Cocaine is one of the most infamous drugs known to date. Often glamorized by the rich and famous, cocaine gained popularity due to its euphoric high. However, cocaine use has many adverse side effects, including life-threatening consequences.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding cocaine use is the risk of overdose. In 2020, cocaine use was involved in around 20,000 overdose deaths. Whether you or a loved one is using cocaine, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the signs and symptoms of a cocaine overdose. Overdoses can be deadly, but you could potentially save a life if treated quickly.
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug made from a coca plant native to South America. It is typically found in a white powder form that is snorted, injected, or smoked.
Cocaine has gained popularity due to its short-term effects of increased energy levels and euphoria. Because of this, cocaine is highly addictive. In the United States, around 5.5 million people use cocaine every year, and related deaths are slowly increasing.
Cocaine addiction is brought on by the drug’s effects on the brain. Cocaine use increases the levels of dopamine that your brain produces, a chemical associated with feelings of pleasure.
Repeated use of cocaine causes the brain to produce less dopamine and often leaves the user feeling like they can’t function without the drug. This deficiency most likely will lead to the development of cocaine dependence.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that a cocaine overdose is caused by a person taking too much cocaine. This causes it to reach toxic levels in the system that induces a hazardous reaction in the body.
Cocaine toxicity can occur after repeated and progressive drug use, as the effects gradually build up over extended use. If you have a cocaine use disorder, you will likely take the drug in binges, meaning you take a significant amount in a short period. This increases the risk of a heart attack and causes problems to the gastrointestinal tract.
However, a cocaine overdose can occur even if it is your first time, as toxic levels are not purely dictated by the amount taken. Essentially, someone can overdose on cocaine after a few hundred milligrams, and someone could ingest a few grams and be fine.
The strength of cocaine is unknown as it can be mixed with other drugs and several different materials for dealers to increase profit. This often means that the strength of one gram can vary significantly from the strength of one gram from another source.
However, the increase in cocaine overdoses can be attributed to the rise of illicit drugs being laced with the opioid fentanyl. If you mix cocaine with any other drugs, you can overdose. Most cocaine overdoses are due to a mix of cocaine and synthetic opioids, and the number of people dying from this lethal mix of drugs has increased over the last few years.
If you believe you or someone you know is experiencing a cocaine overdose, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that speeds up the central nervous system; however, if you experience cocaine toxicity, the effects brought on by this can potentially become life-threatening. Acute cocaine toxicity typically happens in a set of stages that are recognizable as specific symptoms. Signs of cocaine overdose are:
Physical symptoms that can be felt during stage 1 of acute cocaine toxicity include:
Alongside physical effects, a person may also experience psychological symptoms such as paranoia and confusion or delirium; this can cause a person to become dangerous to others and themselves.
Short-term side effects of cocaine use include increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. However, these can lead to cardiac and respiratory issues. Other symptoms of this stage are:
This is the final and most serious stage of cocaine overdoses; people experience:
The changes to your cardiovascular system can lead to a life-threatening cardiac arrest.
If a person reaches stage 3, their life is in danger, and immediate medical attention is needed before the body starts to shut down completely. The effects of cocaine can be felt immediately, and the stages of cocaine toxicity can quickly escalate. It is vital to respond fast as if the correct medical treatment is given; a person can survive.
If you partake in cocaine abuse, it is crucial to recognize cocaine overdose symptoms as time is of the essence. Help is just a phone call away.
Certain risk factors could contribute to the potential of an overdose. This makes it almost impossible to reduce the risk of or prevent an overdose. Factors include:
The long-term adverse effects of cocaine are both physical and psychological. People with a substance abuse disorder, who use cocaine regularly, will increase their tolerance to the drug. This means more is needed for the same effects to be used.
The psychological effects of too much cocaine can range from irritability to psychosis. Cocaine can cause people to lose touch with reality and experience things not really there.
Those with substance use disorders often struggle in their day-to-day life. It makes it challenging to prioritize daily tasks such as maintaining social relationships or holding down a job.
Crack is another form of cocaine that is often smoked which causes problems with the lungs and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, or respiratory failure.
The best way to prevent an overdose is to deal with the cocaine addiction at hand. Cocaine addiction is a substance abuse disorder, a disease that alters a person’s ability to stop taking the drug despite harmful consequences to their life. However, the condition is treatable through evidence-based treatment.
Long-term recovery is achievable through the help of a treatment center. This can offer support in managing withdrawal symptoms, dealing with the root of the addiction, and teaching tactics to deal with cravings.
If you or someone you know is struggling, then there are a range of treatment options that can help you take your first steps to recovery.
The first step of the treatment process is to undergo a detox. This is where the body gets rid of all toxins present from cocaine use. Medical detox is highly recommended as it enables you to experience withdrawal in a safe and comfortable environment.
After a detox, you will receive addiction treatment on an outpatient or inpatient basis. You will receive individual therapy, group therapy, stress management, and medication-assisted treatment here. These techniques have been proven to support clients in working toward a sober and healthy future.
At Empowered Recovery, we understand that drug addiction differs for everyone. We offer a holistic healing experience delivered by our team of medical experts. Our treatment options include:
Our programs focus on long-term recovery to help you get back to living a sober and happy lifestyle.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we are here to help. Contact us today to discuss treatment options for you.
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