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Symptoms of Substance Abuse: Alcohol, Narcotics and Cocaine

Oct 20, 2020

Substance abuse or addiction is more than just on-the-surface addiction. We seek to understand our patients’ past traumas, disorders, and sufferings to hold compassion throughout the recovery process and to facilitate healing to empower our patients through their struggles. Women are courageous and embody strength, and with our compassion-central, research-based treatment programs, we offer individual, tender care for our patients.

To educate our patients and their families about what constitutes addiction and its symptoms, we’ve created a comprehensive list of substances that can be a source of addiction, and their correlative symptoms below. If you or a loved one experience these symptoms, please contact a healthcare professional, or reach out to one of our in-take professionals at Hannah’s House.


The effects of alcohol on the immune system vary from individual to individual. This is especially true for women, as women’s bodies and health systems undergo various changes through their lifetimes. Factors that influence a women’s response to alcohol include age, frequency of use, amount consumed, family history, and present health status. According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, factors influencing a woman’s response to alcohol include age, frequency of use, amount consumed, family history, and present health status. Additionally,  although the initial psychological effects of alcohol may lift a person’s mood, the physiological depressant nature of alcohol can  suppress a  woman’s immune system making her more prone to the flu or pneumonia and more likely to develop cancers of the breast, liver, head, or neck.

Effects of Alcoholism

Social drinking or infrequent consumption of alcohol poses little threat; however, heavy drinking can cause a wide range of adverse reactions, including:

  • Mood changes
  • Behavioral changes
  • Heart attack
  • Strokes
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatic inflammation


Narcotics are also known as opioids, and are prescription medications used to treat the following symptoms: chronic pain, sleep issues, diarrhea, and cough. The very nature of narcotics is designed to relieve tension and anxiety, but because of relieving effects, they can become they can become addictive to both men and women to feel less anxiety and stress about their daily lives, or just in general.  

Opioids are derived from natural sources in the environment, such as from the opium poppy plant. Medicinal opioids (prescription narcotics), however, are synthetic formulations manufactured in laboratories.

Examples of Narcotics

Pharmaceutical narcotics include:

  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • OxyContin
  • Vicodin

Physical effects of narcotic misuse include:

  • drowsiness
  • slowed breathing
  • liver or kidney disease
  • pneumonia
  • overdose may cause death

Note: Narcotic usage during pregnancy can result in low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and miscarriage (Source: Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration).


Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant taken for its euphoric properties is made from a South American coca plant’s leaves. The leaves undergo a chemical process whereby they are reduced to a white powder, what we call “cocaine.” The effects of cocaine that are most desirable include increased energy levels and alertness. On the other hand, if a pregnant woman uses cocaine, she may experience premature delivery, or give birth to children with low birth weight and developmental delays.

Cocaine, when used with alcohol, can pose a high risk for cardiac toxicity which can lead to heart failure.

Adverse Reactions to Cocaine:

Adverse reactions to cocaine usage, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Headache and nausea
  • Anxiety, paranoia, panic, and psychosis
  • Erratic or violent outbursts
  • Psychosis
  • Heart arrhythmias, including cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Coma

Long-term health effects may include nasal damage, trouble swallowing, lung damage, and increased risk of infectious diseases, hepatitis, and HIV from sharing needles.

Treatment Solutions at Hannah’s House

Hannah’s House, located on South Padre Island in Texas, delivers comprehensive addiction treatment for women suffering from alcoholism, cocaine addiction, or addiction to narcotics. Our licensed recovery center is specifically designed with women’s strengths and challenges in mind. From early one-on-one assessments to treatment planning and amenities with a feminine touch, every detail is individualized and personalized.

Why Hannah House?

We utilize a comprehensive array of methods to help women of all ages and stages recover.

Treating alcohol, cocaine, and narcotic addiction in women involves a specially tailored, integrated approach. The therapists and licensed medical professionals of Hannah’s House have the highest credentials and training, along with the compassion needed to help women heal.

We offer the following services that sets us apart:

Gender-separate care for women

Hannah’s House provides focused care for both young and mature women. The latest women-specific research and evidence-based modalities comprise our gender-separate programming to help our clients recover trust and emotional openness without the fear of judgment.

Trauma therapies exclusively for women

Women who witness or experience abuse or violence may struggle with significant emotional pain related to past trauma. Trauma can also originate from losing a loved one, divorce, loss of child custody, stress, emotional burnout, or the onset of a physical injury or illness. We address traumas with gentle compassion and create the right environment for safety and healing.

Cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapies include identifying and resolving patterns of thinking that negatively impact a woman’s emotions, and ultimately, her behavior is a crucial goal of CBT. Our psychotherapists help women learn how to harness disruptive and disturbing thought patterns that have held them back for years.

Motivational interviewing

Our counselors equip women with the targeted support needed to change their behaviors by resolving internal feelings of insecurity. By working through the elements required to find internal motivation, we empower women to make lifelong, positive changes.

Comprehensive Medical care

We understand that gender-specific medical care is vital to address substance use effects on women to tackle the physical fallout of alcohol, narcotics, and cocaine usage. We offer comprehensive physical evaluations, medication management, and personalized continuing care plans set up by practitioners who understand women’s unique challenges.

About Hannah’s House

Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 866-952-5532.

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