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There are plenty of news reports about opioid overdose, but what is cocaine poisoning, and is it very common?
As with all drugs, when too much cocaine is consumed in a short span of time, the substance becomes toxic to the system. Cocaine poisoning or overdose is a medical emergency and requires swift intervention. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of cocaine poisoning.
About Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
Cocaine is derived form the leaves of a coca plant in South America, which produces stimulant effects. Because of its high potential for abuse, cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance.
After several years of declining use, cocaine abuse has been on the upswing in recent years. Cocaine is a powerful drug that can result in addiction and even overdose. In fact, incidents that lead to E.R visits represent about 40% of all substance-related cases.
Cocaine is a fast-acting drug that produces a short-lived high. For partiers who wish to extend the high, multiple doses are often consumed. The body has trouble processing the stimulant, and toxicity may occur.
Addiction takes hold when tolerance increases, causing the need for more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Withdrawal symptoms are hard to tolerate, which also prompts the person to seek more of the drug. The result is the cycle of addiction that leads to compulsive cocaine use.
Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine can be ingested in many ways. These include snorting the powder, rubbing it on the teeth, injecting a liquefied form, and smoking it. Smoking cocaine refers to the use of crack cocaine in a pipe.
Cocaine use affects the brain’s reward system via the drug’s dopamine effects. The desired effects include more energy, heightened focus, euphoria, less need to sleep, and a boost in confidence. The brain records these as pleasant effects that should be repeated.
With chronic use of cocaine, however, signs of abuse and addiction become evident. These signs are hard to hide, as they include an array of symptoms. The main symptoms of cocaine addiction include:
- Manic mood.
- Sudden weight loss.
- Sleeping less; insomnia.
- Muscle tics.
- Cocaine cravings.
- Engaging in risky behaviors.
- Serious money problems.
- Suicidal thoughts.
What is Cocaine Poisoning?
When someone consumes a toxic amount of cocaine, no matter how it is ingested, they are at risk of overdose. Cocaine poisoning is a serious health event that may result in death. While cocaine can cause damage to several organs, it is heart damage that is the most serious.
The features of cocaine poisoning include:
- Chest pain.
- Altered mental state.
- Blurred vision.
- Mental confusion.
- Profuse sweating.
In recent years, the cocaine supply has been impacted by fentanyl, which has only increased the cocaine overdose deaths. The person has no knowledge that the cocaine contains this deadly synthetic opioid.
Cocaine overdose is treated first by the use of sedatives to help lower the heart rate and blood pressure. The person is also treated with measures to bring down body temperature caused by cocaine-induced overheating.
Adverse Health Effects Caused By Cocaine Abuse
You don’t have to overdose on cocaine to experience serious health problems. Chronic cocaine use can result in a long list of adverse effects, including:
- Heart damage.
- Brain damage.
- Kidney damage.
- Cognitive impairment.
- Hepatitis (from needle use).
- Nasal tissue and cartilage damage.
Poly-substance abuse is common among cocaine addicts, especially alcohol. Cocaine and alcohol use together can lead to enhanced damage to the heart and other organs. Other drugs used with cocaine include heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy.
Cocaine Detox and Withdrawal
When someone has acquired a cocaine habit that is out of control, they should be encouraged to enroll in a treatment program. A cocaine addiction is very hard to combat on your own.
You will first begin the recovery process with detox and withdrawal. This is the phase of treatment that marks the end of cocaine use when the body adjusts to the absence of the drug. How difficult the detox process depends on how long the person was using cocaine and what their usual daily dosing was.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Muscle aches.
- Slowed thinking.
- Feeling agitated.
- Sleep problems, insomnia or hypersomnia.
- Intense nightmares.
- Feeling restless.
- Increased appetite.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Throughout the duration of withdrawal, the detox team will provide meds to help offset some of the discomforts. Mental health support is also provided, as cocaine detox can trigger these issues as well.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
After the detox is complete, you will begin a treatment program that is tailored for cocaine addiction recovery. Treatment is highly focused on behavioral therapies, as these help you make lasting changes in how you respond to cravings.
A well-rounded treatment program includes the following elements:
CBT. CBT changes how you respond to triggers like cocaine cravings or other triggers that prompt cocaine use. CBT helps you identify your triggers and how you can react in a more positive way. Changing these thought patterns helps you change your behaviors.
Contingency Management. CM is also a behavior therapy that shapes new actions through a rewards system. The rewards may be gifts, privileges, or vouchers that are offered for abstaining from cocaine.
Holistic methods. Holistic methods address the mind, body, and spirit. Methods like yoga, meditation, and journaling can provide new insights, and also help you learn how to relax. You will be counseled to improve overall wellness by eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, and managing stress.
12-Step program. A.A.’s 12-Step program is woven into the program curriculum.
If you wondered, “What is cocaine poisoning,” you now know how dangerous it is.. If you or a loved one struggles with cocaine abuse, reach out today for help.
LifeSync Malibu Treatment Center for Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
LifeSync Malibu offers luxury addiction treatment for individuals with substance use disorders, including cocaine. Our treatment model uses a multi-modal approach that blends evidence-based therapies with holistic methods. Learn more about the program by calling (866) 491-4426.