Symptoms Of Cocaine Intoxication

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Cocaine abuse can lead to cocaine intoxication, a dangerous condition during which a person may overdose on cocaine. Cocaine intoxication is a serious condition that can be fatal and requires emergency medicine.

Cocaine Intoxication

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that has the ability to cause dangerous levels of intoxication.

While cocaine has use in health care when local anesthetics are needed, it is more commonly abused as crack cocaine or in powder form by snorting and other forms of ingestion.

Cocaine intoxication occurs when someone is no longer just mentally high from cocaine, but when they’re feeling dangerous physical effects of cocaine use from high levels of the drug.

What Causes Cocaine Intoxication?

Cocaine intoxication can be caused by taking too much cocaine and also by taking overly concentrated forms of cocaine.

It is also possible to experience cocaine intoxication when cocaine is mixed with other illicit drugs or substances, such as alcohol or another stimulant such as methamphetamine.

Cocaine intoxication is also possible when cocaine is cut with other agents and consumed in an adulterated form. This is done by the dealer to increase profit, and the consumer is unaware.

Some people may also be more at risk for cocaine intoxication if they have pre-existing heart conditions or high blood pressure.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Cocaine Intoxication?

Cocaine intoxication is a life-threatening situation, so it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms a person can experience both physically and mentally.

How Cocaine Intoxication Affects The Body

Cocaine, like other stimulants, causes a person’s heart to work much harder than it is used to. It also causes ischemia (lack of blood supply) and vasoconstriction (constricted blood vessels).

A number of heart issues can arise during cocaine intoxication, especially if the person has any pre-existing heart conditions.

Side effects of cocaine intoxication in the body may include:

  • irregular heartbeat
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased body temperature
  • chest pain
  • lightheadedness
  • fever
  • rapid or restricted breathing
  • rhabdomyolysis
  • venous thrombosis
  • pulmonary hemorrhage
  • acute coronary syndrome

How Cocaine Intoxication Affects The Brain

Use of cocaine stimulates the dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin receptors in the central nervous system.

On a neurological level, it is these neurotransmitters which are responsible for pleasure, reward, motivation, mood, and wakefulness.

A person who is high on cocaine may feel pretty good, but people who use cocaine and experience intoxication may find their brains overstimulated in an unpleasant way.

Side effects of cocaine intoxication in the brain may include:

  • euphoria
  • excitement
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • jumbled speech
  • psychosis

What Are The Treatments For Cocaine Intoxication?

Cocaine intoxication should be considered a medical emergency. In cases that involve severe cocaine-induced psychosis, sedation may be required.

Treating cocaine toxicity will usually begin with a toxicology report to determine the extent of the intoxication. Vitals are closely monitored during this time.

Cocaine intoxication is sometimes treated with medications, including benzodiazepines and beta-blockers. Breathing support and IV fluids are given as well when needed.

Is Cocaine Overdose The Same As Intoxication?

A cocaine overdose and intoxication are similar conditions.

However, being intoxicated by cocaine does not necessarily mean a person will overdose, while someone who is overdosing on cocaine will be intoxicated.

Being able to recognize the signs of cocaine intoxication could potentially save a person’s life.

Fortunately, cocaine-related overdose deaths are not as common as those with other drugs such as opioids.

Can Cocaine Intoxication Be Fatal?

Cocaine intoxication can be fatal and requires a trip to the local emergency department. Many people who enter the ER with cocaine toxicity are experiencing tachycardia and hypertension.

When someone dies from a cocaine overdose, the cause of death is usually cardiac arrest (myocardial infarction), stroke, or hyperthermia.

Even when cocaine intoxication is not fatal, it can still result in severe cardiovascular complications, some of which may be permanent.

Permanent conditions which can arise from cocaine intoxication include arrhythmias, which are irregular heartbeats.

How Is Cocaine Intoxication Linked To Withdrawal?

A person who gets high from cocaine frequently may find themselves becoming dependent on the drug and developing an addiction to it.

When someone has reached the point where they are dependent on or addicted to cocaine, they are likely in for an uncomfortable withdrawal period when they decide to stop.

Further, a person who is dependent on cocaine may find themselves taking higher and higher doses in order to avoid withdrawal, increasing their risk of intoxication each time.

Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine may include:

  • intense cravings
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • increased appetite
  • paranoia
  • depression
  • fever
  • irritability
  • trouble concentrating
  • suicidal thoughts

Treatment Programs For Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can take over a person’s entire life and also be life-threatening, so it’s essential to get help if you know someone who is living with a cocaine use disorder.

Treatment services for cocaine addiction will vary at each treatment facility, but you can generally expect to find evidence-based treatments combined with therapy and counseling.

Cocaine addiction treatment may include:

  • medical detox
  • outpatient treatment
  • residential treatment
  • 12-step meetings
  • peer support groups
  • court-ordered rehab programs
  • family counseling
  • evidence-based therapies
  • medication management

Find A Substance Abuse Treatment Center Today

If you have any further questions about substance abuse or the treatment of cocaine intoxication, reach out to us on our helpline.

It is never too early or too late to begin addiction recovery, and many treatment facilities are ready to welcome new clients immediately.


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Bedrock Recovery Center


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Ohio Recovery Center


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