There is no definitive way to spot if someone you know has an addiction to cocaine, but if you suspect that this may be the case, then there are some signs that you should be looking out for. Some are easier to spot than others.
If the individual in question seems to be getting a lot of nosebleeds, and this was never the case previously, then this should be a cause for concern. Nosebleeds are one of the classic signs that a person is using large amounts of cocaine on a regular basis, as the drug will begin to damage or even destroy the lining of the nasal passages. A runny or blocked nose can also occur with regular use of cocaine, and may actually present as symptoms before the nosebleeds begin.
The person in question may be undergoing a dramatic change in personality, losing interest in people that they would previously have seen on a regular basis, and giving up on activities that they used to enjoy. Cocaine has become the most important thing in the life of the addict, replacing everything else.
A common feature of people addicted to cocaine, and sometimes other drugs as well, is that they will stop going to work, school or college, and may end up losing their job if the situation becomes too bad. Linked to this may be financial problems, which are bound to become worse if they do lose their job. An addict will think nothing of spending all the money they have to obtain more cocaine, which may not be immediately obvious. However, if you notice that they are looking to borrow money or sell their possessions, then this should be a very big cause for concern.
Changes in mood can also be a sign of cocaine use and addiction. When cocaine has been taken recently, a person will tend to be extremely happy and talkative, chatting regardless of whether anybody is paying attention or not. This is known as a cocaine high, and can last anywhere between fifteen and thirty minutes. Once the feeling of being high has worn off, the cocaine user will feel short of energy, possibly depressed, and a lack of mental clarity may set in. The only way to prevent this from happening is to take some more cocaine, and it will be apparent that this is the case if the person disappears to find some privacy. If cocaine has been used over a long period of time, in large amounts, then it is likely that the person will sleep excessively for several days.
If excessive amounts of cocaine have been used over an extended period of time, then it is possible that paranoia can begin to set in. Sometimes, panic attacks can occur, with symptoms of chest pains and heavy sweating. A normal social setting may also cause feelings of anxiety.
Another sign that may indicate a drug addiction, whether cocaine or something else, is if the person has largely replaced all of their friends with new people that you have not met before. This is because a drug addict will begin to spend time with other drug addicts, who will not ask questions or try to prevent drugs from being used. When a friend begins to take drugs and forms an addiction, this is always going to be a difficult situation.
If cocaine is used for a long period of time, then you will start to notice physical differences in the person. One of the most obvious will be weight loss. Cocaine reduces the appetite dramatically, so as the drug use increases, the amount of food being eaten will drop rapidly. Weight loss is a classic symptom of cocaine use and abuse.