Top 10 Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine’s effect as a central nervous system stimulant may feel good at the start, but good quickly turns to bad as the effects of the drug take a toll on body functions. Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction not only arise from the addiction itself, but also from the brain and body’s attempts to maintain normal functions.
Over time, ongoing cocaine use essentially cripples normal brain chemical processes to the point where the brain can’t function normally without the drug’s effects, according to Bryn Mawr College. Ultimately, physical cravings for the drug, rising tolerance levels and the eventual psychological effects of the drug combine to produce a range of signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction.
While different people may react in different ways to cocaine’s effects, the top 10 and most commonly experienced signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction include –
1. Exhaustion, Low Energy Levels
As a person’s tolerance levels increase, the body “crashes” when needed cocaine effects are absent. Crashes take the form of exhaustion, fatigue and in some cases a person may sleep for days as the body attempts to heal itself.
Signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction often appear within a person’s personality and behavior. Feelings of depression result from the chemical imbalances created by cocaine’s effects on brain chemical processes. After prolonged drug use, depression signs may persist no matter how often or how much a person uses.
3. Irregular Sleep Patterns
Cocaine alters three primary brain neurotransmitter chemicals: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Even the slightest imbalance among these chemicals affects a person’s ability to get sufficient sleep. As a central nervous system stimulant, signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction most often result from the drug’s ongoing hyper-arousal effects.
4. Unusually Aggressive Behavior
Increased energy levels or energy surges is one of the key signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction as well as a prime motivator for continued drug use. Over time, these energy surges start to alter a person’s overall personality to the point where he or she becomes uncharacteristically aggressive.
5. Difficulty Concentrating
Cocaine’s effects of neurotransmitter functions can greatly impair a person’s cognitive functions in general. As brain processes deteriorate, a person’s ability to concentrate, make decisions and use good judgment starts to decline with ongoing use.
6. Impulse Control Problems
Impulse control problems, such as angry outbursts when things don’t go a person’s way or seemingly irrational behaviors start to happen more frequently as cocaine effects continue to impair brain functions.
7. Violent Behavior
Long-term cocaine use takes a considerable toll on a person’s emotional stasis. As norepinephrine and serotonin chemical imbalances persist, violent behavior displays become a common occurrence.
8. Psychotic-Like Behaviors
The more severe signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction appear as psychotic-like behaviors resulting from considerable brain function deterioration. These behaviors can take the form of paranoia, hallucination and delusions of grandeur.
Someone who has used cocaine for a long time may remain in a hyper state for much of the time. Sudden noises, bright lights and busy environments can easily put a cocaine addict on edge.
Paranoia signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction develop from the combined effects of hyper-arousal and impaired cognitive functions. In effect, a person remains highly suspicious and guarded at all times.