1. Experimental Stage – During this stage a person uses cocaine out of curiosity, the same reason why most people who use a drug for the first time, they use it out of curiosity. However, this curiosity can lead to an addiction based on a number of variables. The person uses cocaine to experience a positive or pleasant feeling. Relationships and employment remain intact and the person mainly uses cocaine in social gatherings. In fact, one’s social or work performance may actually improve due to the cocaine use. Although this may lead to the person using cocaine on a regular basis because they are impressed with the effects of cocaine.
2. Compulsive Stage – Now the person is using cocaine on a regular basis to get the effects from the experimental stage. However, like most drugs the brain becomes use to the drug and the person eventually has to increase the dosage to get the same desired effects. This results in the user becoming dependent on cocaine. The user, or addict at this point, starts using cocaine more frequently and associating with other cocaine users. The addict now takes cocaine anytime, alone or around others. Similar to the withdrawal effects of heroin use, the addict now takes cocaine to prevent the negative effects of depression, mood swings, and irritability. Relationships, work, and health begin to suffer. Cocaine addicts don’t get much sleep or eat due to the effects of the drug. Powder cocaine is pretty expensive, so the addict begins to suffer financially after spending tons of money on obtaining the drug.
3. Dysfunctional Stage – The cocaine addiction is in full control. The addict is totally preoccupied with obtaining and using cocaine. Nothing else matters. Addicts resort to criminal behavior to pay for their habit, which includes theft, robbery, and selling cocaine. Female crack addicts engage in prostitution to pay for their habits. Some female crack addicts engage in prostitution in crack houses where they are paid or given crack instead of money in exchange for sexual favors. The cocaine addiction leads to the person becoming completely separated from family and friends, unable to hold a job, and experiencing serious health problems. Severe cocaine addiction can result in violent behavior due to paranoia, psychosis, delusions, and hallucinations. Like a heroin addict, the cocaine addict’s physical appearance and hygiene starts to deteriorate. Eventually, the cocaine addiction becomes overbearing and so out of control that the person will seek treatment. Most cocaine addicts, like other addicts, go through a number of failed recovery attempts before they completely overcome the cocaine addiction. Cocaine addiction can cause fatal heart attacks and other fatal heart ailments. Also, other serious health problems can result in death from cocaine addiction.