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Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine is an illegal but popular stimulant that floods your brain with dopamine, creating an intense high. However, it also comes with serious risks and the potential for overdose. In the U.S., cocaine is the third most abused drug. Around 15% of Americans have tried it, and 2% used it in the past year.

Heavy users can spend up to $50,000 annually on their habit. Cocaine sends over 350,000 people to the emergency room annually, accounting for over half of federal drug-related jail time. Tragically, cocaine overdoses claim nearly 16,000 lives annually in America, contributing to many more deaths.

The risks of cocaine are very real. If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, seek help immediately.

How Much Cocaine Does it Take to Overdose?

Cocaine doses typically range from 30 – 70 mg, but users use more and increase their doses above 1 g as they develop tolerance. The minimum dose of cocaine considered lethal is 1.2 g, but users with hypersensitivity to cocaine have suffered fatal overdoses from as little as 30 mg.

In some rare cases of remarkably high tolerance, cocaine addicts have reported using 5 g of cocaine daily, which would prove fatal for most individuals.

Several factors impact overdose risk:

  • Tolerance: The higher the tolerance, the more cocaine is needed for a high and the greater the overdose risk.
  • Purity: The higher the purity, the more potent the cocaine and the greater the overdose risk.
  • Mixing Drugs: When cocaine is combined with other drugs like alcohol, fentanyl or heroin, overdose risk skyrockets.
  • ROA: Smoking or injecting cocaine produces a faster, more intense high than snorting, increasing overdose risk.


Man Struggling with Cocaine Addiction


What Happens During a Cocaine Overdose?

During an overdose, cocaine drastically impacts your body and brain functions. As the stimulant effects intensify, your body goes into overdrive. Your heart races and pounds, sending blood pressure to dangerous levels. This can lead to heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest.

Your body loses the ability to regulate temperature, causing hyperthermia. This life-threatening fever needs emergency cooling and hydration. Cocaine disrupts brain signals, triggering seizures, tremors, and muscle spasms. These violent reactions require immediate medical help to avoid injury or choking.

Cocaine constricts blood vessels in the lungs and alters respiratory centers in the brain. This can lead to difficulty breathing, gasping for air or respiratory failure.

Early Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

Early on, the signs of a cocaine overdose can be subtle. Pay close attention if someone has used cocaine recently.

  • Rapid Heart Rate: A heart rate over 120 beats per minute can indicate an overdose. This is caused by cocaine stimulating the heart. An irregular or abnormal heart rhythm may also occur, known as arrhythmia.
  • Anxiety and Restlessness: Feelings of extreme anxiety, agitation, restlessness, and irritability are common with too much cocaine in the system. The person may appear fidgety, have dilated pupils, and sweat excessively.
  • High Blood Pressure: Cocaine causes blood pressure to rise significantly, which can lead to a hypertensive crisis if not treated. A person’s blood pressure may reach dangerously high levels, putting them at risk of a stroke, heart attack or other organ damage.
  • Severe Headache: An intense headache, especially at the base of the skull, can be a sign of a cocaine overdose and requires emergency care. This can indicate a dangerous increase in blood pressure or a bleed in the brain.

Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, paranoia or psychosis may also occur. The only way to reverse the effects of a cocaine overdose is to get emergency medical help immediately by calling 911.



Physical Signs of Cocaine Overdose

Your body shows clear signs when there’s too much cocaine in your system. Some of the most common physical signs of a cocaine overdose include:

  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Profuse sweating
  • Flushed skin
  • Racing and irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures

Psychological Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

When someone has overdosed on cocaine, extreme psychological symptoms can manifest.

  • Extreme agitation and aggression: The overdose can cause a spike in energy, anxiety, and irritability. You may act violently or aggressively towards others without reason. Uncontrollable rage and panic are common.
  • Confusion: Your thinking becomes disordered and frenzied. You have trouble concentrating or making sense of your surroundings. This delirium and perplexity can bring on feelings of dread and disorientation.
  • Paranoia can lead to acute anger or fear responses: Intense suspicion and distrust in others arise. You believe you are in danger of persecution, even without obvious threats. These delusions of persecution often provoke hostility, terror or violence.
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations: You see, hear or perceive things that aren’t there. Auditory illusions like hearing voices are frequent. Visual hallucinations involve seeing people, objects or lights that don’t exist.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Treatment for cocaine addiction typically involves detoxification, therapy, and aftercare. The first step is seeking help and having access to ongoing support. Support groups, sober living homes, and counseling help solidify lessons learned in rehab. Making lifestyle changes, avoiding triggers, and accountability to others help you stay on the path to recovery.

Call us today at 1 (888) 592-7931. At MD Home Detox, we care about you. Cocaine addiction treatment can help you overcome your addiction and start living a happy, healthy life without relying on cocaine. There is hope—recovery is possible.

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