People have a hard time admitting they have a drug dependence or addiction. There is a lot of denial at work, and even when the denial is stripped away, sharing an addiction with someone you care about is rough. In many ways, addiction feels like a personal failing—even though it isn’t—and high stakes relationships can feel like they are in jeopardy for addicts.
But, your loved one isn’t suffering alone. Many people have developed cocaine dependence or addiction and fought to achieve sobriety. Statistics provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicate the following numbers of people 12 and older with a dependence or abuse of cocaine:
- 2002: 1.5 million
- 2003: 1.5 million
- 2004: 1.6 million
- 2005: 1.5 million
- 2006: 1.7 million
- 2007: 1.6 million
- 2008: 1.4 million
- 2009: 1.1 million
- 2010: 1.0 million
- 2011: 0.8 million
- 2012: 1.1 million
- 2013: 0.9 million
Over time, the numbers have decreased and that is due to a number of factors. One factor is increased access to treatment.
If you are concerned that a loved one may be battling a cocaine addiction and they have not admitted it to you (or maybe even to themselves), you can keep an eye out for warning signs. Now, these symptoms aren’t definitive proof of a cocaine use disorder, but they can be helpful when you are trying to explain erratic behavior and if you can approach the addiction with the sensitivity it deserves, you may provide a way for your loved one to break out of their denial.
If the symptoms discussed in this article sound familiar and you are convinced that your loved one is burdened by a cocaine addiction, they need help. To access resources that can help you engage with your loved one, contact our helpline at 800-654-0987.
Before you can make an honest assessment of symptoms, it is important to fully understand the definition of addiction.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is “chronic, relapsing brain disease.” Consistently, addicts will continue to seek out and use drugs (in this case, cocaine) without regard for negative consequences to their life or health. Addiction is considered a brain disease because the drugs legitimately change the brain’s make-up over time. The structure of the brain and the way that it works are compromised. These changes can be severe enough to last for the remainder of an addict’s life. Further, these changes can lead addicts to make some very unwise decisions about drug use and other equally unsafe behaviors.
It feels a little broad to say that addicts will seek out and use drugs without concern for the negative repercussions. What does that actually look and feel like. Well, it can include the following general behaviors.
- Cocaine will become an object of obsession for the addict. Your loved one will constantly think about it.
- Your loved one will compulsively use cocaine over and over again.
- If your loved one stops using cocaine, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.
- Over time, your loved one will develop tolerance to cocaine and require larger and larger doses to get high.
- Your loved one will not be able to control or regulate their cocaine use.
- Your loved one will deny having a problem once you mention a concern.
- Your loved one may have periods that he or she does not remember because of binging cocaine.
- Your loved one may experience depression.
- Your loved one will feel anxious and out of control.
- Your loved one may show signs of low self-esteem.
All of these behaviors do not have to be present for an addiction to be present. Think of them as general guidelines.
In addition to the general symptoms above, your loved one should also show more specific signs of cocaine abuse. These include:
- Unusual exhilaration
- Poor Judgement
Depending upon the route of use, addicts may display nosebleeds and runny noses (snorting), track marks (injecting), or burnt lips and fingers (smoking).
If your loved one is demonstrating these behaviors and has admitted to or been caught using cocaine, they are likely dealing with an addiction. To help them, you need access to resources and Addictions.com can provide them. Give us a call at 800-654-0987 and speak with someone today.