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Warning Signs of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can cause serious complications when it is taken. The user is at risk of a wide range of health problems including the potential for fatal overdose. Recognizing the warning signs of cocaine use can help you to determine whether someone you love may be in need of serious medical treatment.

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, cocaine is typically snorted or ingested orally. It can also be injected. The powdery substance will produce euphoric effects when it is used and can cause an increase in energy, hyperalertness and reduced appetite. Unfortunately, cocaine use can also lead to overdose, illness, health complications and injury.

Heightened Energy

Users will often exhibit heightened energy and will stay awake during hours of the night when they would otherwise normally be sleeping. Cocaine use will cause an individual to have trouble sitting still and may cause the individual to act irrationally or to behave violently.


cocaine use signs

Someone who is using cocaine may be more paranoid than usual, and may engage in risky behavior.

Cocaine abuse causes extreme paranoia and the anxiety associated with the fear behind the paranoia can last for hours following the last dose. Cocaine users will often believe that “someone is out to get them” or that “there are people watching them.” The paranoia is often responsible for an individual hiding, staying behind closed doors or otherwise acting oddly.

Risky Behaviors

Cocaine use will change the decision making abilities of the user. As such, many users will exhibit risk taking behaviors and may act out in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t. Such behaviors are often the cause of sexually transmitted diseases from prostitution or the transmission of disease resulting from shared needles.


Cocaine users will quickly develop a tolerance to the drug requiring larger and more frequent dosing as they continue to use. Because the high associated with cocaine generally tends to wear off very quickly, users will commonly repeat their dosing many times during the course of a day or night in an effort to prevent symptoms of withdrawal and cravings from interfering with their “high.”

Nasal Problems

Cocaine use will lead to damage of the nasal septum. When the drug is repeatedly snorted, the septum can become softened and there is a heightened risk of health complications associated with sinus infections. Repeat use can result in chronic runny nose or sniffles that resemble symptoms of the common cold.

Lung Damage

Smoking cocaine, as well as snorting it, can cause damage to the lungs. Damage results from the toxins that enter into the body causing changes in blood flow as well as changes in the ability for the lungs to function. Repeat use is often the result of lung disease, respiratory failure and breathing troubles.

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