Destination Hope Blog » How to Tell if Someone Is on Cocaine

How to Tell if Someone Is on Cocaine

It’s crucially important to understand that identifying someone’s drug use is not always as obvious as it is looks when dramatized in movies and on TV. But even when not obvious, many drugs manifest in their users in similar ways, and there are definite clues to determine if someone might be using.

Bloodshot eyes are just one sign of cocaine abuse you can spot easily according to substance abuse treatment experts at Destination Hope in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Cocaine is one of those drugs. It is an alluring and addictive substance. It has even been portrayed as its own character in popular culture – personified as a temptress, gangster, powerbroker, and life of the party. But as we know, the way anything is portrayed for entertainment – especially drug use and its glorification – is never what it truly is. Behind the notorious rock-n-roll cocaine heyday and the white-powder-fueled endless social (and sexual) possibilities, lies a false seductress promising a portal into a non-stop, amped-up party and with no ramification but a twenty-four-inch waist and boundless energy.

At some point the movie ends. The high disappears as does the preverbal party, and you are left with incredible mood swings, restlessness, and uncertainty about what the hell you did in your coke-fueled state. Once invincible, you will crash, now swirling in sadness, intense fatigue, and irritability.

Cocaine is an extremely powerful stimulant. It boosts those feelings of happiness, excitement, tremendous surges in energy and, perhaps the most alluring – confidence. When used often, it seduces the abuser into feeling like anything is possible. This artificial and fragile invincibility is pretend. High on cocaine, the individual makes decisions and acts in ways that a reckless alter-ego may – with risky, manic decisions, rash and reckless confidence; often putting themselves in incredible danger.

The mood swings are tell-tale. Becoming easily agitated and irritable are the most common side effect of the comedown from cocaine. But there are other indicators. If you believe someone close to you may be abusing cocaine, here are some signs to watch out for:

Bloodshot Eyes

Snorting cocaine can wreak havoc on the sinus cavities and the eyes. Often, abusing cocaine causes a person to stay up late into the night, or skip sleep altogether. As a result, it’s likely that users of cocaine will have bloodshot eyes.

Erratic Sleep Patterns

Binging on cocaine can create off-schedule sleep patterns. The highs and lows, surges in energy and then crashes wreak havoc on the body. It is difficult to maintain a sleep pattern when on cocaine. If you have noticed that someone is staying up extremely late or sleeping in, they may be abusing the drug.

Pulling the Disappearing Act

To use the substance while out, it’s common to look for privacy. Abusing cocaine is more involved than popping a pill. Pulling the “disappearing act” while out, normally by excusing oneself to the restroom, can be a sign that a person is using cocaine. Note the demeanor and behavior when the person returns. Do they have a second wind? Are they ready to rally? Is it like they recharged somewhere? Are they sniffling and wiping their nose repeatedly?

Extreme Anxiety and Nervousness

Cocaine is a strong stimulant. Even after using the drug one time, users can experience extreme anxiety, nervousness, and restlessness days after coming down from the drug. Not only is there a physical drop in this letdown, but the nervousness and anxiety can be compounded by the desperate desire to find and use the drug again. Like a dog chasing its tail, the cycle is nearly impossible to moderate.

Mood Swings

One of the most significant side effects of cocaine use includes incredible swings in mood during and after use. Cocaine stimulates the brain, causing feelings of elation, and soon after, causing a crash into hopelessness and depression. This cycle destroys the possibility of a healthy or “normal” state of mind. These swings in mood are often described as manic in behavior, meaning a state of mind with racing thoughts, and uncontrollable, erratic and exaggerated behaviors. Mania can often be described as “crazed,” or unusually talkative and hyper.

Additional Signs

Other physical signs of cocaine may include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Lack of looking after health and appearance
  • Extreme fatigue

Other mental signs of cocaine may include the following:

  • Overconfidence
  • Euphoria
  • Unusual excitement
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Poor judgment
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Despite the rock-and-roll portrayals and party-hard reputation of cocaine, it is a dangerous substance that quickly becomes addictive. It not only affects a person’s mood, motivation, and energy, but it can increase the risk of psychiatric disorders, disease, and death. Some of the most serious effects of cocaine abuse are inflammation of the heart muscle, cardiac arrhythmias, and an increased risk of heart attack.

If you believe someone close to you may be suffering with an addiction to cocaine, the counselors at Destination Hope can walk you through treatment options. Learn more by contacting us today.