In addition to providing intense euphoria, cocaine can have several unpleasant side effects, including insomnia, paranoia, sweating, and tremors. However, the short-lived high comes with a price. Like many illicit drugs, cocaine can cause discomfort and even fatal overdoses. A high dose can increase the likelihood of experiencing the drug’s negative effects. A high dose can also cause more severe side effects. But is cocaine as deadly as it seems?
It is possible to take cocaine and experience active effects in doses as small as 5 mg (milligrams), and a typical dose is 30 mg to 60 mg. Any dosage over 90 mg will be dangerous for the average person, although lower doses may be dangerous for people with heart conditions or hypertension. Cocaine-containing nasal sprays have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even solutions containing cocaine in amounts of 40 mg/mL cause side effects such as high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
Cocaine, a central nervous system stimulant, can increase brain activity and nervous system activity. Cocaine stimulates the brain and nervous system and increases activity by blocking the reuptake of dopamine, a chemical that naturally occurs in your body. It’s a feel-good chemical in your brain.
During the reuptake process, chemicals exit the body to prevent buildup. Cocaine prevents dopamine from building up, which allows it to bind to more receptors.
When you use cocaine regularly, and in large doses, it can affect your brain and body significantly. The most obvious effect cocaine can have on you is that it is extremely addictive. It acts as a stimulant that affects your brain’s dopamine levels. A neurotransmitter responsible for motivation and reward, dopamine is an important neurotransmitter.
It’s also one of the brain chemicals associated with addiction. It causes a powerful increase in dopamine, which causes intense euphoria. When you’re stressed or experiencing negative emotions, you’ll train your brain to crave dopamine.
Many people binge on cocaine, which is an intense but quick euphoric high, followed by a severe but uncomfortable comedown. This can increase the negative effects of cocaine, causing severe insomnia, anxiety, general discomfort, heart palpitation, and paranoia. Some people binge cocaine by taking several doses in a row in an attempt to maintain the high and avoid the side effects.
Cocaine binges can cause significant disruptions in your sleep schedule. Sleeplessness coupled with cocaine can lead to what’s called stimulant psychosis, which produces temporary psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions.
What are the effects of cocaine on the body? Find out how dangerous cocaine can be by reading this article.
Signs and Symptoms of a Cocaine Overdose
Despite the recent increase in heroin overdose death rates, cocaine overdoses remain a problem, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Cocaine overdose rates have also increased in recent years, according to the NIDA. The number of overdose deaths exceeded 10,000 in 2016, and the number is estimated to be 14,556 in 2017. Overdoses with cocaine and other drugs are also common in many of these cases.
With regular cocaine use, your nervous system can be overstimulated to dangerous levels as a stimulant. With regular use, cocaine can cause elevated blood pressure, elevated body temperature, and cognitive issues. Overdoses cause extreme symptoms like high blood pressure and a high heart rate that can result in medical complications such as a stroke or heart attack. Seizures, panic attacks, or psychosis can result from an overexcited nervous system.
Regular recreational use of cocaine can cause some uncomfortable side effects. But how do you know if you’ve taken too much? A general rule of thumb is to look for severe, long-lasting, or abnormal symptoms.
If you or someone else is experiencing troubling symptoms, contact emergency services if you’re not in immediate danger. If you’re not in immediate danger, you can contact poison control.
The following are some common overdose symptoms:
- Extreme confusion
- Being unaware of your surroundings
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Pounding heartbeat
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Extremely high blood pressure
Is Cocaine Overdose Lethal?
You may experience cardiotoxicity if you take cocaine in a high dose. If you experience a cocaine overdose or take cocaine in high doses for a long time, you might experience more cardiotoxicity. Even if you survive an overdose, heart-related side effects can leave a lasting impact.
Cocaine has been shown to cause irreversible structural damage to the heart, according to a 2009 review published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs. Structural damage can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to causing sudden heart attacks, cocaine can also cause cardiac death. Taking cocaine or experiencing an overdose can significantly increase your risk for heart-related complications.
Mixing cocaine with other drugs, especially stimulants or depressants, can make it more dangerous. With the increased prevalence of fentanyl on illicit drug markets, taking drug cocktails has become even more dangerous. However, cocaine and alcohol are particularly dangerous because of a compound called cocaethylene.
In the liver, alcohol, and cocaine begin to break down. They combine to form a chemical called cocaethylene when they are broken down. Cocaethylene has unpleasant effects on the body, including seizures, convulsions, panic attacks, and heart palpitations. In addition, it may increase your risk of suicide.
Cocaethylene makes mixing alcohol and cocaine more dangerous than taking cocaine alone.
Cocaine Overdose Statistics
There has been a significant opioid overdose epidemic in the United States for several years now. However, cocaine poses an even greater health threat to many communities than opioids. There were 15,883 fatal cocaine overdoses in 2019. Cocaine overdose rates have been increasing for more than a decade. Ten years ago, less than 5,000 people died from cocaine overdoses.
Drugs like alcohol and opioids can make cocaine even more dangerous when combined with it. Depressants are the opposite of stimulants in many ways, so they are often combined to counteract the negative side effects of each. Mixing them, however, can lead to an overdose since it can make you think you are not as affected by them as you are.
Overdoses of cocaine have increased in recent years as a result of an increasing influx of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is deadly, even in small amounts. Fentanyl is mixed with a wide range of drugs, including cocaine. The increasing prevalence of fentanyl has resulted in many overdoses without even realizing that they had taken it.
Treatment for Cocaine Overdose
If you suspect someone may be in danger of a cocaine overdose, you should call 911 immediately. It is important to remember that there is no antidote for cocaine overdoses, but medical professionals can manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of death significantly.
The person should sit down and avoid moving while you wait for paramedics. If there are dangerous objects in the immediate area, falls and convulsions can cause injuries. Apply a cold compress to the person if they are experiencing a fever like you would if they were suffering from the flu.
Cocaine addiction can lead to financial ruin and serious health problems. If you or someone you love has a substance abuse disorder, you can work to end active cocaine addiction. Despite the fact that addiction is chronic, a process that meets your individual needs can be used to treat it. Treatment for cocaine addiction should address several needs in your life, including your physical and mental health, your social issues, your legal troubles, and your financial problems.
Look for Addiction Treatment Programs That Address Your Needs
In order to be effective, addiction treatment must also be tailored to your individual needs. Addiction can be complicated, as it comes with other co-occurring issues, such as mental health disorders, past trauma, and health complications.
When you enter an addiction treatment program, you will undergo a medical and clinical assessment to determine the best level of care and therapy options for your individual needs. Your recovery and physical safety will be the top priority in higher levels of care, such as medical detox and inpatient treatment.
In lower levels of care, such as intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment, clinical care will be emphasized, and you will live at home while you attend treatment during the day.