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Cocaine Abuse (cont.)

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

As with addiction to any substance, the diagnosis of cocaine addiction, now referred to as cocaine use disorder, involves a pattern of drug use that results in negative effects on the person's life socially, educationally, or occupationally. The cocaine addict will exhibit several of a number of possible symptoms, including a need to use more cocaine to feel the desired effect, withdrawal symptoms when the effects of the drug wear off, using more cocaine over time, and trouble abstaining from use of the substance. The cocaine addict may also give up important educational, occupational, or leisure activities because of cocaine use, and they may continue to use cocaine despite knowing that its use has had a significant role in their developing a specific physical or psychological problem.

When to Seek Medical Care

If you have a psychiatrist who knows of your drug use, and if your symptoms are psychiatric in nature (such as mania, paranoia, violence, suicidal thoughts, major depression, homicidal thoughts, or hallucinations), call or have someone call your doctor.

  • Call your doctor if the following conditions develop:
    • If you have foul, itchy, or bloody discharge, or facial pain that seems like sinusitis
    • If your chronic cough is associated with a mild fever, more phlegm production, or foul phlegm
    • If you are pregnant and have premature labor pain, vaginal bleeding, or ankle swelling with high blood pressure
    • If you notice redness with even mild swelling and pain at an injection site

Severe headache, generalized seizures, chest pain, loss of consciousness, signs of a stroke (loss of vision, seeing double, inability to speak or slurred speech, weakness of extremities), or coma are all symptoms that demand emergency care. Call 911 for an ambulance as opposed to bringing someone by car to a hospital emergency department.

Someone with severe depression, violent behavior, paranoia, suicidal, or homicidal behavior should certainly be brought to the hospital, especially if a psychiatrist is not easily reached. Police may be needed to subdue the violent, paranoid, suicidal, or homicidal person.

  • Go to an emergency department if the following conditions develop:
    • A brisk nosebleed that cannot be stopped by direct pressure for 10 minutes
    • Facial pain or headache with a fever
    • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or foul or bloody phlegm with fever
    • High blood pressure, especially with symptoms of headache, chest pain, or shortness of breath
    • Chest pain, usually described as pressure or squeezing in nature, which may be accompanied by difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, and sweatiness
    • Vaginal bleeding, premature labor pains, and suspicion of miscarriage
    • Significant swelling, pain, redness, red lines leading from the injection site, and accompanied by fever
    • Severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, vomiting blood
    • If you think that one of your packets you have swallowed or stuffed in a body orifice (vagina, rectum) is leaking or has broken
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/24/2014

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Toxicity, Cocaine »

Cocaine is derived from Erythroxylon coca, a shrub endemic to the Andes, Mexico, West Indies, and Indonesia.

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