Cocaine overdose can happen to a chronic cocaine user or someone trying it for one night. The only way to prevent overdose is to avoid cocaine. The best way cocaine abusers can stop using the drug is through substance abuse treatment in cocaine rehab. Anyone who uses cocaine or knows someone who is a drug addict should be aware of the symptoms of cocaine overdose.
What Does Cocaine Overdose Feel Like?
Cocaine impacts neurotransmitters and depletes dopamine. Cocaine overdose symptoms can wreak havoc on the central nervous system, as well as the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Depending on the amount of cocaine and level of cocaine toxicity, the physical effects of overdose can make some people feel like they are dying. For example:
- It’s hard to breath and they may gasp for air.
- There is heaviness in the chest and the person may feel like they are having a heart attack.
- Blood pressure may become irregular causing dizziness.
- The body systems go haywire and can render them unconscious.
If someone is mixing cocaine with alcohol or other drugs, there is an even greater risk of overdose that can result in death.
Physical and Psychological Symptoms
Physical effects and symptoms of cocaine overdose may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Increased body temperature
- Faster heart rate
- Irregular breathing
- Bad headache
- Stomach pain
- Loss of consciousness
On a psychological level, symptoms of cocaine overdose can include:
- Extreme confusion
What to Do in the Event of an Overdose
Cocaine overdoses require medical attention. Do not delay in calling 911 if you witness a loved one or friend is in trouble. A cocaine overdose requires an emergency room visit.
Can a Cocaine Overdose Be Reversed?
Acting quickly and getting to an emergency room can save lives. But the symptoms of cocaine overdose present a medical challenge. There is no pharmaceutical cure for the symptoms of cocaine overdose. An overdose requires multiple levels of care. Some of these approaches may have the short-term effect of stopping a person from dying, but there is more that must be done. Saving someone in the midst of an overdose requires restoring:
- Body temperature
- Heart and kidney function
Some people who overdose may have a heart attack or stroke. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, getting someone back from a cocaine overdose often requires:
- Getting the blood flow back to the heart
- Moving an oxygen-rich blood supply to the affected part of the brain
- Ending a seizure
Those who survive may end up on a respirator to help them breathe. Others end up in a coma. Death is also possible during or after an overdose. If the person is addicted to cocaine, they will have withdrawal symptoms that must be managed. If someone survives overdose symptoms and dangers, they will need continued help. This help is available in residential addiction treatment with a reputable treatment provider.
Drugs That Make Cocaine Overdose Worse
Drug and alcohol combinations are dangerous and can make the symptoms of cocaine overdose harder to treat. Substances that can cause severe damage when combined with cocaine include:
- Heroin (called a speedball) and other illicit drugs
- Opioids and prescription drug abuse
Research shows that drug overdose deaths from cocaine mixed with other substances increased dramatically between 1999 and 2017. This is why cocaine addiction treatment is essential.
One of the most dangerous developments in cocaine overdose is the growing trend of dealers who mix drugs and sell cocaine cut with synthetic fentanyl. The presence of the potent opioid, fentanyl, in cocaine is contributing to drug overdose deaths. This is a problem for people using cocaine only occasionally and recreationally, as well with those with signs of cocaine addiction. In most cases, the drug user does not know that fentanyl is in the cocaine.
Taking cocaine mixed with other substances is a rural and big city problem. For example, the CDC reported that New York City had a heavy increase in fentanyl-related deaths, up from 16% in 2015 to 44% in 2016. This caused an increase in deaths from fentanyl-laced cocaine. In addition, drug rehab centers around the country have seen an increase in this dual addiction when people come in for drug treatment.
Recovery Is the Answer
It can feel impossible to reach out for help when you are addicted to cocaine. But recovery is possible, and sobriety is only way to truly prevent cocaine overdose. With the help of the right treatment center, addiction treatment can save a life. There are many treatment options for cocaine drug abusers, from professional medical care to behavioral therapy. Cocaine rehab can help ease the effects of cocaine addiction on your life, health and family.