The euphoria, confidence and energy brought on by cocaine has coaxed more than a few casual users into the cocaine addiction web. Unfortunately, by the time people realize what they’ve gotten themselves into, the effects of the drug have taken over any ability to stop using. Throughout this process, cocaine abuse signs can take various forms.
Like most all alcohol and drug addictions, cocaine addiction impairs a person’s mind, physical health and overall ability to function in everyday life. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, ongoing cocaine use deteriorates cognitive functions to the point where psychiatric symptoms can develop within a person’s personality. Many cocaine abuse signs stem from the ongoing deterioration that takes place.
If you suspect you or someone you know may be overwhelmed by the drug’s addictive effects, here are 10 cocaine abuse signs that are fairly easy to miss.
Cocaine affects three primary brain neurotransmitter chemicals: dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Norepinephrine regulates a person’s “fight-or-flight” responses to external stimuli. Hyper-alertness or “jumpiness” results from high levels of norepinephrine in a person’s bloodstream.
2. Problems Sleeping
The three primary neurotransmitter chemicals regulate most every bodily process, sleep included. Neurotransmitter imbalances can easily affect a person’s ability to sleep when cocaine is used on a frequent basis.
Cocaine abuse signs indicative of impaired psychological functioning often take the form of paranoia and suspicion. These effects tie into “fight-or-flight” responses, which eventually warp a person’s reasoning abilities.
Over time, the energy surges associated with cocaine “highs” start to affect a person’s overall personality. Unusually aggressive behavior displays appear more and more often the longer a person continues to use.
5. Problems Thinking
Cognitive impairments involving the brain’s thinking processes can be a particularly troublesome cocaine abuse sign. A person’s decision-making abilities, ability to concentrate and reasoning functions continue to deteriorate the longer a person uses.
6. Impulse Control
As the brain grows more dependent on cocaine’s effects, drug cravings start to alter a user’s ability to control his or her actions. This cocaine abuse sign marks a key component of addiction, as cocaine has become a major priority in a person’s life.
Ongoing norepinephrine and serotonin chemical imbalances in the brain can have drastic effects on a person’s emotional health. Closely tied to impulse control problems, violent behavior displays are often a prime indicator of developing psychiatric disorders.
8. Psychotic Symptoms
Psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia develop in 68 to 84 percent of cocaine addicts. These cocaine abuse signs can last anywhere from a few hours to days or weeks at a time. Psychotic symptoms indicate a significant decline in cognitive function has taken place.
The repeated energy surges that accompany cocaine “highs” take a considerable toll on the body as whole. After a while, a person experiences an overall sense of fatigue, or feeling “burnt out,” even when using the drug.
Regardless of how often a person uses, after a certain point no amount of cocaine will produced the desired “high” effects. Eventually, dopamine neurotransmitter secretions can no longer maintain a person’s emotional equilibrium, which results in ongoing depression symptoms. This cocaine abuse sign also points to a significant decline in cognitive function.