Signs & Symptoms
Cocaine abuse also produces a large number of physical symptoms. A primary sign of cocaine use is weight loss. This results because cocaine is a stimulant and appetite suppressor.
Your loved one may show a great deal of energy and become very talkative when high. They may participate in reckless behaviors that aren’t normal to them. Keep an eye out as well for the paraphrenalia associated with cocaine use around their home or their person; these can include razors, mirrors, and rolled-up money.
Physical signs that may indicate cocaine use include:
- Dilated pupils
- A perpetually runny or sniffly nose
- Twitching muscles
- Constant headaches
- Uncontrolled trembling and shakiness
- Increase in body temperature
- An increased heart rate
- An inability to focus or concentrate
The first stage of withdrawal is the crash, during which the user experiences lack of energy, hunger, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue. Within a week of the crash, the user moves on to withdrawal proper. This period, which can last more than two months, is marked by difficulty concentrating, further lack of energy, wild mood changes, anxiety and paranoia, depression, and cravings.
Beyond the acute withdrawal phase, complete cocaine withdrawal can last another six months, with the person still experiencing cravings for cocaine. Some users experience an extended post-withdrawal phase.
A cocaine overdose can be fatal, even for a first-time user. Cocaine overdoses occur when someone takes in a dose so high that it overstimulates the brain and body in ways they can’t handle. The usual effects of cocaine, including an increased heart rate, become so great that the body and/or brain have to shut down.
Signs of a cocaine overdose include:
- Extremely high blood pressure
- An irregular heartbeat
- Dangerously high body temperature
- Anxiety and confusion that culminate in psychosis
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme tremors and shaking
As these extreme symptoms progress, they can precipitate a stroke, heart attack or seizure. Anyone experiencing these symptoms needs immediate, urgent medical assistance.