Cocaine has been considered the worst drug one could possibly be addicted to- especially in its altered form, "crack". It is because of the many deaths, suicides, divorces, thefts, and job losses that cocaine addicts are almost always viewed as "hypes". This is a word which is used in many urban areas to describe someone who will stop at nothing to get their drug- cocaine being at the top of the list. Even with the physical grip which heroin puts upon its addicts, cocaine continues to be the drug of all drugs. It's a drug which can feel as if there is no rock bottom, because of the intense downward spiral addicts experience. Bottom is normally the place you hit after the good times which may have come along with getting high. Unfortunately, there are no good times with this drug- its all bottom, and knowing when you are addicted is important. As a matter of fact, cocaine is so very addictive, that for those who take their very first "hit" of the drug, addiction may very well be imminent. Yes, it is because of that very first hit that many addicts find cocaine to be difficult to put down, leading them to a world of dismay- which includes mental issues. Because of this reason, MESA, a program in the U.S.- was implemented to help individuals like those who use cocaine and show signs of mental illness.
Signs of cocaine addiction are different than that of a heroin addict, therefore it is important to know what to look for- that is if you suspect a loved one has an addiction. However, for those who question whether they've become addicted to the drug, the mere fact of wanting to use continuously shows there is some form of addiction present. Though a cocaine addict may not exhibit traditional signs of addiction, does not mean there is none present. There is little to be concerned with physically when it comes to cocaine addiction, leaving users to wonder whether it is the drug- or some other stress factor in their lives which makes them act a certain way. Anyone looking to decipher whether they, or a loved one has a cocaine addiction, should pay attention to the following signs:
1. Insomnia- This sign of addiction has two faces- for users, not being able to sleep much is a sign that an addiction has occurred. Cocaine is a stimulant, and causes those who use to have increased energy, making it difficult to sleep. Tossing and turning all night may be a sign that your body is in need of more of the drug. On the other hand, for those concerned about loved ones may want to watch for late nights, being gone for days(usually to binge) and not having the calm that was once present. Cocaine has a way with making users jumpy, not being able to lay down for long periods of time- even to sleep.
2. No appetite- Cocaine has a way of taking away one's appetite. It has characteristics of an appetite suppressant, making those who use it shy away from the dinner table. Users usually chase the drug to so much that eating is the last thing on their mind- leading to eventual weight loss.
3. Uncharacteristic behavior- Users usually have mood swings, going from a mood of elation to being frustrated, Violence can also become a way of life for individuals who are coming down from the drug. This stems from not being able to get the drug and becoming irritated with anyone in their path.
4. Cravings- Iindividuals who are addicted will crave cocaine until it is purchased, and they are able to get high. There will be no cravings as intense as cocaine for those who are addicted, food even takes a back seat to the drug. Anyone who questions this behavior can put food and cocaine on a table, leave and return to see what has been left there. More than likely it is the cocaine which has been consumed.
5. Antisocial Behavior- Those who are addicted to cocaine will become distant, often ending close friendships. This usually occurs with people who do not get high. The saying "birds of a feather flock together" is certainly true when it comes to a cocaine addict. They vrey much rather hang with people who get high, than to continue relationships with people who do not use the drug.
6. Job Loss- When people begin to get high on cocaine, their job is the very last thing on their minds. However, many will lose their jobs within months of use- if not weeks, or days even. This is because there is a lack of responsibility present for cocaine addicts. This drug holds its addicts so tight, there is little to no wiggle room to do anything except search for the next high. This can also apply to individuals in school who are using the drug. Students will begin to ditch school, opting for the streets instead. Their grades will drop, making it obvious to teachers and parents that something is going on. While the responsibilities of a student will be different than that of an adult, the premise is the same- there is an obvious lack of it.
7. Hygiene- cocaine addicts can spend so much time searching for their next high, that hygiene can often be neglected- making it apparent that something is going on with them. No matter how clean an addict may have once presented themselves, when cocaine takes over, their hygiene is no longer important. This of course does not apply to everyone, as nothing is ever cut and dry with cocaine or any other drug.
8. Financial problems- Individuals who use cocaine often choose their high over paying their bills. Whether it is utility bills, or their car note, there is simply never enough money when cocaine use is taking place. It is not uncommon for some addicts to spend an entire pay check binging on coke. Can you imagine your loved one getting off work on a Friday, with paycheck in hand- only to make it home on Sunday, with no money, neglected hygiene, tired, and depressed? This is a clear sign of needing treatment. Cocaine is not only a narcotic which breaks the users wallet, it is also an a drug which may lead to car repossessions, home foreclosures, and other unfortunate circumstances. If someone is using cocaine, or if use is in question- their finances will definitely show it.
9. Promiscuity- Cocaine can be an aphrodisiac. There isn't much to say in regards to this behavior, however sudden intense sexual moments can be a sign of cocaine use and addiction. Getting high increases one's sexual appetite, often making them more erotic. Also, cocaine can cause men and women to sell their bodies- standing on street corners, and doing other sexually uncharacteristic things to get money to support their high.
10. Anxiety- Using Cocaine can cause anxiety, and other mental problems. Cocaine initially provides an euphoric feeling to the user, however once it begins to wear off anxiety sets in. The user will become paranoid and sensitive to things around them.
11. Depression- Cocaine addicts are often depressed, and some become suicidal. This often occurs after a binge where a lot of money has been spent, and they can see no way out.
12. Legal Issues- Addicts may become so obsessed with their drug of choice, that some will begin to steal to get money. Stealing from retail stores, loved ones, and even their jobs- to get money for their high. Cocaine addicts are no exception. Because of the constant "calling" from the drug, many users will do whatever it takes to get it.
13. Mental Health Wards- Individuals who use cocaine often show signs of mental illness. Being bipolar, schizophrenic, and depressed are all signs of cocaine addiction, and often lead to inpatient treatment in mental wards.
14. Heart Problems- Because cocaine constricts the blood vessels, heart attacks can occur. Heart attacks can lead to death, so whether it is a sign of addiction, or an effect of using the drug can be debatable as usually when this particular "sign" of addiction occurs- help may be too late. Which is why it is important to put an end to the addiction when first recognized.
Hardships are occurring everywhere because of drug use, which includes cocaine. People are losing jobs, being checked into mental wards, and becoming homeless because of this drug. There are many signs of addiction, and all vary from user to user. However, one thing is very true when it comes to addiction, getting help is essential, because there is nowhere to go except down, for a crack addict. Treatment is the best solution for anyone suffering from cocaine addiction; a drug free balance of routines- designed to bring the addict around full circle, will help them to achieve a life of sobriety.