Cocaine Overdose & Lethal Side Effects

Because we only live, once right? Get drunk, get high, act wild, party all night….

Binging on cocaine can seems like oh-so-much fun when you’re in an “accommodating” crowd away from law enforcement authorities and those people who always told you to stay away from drugs.

“It’s just for one night. It won’t be all that bad. Right?”

Well…that’s where you’re wrong. Binging on cocaine can be very dangerous.

A single cocaine dose could be deadly

Cocaine is not only one of the most widely used drugs in the country but it is also one of the most dangerous drugs in the world as well.

When it comes to drug related emergency room visits in the United States, cocaine comes in second, barely losing out to alcohol which holds the number one spot.

It doesn’t matter how cocaine is taken; whether by injecting, snorting, or smoking, anyone who uses the drug in excess can potentially have an overdose.

Cocaine overdose symptoms can be extremely frightening, especially when they are directly compared to the overdose symptoms of other prolific drugs. While dying from a cocaine overdose is the ultimate worst case scenario, surviving a cocaine overdose can also prove to be extremely traumatic.

If you have survived symptoms of a cocaine overdose, then not only should you count yourself as lucky but you should also use your survival as motivation to finally defeat your cocaine addiction.

Cocaine Overdose symptoms infographic small

The Actual Symptoms of Overdose

More often than not, the initial signs of cocaine overdose symptoms are noticeably present but users continue to abuse the drug anyway.

One of the most common ways that a person may expose themselves to the possibility of a cocaine overdose is by taking a considerable amount of the drug while the effects of their previous hit are still in effect.

Another common way that users can expose themselves to the possibility of a cocaine overdose is by consistently upping the amount of cocaine that they use right after each high has subsided. This is extremely dangerous since this can lead to high amounts of cocaine in your system in just a few hours. Since the euphoric effects that cocaine provides can usually only last between 30 minutes to an hour, people often chase this state of euphoria by taking the drug over and over (in a short period of time) when the high has begun to subside.

For someone who abuses cocaine, losing track of the amount of the drug they have taken is all too easy.

Once overdose symptoms start becoming visible, then it is recommended that medical attention be sought after immediately. Some of the more common symptoms that individuals are urged to be on the lookout for are:

  • Chest pain.
  • Talking excessively.
  • Frenetic levels of energy.
  • Panic attacks, paranoia.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature.
  • Dizziness and/or fainting.
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.
  • Irritability, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia.
  • Twitches or tremors in the arms and legs
  • Headaches, seizures, coma.
  • Extreme mood changes: feelings of exhilaration and depression.

How Is Your Body Affected By A Cocaine Overdose?

The negative effects that cocaine has in its users stems from the way the drug interacts with the various organs and bodily processes.

Lung/Respiratory Problems

While snorting cocaine and other harmful substances can damage the inside of the nose and also the nasal cavity, a cocaine overdose can also have far more dramatic negative effects on your lungs and respiratory system.

Pneumothorax – which refers to the literally collapse of a lung or both lungs – is one of the serious respiratory issues that can develop as a result of a cocaine overdose. Acute bronchospasms and other various respiratory issues are also relatively common in patients that suffer from cocaine overdose symptoms.

Last but not least, while injecting cocaine might seem like the last delivery method that you would expect to affect the user’s respiratory system, you should be aware of the fact that it can lead to a blood clot (thrombus) developing in your lungs.

Cocaine overdose symptoms

Heart/Cardiac Problems

Cardiac issues and heart related problems are what most people will think about first when the topic of cocaine overdose comes up – more specifically heart attacks.

First, it should be noted that using cocaine will almost always result in some resultant effect on your arteries, veins, and the rest of your circulatory system. As more and more cocaine is used in a relatively short period of time, then this effect is multiplied.

Tightness in your chest, intense chest pains, and concentrated pressure in your chest, are all initial signs of developing heart issues related to a cocaine overdose. These issues are usually caused the constriction of the coronary arteries which deliver blood to your heart.

Once this happens, your heart starts to become more and more deprived of oxygen and blood – the rate at which this happens depends on factors, such as if you are engaging in strenuous activities (your activity level) or your body weight to fat ratio.

When your heart is deprived of oxygen and blood, it will start to overwork itself in a futile effort to achieve normalcy. No matter if the person who is abusing cocaine is otherwise healthy, this strain on their heart is what can eventually lead to experiencing a heart attack or a stroke.

If the cocaine abuser has preexisting heart conditions, then quite understandably they are at a far greater risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack when using the drug.

Lastly, death has been known to suddenly occur as a result of irregular heart rhythms caused by a cocaine overdose.

Types Of Treatment Programs

Luxury treatment programs offer a wide array of luxury amenities, as well as resort-like facilities and services. This helps to not only counterbalance some aspects of the addiction treatment that is provided but also aid in the rehabilitation process as well.

Professional help with cocaine addiction

Executive treatment programs are very similar to luxury treatment programs; however, they also function to accommodate professionals who need to frequently remain active in their workplace.

Standard rehabilitation programs do not have the luxury amenities or the resort-like facilities and services that luxury treatment programs and executive treatment programs offer. This means that standard rehabilitation programs are more affordable; however, they usually still offer relatively high quality rehabilitation treatment services.

Getting The Necessary Treatment For Your Addiction

If you or a loved one is fighting a war with a cocaine addiction, then it is important to know that there is professional aid out there that can help you fight your battles against cocaine.

While there is help to be found after cocaine overdose symptoms start to become visible, getting help before that happens is always the better choice.

If you are the survivor of a cocaine overdose, then use this as motivation to fuel your dedication to overcome your cocaine addiction.

At Blvd Treatment Centers, our doors are always open to individuals who need help fighting their cocaine addiction. Cocaine overdose symptoms can be extremely horrible to deal with, especially without the help of skilled rehabilitation professionals.

Don’t let your cocaine dependence rule your life any longer, contact us today and take your life back from the clutches of addiction!  

cocaine overdose symptoms infographic

Sources

  1. Koppel, B. S., Samkoff, L., Daras, M. (1996). Relation of cocaine use to seizures and epilepsy. Epilepsia, 37(9), 875.
  2. Kugelmass, A. D., Oda, A., Monahan, K., Cabral, C., Ware, J. A. (1993). Activation of human platelets by cocaine. Circulation, 88(3), 876.
  3. Drug addiction. Mayo Clinic.
  4. What are the short-term effects of cocaine use? National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  5. Hollander, J. E., Hoffman, R. S., Gennis, P., Fairweather, P., DiSano, M. J., Schumb, D. A., et al. (1994). Prospective multicenter evaluation of cocaine-associated chest pain.  Acad Emerg Med., 1(4), 330.
  6. Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).
  7. Cone, E. J. (1995). Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of cocaine. J Anal Toxicol, 19(6), 459.
  8. Pecha, R. E., Prindiville, T., Pecha, B. S., Camp, R., Carroll, M., Trudeau, W. (1996). Association of cocaine and methamphetamine use with giant gastroduodenal ulcersAm J. Gastroenterol., 91(12), 2523.
  9. Goldfrank, L. R., Flomenbaum, N. E., Hoffman, J. R., et al. (2006). Goldfrank’s Toxicologic Emergencies, 8th E. McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division.
  10. Libman, R. B., Masters, S. R., de Paola, A., Mohr, J. P. (1993). Transient monocular blindness associated with cocaine abuseNeurology, 43(1), 228.