Most people think of cocaine as a fun party drug for enhancing a social experience. But can you overdose on cocaine? Read on.
Cocaine has always been an illicit drug with a high-risk profile. Over the years, many famous people have lost their lives due to a cocaine overdose. Today, though, the risks of a fatal event are that much higher. This is because cocaine often is not just cocaine anymore. These days, the cocaine you ingest could contain the deadly fentanyl.
Cocaine is derived from the coca plant found in South America. It is a white, powdery substance that stimulates, or speeds up, the central nervous system. People still flock to cocaine to enjoy this boost of energy and be able to get by on few hours of sleep. Mostly, though, cocaine enhances confidence and mood, which is the main draw.
Cocaine is taken by snorting the powder, smoking the cocaine (crack), or by injecting a liquefied version of the drug. When coke is ingested, it quickly crosses into the bloodstream. The brain’s reward system records the dopamine rush as a pleasant effect that should be repeated. The reward response solidifies the connection between cocaine and pleasure. This is the setup for an addiction to taking root.
Cocaine may at first seem like a harmless “natural” drug, but it can have some serious side effects that go along with the desired effects. Consider the short and long-term effects of cocaine use.
Short-term effects of cocaine use include:
- High energy.
- Manic mood.
- Less sleep needed.
- Sharper thinking.
- Feeling invincible.
- Rapid heart rate.
Long-term effects of cocaine abuse include:
- Enlarged heart.
- Destruction of nasal tissue.
- Heart attacks.
- Heart arrhythmia
- Vascular damage.
- Kidney damage.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
The cocaine high is fairly short-lived, lasting only about an hour. This may prompt someone to engage in repeat dosing. The way the brain’s reward system works, the more cocaine that is ingested, the more cocaine is desired.
As cocaine use continues over a period of time, tolerance to its effects increases. It begins to take more and more of the drug to get high. At some point, withdrawal symptoms emerge after the cocaine high wears off. That is a sign of dependency.
Cocaine addiction can happen quickly. Signs of cocaine abuse or addiction include:
- Physical symptoms. Frequent nosebleeds, damage to nasal cartilage, extreme weight loss, muscle tics, severe fatigue, constant runny nose, and insomnia.
- Mood swings. As cocaine alters neural pathways, the person becomes emotionally unstable. They may have mood swings and become hostile, agitated, and irritable.
- Work performance suffers. A coke addiction can result in someone missing work often. They may lack focus and motivation, and that results in poor performance.
- Financial ruin. Cocaine is a pricey drug and can quickly cause serious money problems. To keep using coke, people will max out their credit cards, skip paying bills and deplete their savings.
Can You Overdose on Cocaine?
The risk for a cocaine overdose has always been fairly high due to uneven levels of the cocaine purity. Not knowing how pure the drug was could cause someone to ingest more than their system could handle.
Cocaine overdose can cause serious damage to vital organs, such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. If a toxic level of coke is consumed, the person must receive medical treatment as soon as possible. Left untreated, cocaine poisoning can result in a heart attack or stroke, which might be fatal.
Cocaine overdose symptoms include:
- Intense headache.
- Extreme sense of dehydration.
- Feeling very hot.
- Rapid heart rate.
Now, though, fentanyl poses the greatest risk to people who use cocaine. When fentanyl is involved in the overdose, the symptoms are more like an opioid overdose. The respiratory system will fail in a very short period of time if Narcan is not provided right away.
Cocaine Detox and Withdrawal
The path to reclaiming health and wellness begins with cocaine detox and withdrawal. This is when the person decides to quit cocaine and allows the body to slowly adjust as it clears the drug.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Sleep problems.
- Increased appetite.
- Slowed thinking.
- Muscle aches.
- Paranoid thoughts.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Cocaine Addiction Recovery
Enrolling in a treatment program right after completing detox offers the best chance for success. Licensed therapists provide various types of interventions to help you make changes to your habits and thought patterns. They also address any mental health disorder that might also be present. If a co-occurring mental health issue is present, it would be treated at the same time as the cocaine addiction.
Therapies that treat cocaine addiction include:
Contingency Management. CM shapes new behaviors through the use of a rewards system. The rewards may be points earned, gifts, privileges, or vouchers, for abstaining from cocaine. Over time, this method reshapes your behavior choices.
CBT. CBT teaches you how to respond in a healthy manner to triggers like cocaine cravings or other triggers to use. The CBT therapist helps you recognize your triggers and then how you react to them. By shifting the thought patterns that may have led to cocaine use, you change your behaviors.
Holistic methods. Holistic health involves the mind, body, and spirit. In treatment, you will be counseled to improve wellness by eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, and managing stress.
If you wondered if you can overdose on cocaine, you now know that indeed you can and that the outcome could prove fatal. If you have a cocaine problem, reach out for help now.
Bodhi Addiction Treatment and Wellness Trusted Provider for Alcoholism Recovery
Bodhi Addiction Treatment offers the support and expertise to guide you toward renewed health and wellness. If you are seeing the physical complications of alcohol, it is time to get the help you deserve. Call us today at (877) 328-1968.