Cocaine use has skyrocketed in recent years in all areas of society; in some circles it’s nearly as acceptable as alcohol. However, cocaine is far from harmless and can have devastating consequences on our lives.
Cocaine remains a Class A drug, with significant short and long term dangers to health and wellbeing. Despite this, cocaine use has become increasingly normalised in popular culture and society. This is especially true for the UK, as we have consistently recorded the highest cocaine consumption in Europe.
Cocaine is popular as a recreational drug for the way it affects mood, confidence and energy. These effects are a result of cocaine increasing dopamine, often called the ‘happy hormone’ – in the brain. You may experience a desire for more confidence, happiness and energy and it can be tempting to achieve this through substance use. However, cocaine use can cause your brain to become less-sensitive to dopamine, and gradually more of the substance is needed to experience the same effects.
Addiction is a global issue, affecting millions of people worldwide. Luckily, addiction research has yielded many effective methods of detox and cocaine rehab treatment. If you are concerned about your cocaine use, or the drug abuse of someone you love, there is help available.
Signs You May Have a Cocaine Problem
It can often be difficult to admit to others that you are struggling. Yet coming to terms with this can help you reclaim power over the situation through seeking support or guidance. It is important to remember that cocaine is an addictive substance and addiction can affect anyone. You may have developed a problem with cocaine if you exhibit some of these signs:
- Inability to stop taking the drug, despite repeated efforts
- A change in physical health, such as weight loss, sleep problems, or damage to the nose from snorting cocaine
- Experiencing financial difficulty due to purchasing cocaine
- Experiencing a decline in mental health, such as bouts of depression or anxiety caused by cocaine use
- Struggling to maintain relationships with friends, family, or partners
- Having intense and constant cravings for cocaine
Recognising Unhealthy Cocaine Use in Family Members or Loved Ones
It is never easy to watch a loved one struggle, and you may find yourself worrying about them and their safety. If you suspect a loved one of abusing cocaine and you are concerned that they may have developed a substance use disorder, there are recognisable signs to look out for. Cocaine addiction can be quite consuming for the individual and at some point, it will be difficult for them to hide. You may notice a sudden or gradual change in your loved one’s mood, personality, or behaviour. Furthermore, they may start to look different physically or begin to have social issues with their friends, family members, or coworkers. An addiction left untreated, can wreak havoc on many areas of a person’s life.
Changes in Mood or Personality
Cocaine affects a person’s mental health. Specifically, during withdrawal, the person may appear irritated, anxious, or depressed. If they are currently under the influence of cocaine, you may notice they have increased energy, enlarged pupils, or an elevated mood. Underlying mental health disorders can underpin addiction. Disorders such as anxiety, depression, or personality disorders can attribute. However, substance abuse can also cause mental health difficulties. Recovery is a highly emotional process and your loved one may have frequent mood swings.
Changes in Appearance or Health
Cocaine use can cause a change in appetite. If your loved one has lost a substantial amount of weight, it could be due to cocaine use. As cocaine is often ingested by snorting, it can also cause damage to the respiratory system. In extreme cases of regular snorting, the nose can change in appearance. This is due to powder breaking down the nasal cavity. Those who snort cocaine regularly may have a runny nose or frequent nose bleeds. Some people inject drugs. If this is the case, you may notice scarring, discolouration, or holes in the skin.
Changes in Social Interactions & Friendships
Addiction is a consuming illness that affects a person across all facets of life. As a result, interpersonal relationships can suffer, struggling to maintain friendships could be a sign that someone you care about has developed a cocaine use disorder. Relationships with family members, work colleagues or bosses can all be affected, causing additional strain on the person’s life. Many people suffering from addiction will get into financial difficulty due to the cost of cocaine, or due to it’s negative effect on their work life. If you see this happening to someone you care about, it may be time to step in.
Recognising When It's Time to Get Help
We understand that getting help for addiction is not an easy decision to make. It may seem frightening at first and you may wonder if it is necessary. A good indicator of needing help is trying to stop and being unable to do so yourself. If you have begun to feel powerless over your cocaine use, you may require that extra help to recover.
Furthermore, another sign is noticing damage to your social life due to cocaine use. This can be to your romantic relationships, work, or finances. If you notice a decline in your physical and mental wellbeing, this is another insight. For example, if cocaine has begun to affect your weight or mood, you could need treatment. For family members of loved ones suffering, it is difficult too. It is important to remember that addiction is a journey, full of ups and downs. It is important to prioritise self-care and seek support if needed.
If you are unsure whether you need treatment or not, you can speak with a professional about your drug use. Addiction recovery is a unique journey; only the individual themself can decide that they are ready. There are many different types of addiction treatment, such as group therapy, addiction counselling, and family therapy. You will find the right treatment for you; you just have to take the first step. While cocaine detox is not part of the standard method, it may become necessary if you have been abusing multiple substances.
Cocaine addiction affects many areas of a person’s life, and relationships are no exception. When someone is addicted to drugs, their lives gradually become more concerned with using and obtaining the substance. This can lead to neglect other responsibilities, including effort in relationships. Addiction can make it difficult to maintain respect, trust, and open communication – key elements to any healthy relationship, whether romantic or friendship based. Typically, when a person becomes addicted to a cocaine, they change their social circles and spend more time with others who are using drugs to justify their addiction. This tends to result in a person becoming socially withdrawn from their loved ones as they become more and more secretive about their activities and whereabouts.
It’s important not to take these symptoms. Personally, they do not reflect you and certainly do not reflect your relationship with your loved one. Addiction is classified as a mental disorder and can completely change a person’s way of being.