it with a needle. Still, others combine it with various substances to create small rocks of crack, a substance named after the crackling sound it makes when heated.
Cocaine is a stimulant, but it may impact different people in slightly different ways.
The effects of cocaine vary according to:
- The amount and purity of the dose
- How often the person uses this drug
- Other substances in the person’s system
- Body weight, gender, or diet
- The existence of underlying physical or mental health symptoms
Cocaine often makes behaviors more intense. It causes sharp circulatory changes as the heart works much harder to obtain oxygen, and can even lead to heart attack or death.1 These intense physical sensations are often combined with racing thoughts, intense emotions, and unusual thinking patterns.
Depending upon these variables, cocaine can make the user act friendly, very engaged in conversation and overwhelmingly energized – or it can make that person irritable, hostile, restless and unable to interact with others.
If you recognize the signs of cocaine abuse, you can take action, and help your loved one into treatment before it’s too late. You may want to consider offering residential treatment for your loved one, where a comprehensive team of supporters and licensed clinicians can assess for the damages done by stimulant use and prevent as many long-term repercussions as possible.
Is My Loved One Using Cocaine Now?
Are you not sure if your loved one is high or just having an exceptionally bad – or good – day? Cocaine produces intense and rapid mood swings in a brief period of time that are difficult to explain away.
Cocaine triggers the pleasure pathway in the brain, which usually translates into a euphoric high for users that lasts for only five to 10 minutes.
After this point, in most cases, those who are under the influence of the drug will often:
- Move quickly
- Talk fast
- Seem overly animated
- Be unable to slow down or focus
- Be unable to sleep
- Be unable to eat
After the drug has been in the system for about 20 minutes, irritability and discomfort set in – sometimes paranoia and suspicion of others as well – and, to relieve these feelings, many need more of the drug. Those who use cocaine often retreat to the bathroom or a private place to continually take more of the drug every 15 to 20 minutes.2
Slang Terms for Cocaine
Perhaps you have heard of many of the slang terms used to describe cocaine.
If you are worried about a loved one, keep an ear out for the following terms:
The Physical Changes and Depression After a Cocaine High
Days that follow the cocaine use period often reveal as much information about a cocaine problem cocaine high. Family members are often privy to this part of the cycle of drug abuse, which can aid them in identifying the suspected drug problem.
After a period of bingeing, cocaine users will often crash. They may feel tired, lethargic, depressed, or be completely unanimated for days. Many will crave the drug again, feeling that using even more cocaine is the only way to fend off these uncomfortable feelings.
There are also physical issues that can occur after a cocaine binge.
These will vary depending on the method of ingestion but can include:
- Runny nose
- Nose bleeds
- Lost sense of smell
- Marks at any possible injection site3
- Tremor or muscle twitches
Cocaine Abuse and Addiction Treatment
If you believe that your loved one is living with a cocaine abuse or addiction problem, don’t wait for things to spiral out of control. Supportive psychotherapeutic treatment and intervention can help your loved one put cocaine abuse in the past and move forward toward a more healthy and balanced future.
1 Kloner, R., Hale, S., et al. “The Effects of Acute and Chronic Cocaine Use on the Heart.” Circulation. 1992.
2 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Signs of Cocaine Use and Addiction.” Nd. Web. Accessed 15 Feb 2018.
3 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use?” May 2016.