Top 5 Signs Your Loved One is Addicted to Cocaine
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Cocaine is a powerful drug that over stimulates the reward circuits of the brain. People who use cocaine often do so because after a while this is the only way they can feel pleasure. Unfortunately, the more that they use the more the need to take; this means cocaine traps them into a cycle of abuse. With over a million people addicted to some form of cocaine, you might wonder if someone you love is an addict. It can be extremely difficult to tell when someone is in trouble with a drug like cocaine. There are signs of it that are very subtle. If you look closely, you can see that there are a few telltale signs that they a loved one is addicted to cocaine.
Lack of money
Often one of the first signs of cocaine abuse is a lack of money despite having income. Cocaine is extremely expensive in its powdered and rock forms. It takes a lot of money to support a cocaine habit. A person supporting this habit will borrow money from others even though they have a job or other income, in the first stages of addiction. In later stages of addiction they might lie, cheat, or steal from you to get money to support their habit.
Job loss or frequent job changes are also a sign. Job loss also leads to lack of money for the drug. Once their normal income is gone, they may resort to selling things including your belongings, family jewelry and heirlooms, or themselves to support their addiction.
Another sign that you see early in addiction is the presence of paraphernalia. Unfortunately, in the case of powder cocaine this is difficult to find. Some things you may find are:
- flat surfaces with powder on them – this includes:
- ocd cases,
- magazines, and
- any other hard surface suitable for scraping powder on
- rolled up things, possibly with white powder on them including
- tightly rolled money,
- tightly rolled pieces of paper, and
- metal tubes
- small baggies, possibly with white powder in them.
Some of the paraphernalia associated with smoking crack cocaine or injecting cocaine are:
- spoons with burned bottoms,
- needles or syringes not explained by diabetes,
- rubber tubing,
- small plastic baggies,
- glass pipes, and
- lighters with one edge burned or blackened.
Although this is typical paraphernalia, it is possible that none of these is present. It depends on where the person does cocaine. There are places that welcome people who purchase and use cocaine, particularly crack. These are known as crack houses or crack dens.
The physical changes a person goes through are often startling. It usually starts with weight loss. Cocaine is a stimulant that jacks up the user’s metabolism. Cocaine is also an appetite suppressant that does not allow the user to get hungry while they are on it. This causes dramatic weight loss. If someone is using this weight loss is suspicious because they are not dieting at all.
Another physical change is less noticeable. This is shaking. Many users will have shaky hands or will be shaking when it is not cold out. They may try to hide this by hiding their hands.
Track marks are a good sign of someone who is injecting the cocaine. Track marks are a darkening or shading of the veins usually due to scar tissue and toxin build up. Most novice users do not usually inject cocaine. If they do, they try to hide it with long sleeves or by hiding certain parts of their body normally used for injecting.
Loved ones who are using cocaine often change friends. They might stop hanging out with people they’ve known a long time in favor of new friends. Either this is because they want to hide their drug use from those who know them or that they prefer to be around those that use drugs. Dramatic changes in social circles particularly to those who are known to use drugs is an excellent sign they started using cocaine.
People who use drugs and want to hide it often act suspiciously. Some suspicious behavior is:
- blanking a computer screen or closing a laptop as you enter the room,
- going to the bathroom frequently without having digestive or urinary issues,
- receiving strange phone calls or phone calls that hang up when you answer,
- having to go some undisclosed place suddenly without telling you, and
- generally sneaking out or around.
Suspicious behavior is not limited to these; it can be anything that is out of the ordinary. Changes in behavior are suspicious as well.
If you suspect your loved one is addicted to cocaine, it is important to approach them carefully. According to the National Library of Medicine’s Medline publication, addiction is a disease not a choice. It is important not to place blame on the individual, they tend to blame themselves all on their own. Talk to your loved one about their drug you, offer help, show them that you love them, and want them to be okay. Recognizing the signs of the addiction is one of the first steps to helping them recover from it. Recovery is a long road and withdrawing from the drug is a battle. The most important thing is for them to know that you still love them and that it will get better.