Understanding substance use is probably best if we think about use in terms of Dependence and Abuse. Cocaine Dependence describes a stage where it’s more and more difficult not to use whenever cocaine is available, where seeking out the drug feels compulsive. Another aspect of Dependence is the need to have rest days after intense periods of use. Withdrawal symptoms (a comprehensive list is on the Australian Drug Foundation site http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/drug-facts/cocaine#tolerance) are also a sign of Dependence. Some symptoms of withdrawal include strong cravings, fluctuating mood and energy levels vivid, distressing dreams, difficulty getting to sleep or sleeping too much, increased appetite poor concentration, thought disturbances (paranoia, hallucinations) as well as general aches and pains.
Cocaine Abuse refers to situations where episodes of cocaine use result in interpersonal conflict or when responsibilities are neglected as a result of cocaine use.
If you are unsure of your level of use it’s probably best you talk it over with a psychologist. For you, your use may feel like “the norm”, especially if you’ve used for some time. Talking it over with someone who understands substance use can help identify issues you may not be aware of, or it can help explores ways of addressing the issues if you know what they are but feel helpless to change. Best of luck.
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