Signs of Coke Use

Signs of Coke Use | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Signs of Coke Use – Cocaine (coke) is an illegal and potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant with a very high risk of abuse and addiction. Long-term coke use places abnormal stress on the human nervous and cardiovascular systems and can be associated with a dramatic downturn in the user’s quality of life. In fact, the resulting side effects of coke use are so severe that any rational person would only continue using the drug if under the influence of a very powerful addiction.

When snorted or smoked, coke causes the muscles to tense up and the heart to beat more rapidly. The person may become very talkative and hyperactive, as his or her brain is overwhelmed with a feeling of elation due to a flood of the feel-good chemical, dopamine. At the same time, blood vessels constrict and increase blood pressure, significantly increasing the user’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

Signs of Coke Use

Coke is usually stored in small plastic bags, and a frequent user may have these lying around, containing either white powder or small, off-white rocks (crack) or the drug’s residue in them. This residue may also be seen on the person’s face, especially around the nose.

Coke users usually have drug paraphernalia that will vary depending on their primary method of administration. For example, those who snort may have razor blades and mirrors, trays, and other surfaces they use to cut “lines.” Injecting cocaine is not common, but those who do will own hypodermic needles.

A crack user may have a pipe lying around, which is usually made of glass or metal. When smoked, the crack gets very hot, so individuals who regularly smoke it often have burns on their lips or fingers.

The effects of cocaine are short-lived, lasting only about 10-30 minutes depending on whether its smoked (about 10-15 minutes) or snorted (up to 30 minutes). Owing to coke’s short duration of effects and because withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant, a coke addict may be in perpetual drug-seeking mode. Because many addicts have no stable means of procuring this relatively expensive drug, other signs of coke use may include illegal activities, such as theft, drug dealing, or prostitution.

Effects of Coke Use

Coke use has many adverse effects that occur while intoxicated and after use has been discontinued, such as depression, paranoia, defensiveness, and social isolation. Furthermore, while on cocaine, a person may have wild mood swings, as well as feel a false sense of power and self-confidence.

Someone high on coke may have dilated pupils and a dry mouth. They may be very sweaty and go for a long time without eating, due to a lack of appetite. Because it is a stimulant, someone high on coke may appear restless and strung-out and will find it nearly impossible to sleep. Coke use has been associated with mental confusion and hallucinations and may also cause the user to have trouble concentrating or maintaining focus on a task.

Over the long term, a coke user may appear to age prematurely, and those who regularly smoke it will suffer from lung damage that can cause chest pain and respiratory issues. Some may have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

One of the most common signs of coke use is the development of addiction. The use of coke, and especially crack cocaine, is known to result in a psychological dependence that can manifest in a short period of time. Because the high from cocaine is so brief, users often consume it in a binge-like fashion, sometimes taking hits every few minutes.

A cocaine binge can cause the user to enter a state of psychosis that includes paranoia, hallucinations, and compulsive and often violent or suicidal behavior. When a binge ends, the user will crash hard and become exhausted, depressed, agitated, and experience intense cravings for more cocaine.

Signs of Coke Use | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Cocaine Overdose

If an individual uses too much coke at once, their central nervous system becomes overstimulated, and this can result in a dangerous increase in body temperature and convulsions. From the outside, a person overdosing on coke will appear extremely confused or delirious.

If medical intervention is not imminent, a cocaine overdose can be lethal. If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from an overdose of cocaine or another drug, please call 911 immediately.

Treatment for Cocaine Abuse

Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment programs that include essential services, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support. Our center offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach administered by compassionate addiction professionals.

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong endeavor, but you don’t have to do it alone. You can regain your life, wellness, and the harmony you deserve! Please contact as soon as possible and learn how we help people recover from addiction and begin to cultivate sober, healthy and satisfying lives!

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine on the Body

Effects of Cocaine on the Body | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

The long-term use of cocaine can result in many physical and emotional problems. Sometimes it is possible to reverse the harm done to the brain and body incurred by cocaine addiction, but years of abuse, however, may result in irreversible effects. Treating long-term conditions caused by cocaine abuse can result in a lifetime of medical complications, hospital and doctor visits, and corresponding medical bills.

Long-Term Cocaine Effects

Cardiovascular Damage

Immediate side effects from cocaine and crack cocaine include increased blood pressure, accelerated heartbeat, and vasoconstriction (the narrowing of blood vessels) in the brain and throughout the body. Chronic abuse of both forms of the drug can cause damage to the cardiovascular system in multiple ways, including the following:

  • Blood clots which contribute to heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis
  • Chest pain from tightening of blood vessels
  • Myocardial infarction, or damage to the heart muscle from a lack of oxygen related to reduced blood flow
  • Permanent hypertension
  • Heart arrhythmia (irregular heart rate)

Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among those who abuse cocaine. One report found that heart attacks accounted for 25% of fatalities among people ages 18-45 who have used cocaine or crack.

Damage to the Nose and Mouth

Snorting cocaine directly damages the mucous membranes in the nose. A drier environment and reduced blood flow allows the soft tissues in the nose to degenerate and die. The cartilage lining in the septum (located between nasal cavities) will then be exposed, will also eventually die, leaving just a hole.

Many people who battle cocaine abuse develop septal perforations, which can result in the collapse of the nose structure and breathing problems. Sometimes this problem can be repaired with plastic surgery, but this is not always the case.

Similarly, such a process can take place in the mouth’s upper palate, causing perforations. These are not as common as septal perforations, but they can occur as an unfortunate consequence of prolonged abuse.

Pulmonary and Respiratory Damage

Snorting cocaine can induce damage to the mucous membranes through the sinus cavity that, over time, moves down into the throat and upper respiratory system. Smoking (freebasing) crack, however, is more likely to lead to serious respiratory problems. As blood vessels in the lungs narrow, alveolar walls are damaged so that it is harder for oxygen to enter the bloodstream.

Freebasing cocaine is associated with the development of a chronic cough, higher risk of infection such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, respiratory distress, asthma, and pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs.) People who routines abuse crack can develop a condition known as “crack lung” (eosinophilic pneumonitis) that may also produce symptoms such as black sputum, wheezing noises, and pain.

Brain Damage

Effects of Cocaine on the Body | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Both cocaine and crack cocaine can result in brain damage, even when used for a relatively brief period. Damage to brain structures can trigger addiction, which is a chronic disease related to cocaine’s chemical interference in the brain’s reward and pleasure centers and the dopamine system.

Abusing cocaine can lead to other kinds of chronic damage as well. For example, the consistent narrowing of blood vessels can reduce the amount of oxygen received by the brain, which can result in brain damage. Additionally, it increases the risk of an aneurysm via damage to the vascular walls that support the brain.

Additional brain damage from cocaine or crack cocaine may include the following:

  • Mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks)
  • Cerebral atrophy (brain shrinkage)
  • Seizures
  • Cerebral vasculitis (inflamed neural and spinal blood vessels)
  • Hyperpyrexia (extremely high fever that is a medical emergency)
  • Temporal and prefrontal lobe changes, which can impair abilities related to decision-making, problem-solving spatial understanding, learning, vocabulary, attention, and memory
  • Changes to neurotransmitter production and absorption, which can cause mood disorders
  • Tremors and abnormal changes in gait

Also, cocaine causes the brain to age, so the risk of developing dementia increases. Long-term memory impairments can develop into conditions that resemble Alzheimer’s disease. Cocaine users who are at an increased risk of developing dementia are more likely to exhibit this condition early in life if they use cocaine for a prolonged period.

Finally, if the linings of the arteries and veins are damaged, cocaine use can inhibit blood flow to the brain, producing chronic headaches. This damage can also create blood clots, which can lead to stroke. Cocaine can also induce seizures, either during a binge or following extended use, or ultimately cause a seizure disorder to develop that will necessitate long-term treatment.

Damage to the Gastrointestinal Tract

Because of reduced blood flow throughout the body, multiple organ systems, including the stomach and intestines, can be indirectly damaged over time. Short-term side effects of cocaine abuse include stomach pain, suppressed appetite, nausea and vomiting, and constipation. Over time, these effects can become irreversible, leading to necrotic bowel or the death of vital tissues within the gastrointestinal system.

People who suffer from cocaine abuse are also more likely to incur ulcers related to changes in the stomach’s pH level. Also, cocaine use can lead to the development of ischemic colitis or inflammation and injury of the large intestine, which can cause severe digestive disorders and even result in death.

Liver Damage

Long-term cocaine abuse precipitates a higher risk of overdose, which can result in liver injury as the body is inundated with toxins that the liver cannot filter out. Although most damage to the liver will resolve if the person recovers from the overdose and overcomes cocaine addiction, there have, unfortunately, been deaths due to acute cocaine-related liver damage.

If the user combines cocaine with alcohol, long-term liver damage is more likely to occur because the combination incites the liver to produce a chemical called cocaethylene. This chemical compounds the depressant effects of alcohol and causes an increase in aggression, strain on the heart, and liver damage.

Kidney Damage

Long-term cocaine use can cause damage to the kidneys in two different ways. First, permanently increased blood pressure can lead to kidney damage as a result of the loss of blood flow. While many organ systems can be damaged by a lack of oxygen and high blood pressure, the kidneys are especially vulnerable.

Next, chronic cocaine use can lead to rhabdomyolysis or the destruction of skeletal muscles. As these muscles degenerate, toxins are released into the body, and ultimately flood into the liver and kidneys. Kidney failure is an end-stage consequence of rhabdomyolysis.

Effects of Cocaine on the Body | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Infectious Disease

People who engage in cocaine and crack abuse are more likely to contract infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. Sometimes, this is related to the sharing of unclean needles. More often, however, cocaine’s effects contribute to poor decision-making, an increase in risk-taking and impulsivity, and enhanced libido, all which can lead to potentially dangerous or unsafe sexual encounters.

In addition to this, cocaine use compromises the immune system so that diseases can spread more rapidly throughout the body.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

While there are no medications currently approved by the FDA to treat cocaine abuse or withdrawal, it is still a very treatable condition using a professional, comprehensive addiction treatment program focused on promoting recovery, the development of coping skills, and relapse prevention.

Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers an integrated, evidence-based approach to addiction treatment that includes services vital to recovery, including behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.

Our center employs caring medical professionals and certified clinicians who specialize in addiction and provide clients with the skills and support they so desperately need to recover and begin to experience long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

If you or someone you love is suffering from cocaine abuse, please call us today. We can help you conquer your addiction, reclaim your life, and find the happiness and harmony you deserve!

Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine Withdrawal | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Although cocaine withdrawal may not be as intense as withdrawal from some other drugs or alcohol, it does have its own unique set of challenges. Withdrawal from certain substances, such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates, can involve severe physical symptoms. Cocaine detox, however, manifests mostly psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slowed thinking
  • Fatigue after activities or exercise
  • Exhaustion
  • Restlessness and tremors
  • Chills, muscle aches, and nerve pain
  • Inability to experience sexual arousal
  • Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Suicidal ideations or actions
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams and nightmares
  • Increased cravings for cocaine
  • Increased appetite

When Is a Medical Detox Necessary?

While a cocaine detox may be conducted on an outpatient basis, medical detox is recommended in some cases. If an individual has experienced a relapse during any previous detox attempts, the 24-hour supervision provided by medical detox can be invaluable.

Also, if the person experiences any co-occurring mental health disorders, medical detox immediately followed by comprehensive addiction treatment can effectively address both withdrawal symptoms and mental health needs.

Among the more unsettling effects related to acute stimulant withdrawal is severe depression and an increased risk of suicide. People who try to discontinue cocaine use after addiction has developed can suffer from severe depression and mood swings, including suicidal ideations.

Through routine cocaine use, the brain becomes accustomed to the consistently increased dopamine activity associated with the drug. Over time, the brain’s reward center is disrupted and becomes less sensitive to dopamine. At this point, a person often requires increasing amounts of cocaine to feel its effect. Without it, they may feel extremely depressed and discontented with life.

If someone has a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, medical detox is generally encouraged to ensure that the person is safe and supported throughout the withdrawal process.

Withdrawal Timeline

Cocaine Withdrawal | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Acute cocaine withdrawal symptoms often resolve in about 7-10 days. However, as with many drugs, cravings for cocaine may continue for an extended period and could onset suddenly, even years after a person has achieved sobriety.

Cocaine has a relatively short half-life and, among those with significant dependence, withdrawal symptoms can manifest as soon as 90 minutes following the last use. The timeline for withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the person.

The following are some factors that may affect the timeline for cocaine withdrawal:

Duration of Use and Average Dose Used

Those who abuse cocaine for a short period may encounter withdrawal symptoms that are relatively short in duration. People who have used cocaine for years, on the other hand, may continue to suffer lingering withdrawal symptoms for weeks, in part due to a buildup of the drug in their bodies.

Also, people who’ve used excessive amounts of cocaine may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms than someone who has traditionally used lower doses.

Polysubstance Dependence

Someone who has developed a dependence on two or more drugs may suffer from withdrawal symptoms related to both, possibly complicating the course of withdrawal and making the experience worse for the person in detox.


If cocaine was used as a method of escape from a stressful environment, stress might trigger the desire to use again. Moreover, environmental factors that cause stress – relationship issues, work troubles, or other factors – may result in intense cravings for cocaine, thereby interfering with the psychological process of withdrawal.

Co-occurring Medical or Mental Health Conditions

If a person experiences any co-occurring medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, or mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, the withdrawal process from cocaine could be more intense and complex.

Treatment for Cocaine Withdrawal

Unlike other substances such as opioids and alcohol, there is no prescription medication currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cocaine withdrawal. However, some medications may help people by reducing both acute and long-term symptoms of withdrawal.

For instance, pharmaceuticals used to treat depression and anxiety may be beneficial for those undergoing cocaine withdrawal, as they work well to stabilize moods and prevent worse outcomes. These could be particularly helpful for people whose withdrawal symptoms continue for longer than a week.

After detox, patients are urged to undergo intensive addiction treatment in either a partial hospitalization or outpatient program and take advantage of comprehensive, evidence-based treatments such as behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, group support, and psychoeducation.

Research has shown that programs that satisfy these conditions lead to better outcomes for those seeking to overcome addiction. Our center offers these programs, managed by mental and medical health professionals who specialize in addiction and provide care and support to all of our clients.

You can restore happiness, harmony, and wellness to your life, free of drugs and alcohol! Call us today and learn how we can help!

Related: What is Crack Cocaine?

What Is Crack Cocaine?

Crack is a stimulant drug that is the freebase form of cocaine – meaning that it can be inhaled or smoked. It presents as irregular white chunks of various sizes. Although the drug itself doesn’t have a distinct smell, the method it’s used typically produces a burning or smokey odor.

Crack’s popularity is largely due to its appeal for drug users seeking an inexpensive, powerful, fast-acting high. The term “crack” comes from the sound that is produced by the burning rock-shaped chunks.

Other names for the substance include:

  • Rocks
  • Nuggets
  • Jelly beans
  • Gravel
  • Dice
  • Candy or Cookies
  • Base

As a potent stimulant, crack use can invoke a rapid, euphoric high. It increases the speed of various mental and physical processes, serving to boost energy and give the user a sense of control. As a smoked form of cocaine, crack use results in nearly instantaneous effects because the drug is breathed into the lungs where it is then rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

The effects peak quickly and subside after less than 20 minutes. Because the high is so brief, users often abuse in a binge and crash cycle that heightens the risk of dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

Why Do People Abuse Crack?

Those who abuse crack do so to achieve the following effects:

  • An intense feeling of euphoria
  • Inflated sense of self and increased self-importance
  • Increased alertness and hyperactivity/stimulation
  • Decreased appetite

As with other intoxicating substances, with regular use, the desired effects are quickly taken over by adverse symptoms.

What Is Crack Cocaine? Signs and Symptoms

Crack is a very dangerous and potentially life-threatening drug.

It’s unlikely that a person can use crack cocaine recreationally for any significant length of time, due to its addictive nature. Moreover, any use of crack should be taken seriously.

Crack is addictive due to the intense euphoric rush it produces but fades quickly, leaving the user wanting more. When the high subsides, the user feels a strong desire to smoke more crack because he or she enters withdrawal and becomes agitated, restless, paranoid, or anxious.

Physical signs of crack use include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Reduced sleep or insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Suppressed appetite and weight loss
  • Muscle twitching
  • Nosebleeds

Psychological signs may manifest that indicate a person is abusing crack cocaine. These signs may include the following:

  • Aggression and mood swings.
  • Psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations and paranoia.
  • Persistent thoughts about obtaining and using crack/strong cravings.
  • Inability to stop using despite a desire to do so.
  • Smoking crack at the expense of finances, relationships, and other important aspects of life.

Tolerance and Withdrawal

Someone who regularly engages in crack use can quickly build a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance occurs when the body grows accustomed to the presence of crack the system and requires an increasing amount to achieve the same effect. If a person is not satisfied with a small amount of crack and feels a need for larger and larger amounts, he or she has developed a tolerance.

Once tolerance has manifested, addiction may follow soon after, and the person may begin to engage in risky, dangerous, or problematic behaviors in order to obtain and use the substance. In the throes of an addiction, the person will likely become much less rational and logical.

The occurrence of withdrawal symptoms is another sign of crack use. As tolerance develops, a physical or chemical dependence may also develop, meaning the brain comes to heavily rely on the drug and adapted to its presence.

Without it, the person may suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as the following:

  • Depression.
  • Increased anxiety.
  • Irritability and agitation.
  • Strong cravings for more crack.

Risks of Crack Abuse

Those who abuse crack often put themselves and others in harm’s way due to dangerous and compulsive drug seeking behaviors. Crack abusers may engage in the following:

Risky Sexual Behaviors

Crack use increases sexual desire and reduces inhibitions. Those high on crack could be more likely to engage in sex with multiple partners and to have unprotected sex. In addition, some may exchange sex for the drug.

Violent Tendencies

Crack cocaine use intensifies emotions, including agitation and anger. People who are high on crack may be more violent toward others or may harm themselves intentionally or accidentally.

Engaging in Risky Behavior to Obtain and Use Crack

Crack users often enter unsafe areas or agree to do risky things to obtain the drug. Crack addiction can be a very powerful motivator, and many individuals entrapped by it are willing to do nearly anything in exchange for some more of the substance.

Neglect of Responsibilities

People in active crack addiction often prioritize drug use over responsibilities such as paying bills, attending work or school, maintaining relationships with family members, or even caring for children.

Law Breaking

Many addicted to crack steal to help support their habit. They also may commit robberies or participate in other illegal activity to obtain the money needed to buy crack. Crack possession itself is also illegal, so some face legal trouble for possessing it even if they don’t engage in these behaviors.

Effects of Crack Abuse

In both the short- and long-term, crack use can result in a number of side effects that can substantially compromise one’s health.

Short-term risks of crack use include:

  • Cardiovascular risks including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
  • Higher breathing rates.
  • Nausea.
  • Odd or bizarre behaviors, delusional behavior or paranoia.
  • Anxiety and panic.

The above adverse effects can occur after only one use at a high dose.

Crack’s Long-Term Effects

Long-term effects can occur after a prolonged period of consistent abuse. These include:

  • Chronic cardiovascular issues that may include heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
  • Malnutrition due in part to significant weight loss.
  • Marked cognitive decline.
  • Confusion and delirium.
  • Psychosis and hallucinations.
  • Damage to the lips, mouth, and teeth.
  • Major depression, anxiety, and irritability.
  • Seizures.

Treatment For Crack Cocaine

Treatment for crack abuse often begins with a detox – a supervised, controlled withdrawal usually performed at a detox center. Medical staff monitor patients for severe physical symptoms of withdrawal and help manage intense psychological effects such as mood swings, agitation, anxiety, and depression during this period.

After detox is complete, many patients transition to a rehab center such as Harmony Treatment and Wellness for residential or partial hospitalization programs. Treatment then largely focuses on the psychological aspects of addiction, and patients receive individual and group therapy and may attend ongoing support groups.

An inpatient or residential rehab stay is often followed by outpatient treatment and a period of ongoing aftercare, in which patients begin to return to their daily lives but also continue to visit the center regularly to undergo continuing therapy and other needed treatment. Some patients transition back to their regular lives while they reside in a halfway house or sober living facility.

We ensure our patients receive the support that they need through the entire recovery process to achieve long-lasting sobriety, and therefore, provides aftercare planning services that serve to find local resources for former patients after treatment has been completed.

You can regain the life you deserve, full of happiness and wellness – and we can help!