Cocaine Overdose Facts and Statistics

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  1. Symptoms and Signs of a Cocaine Overdose
  2. What Causes a Cocaine Overdose?
  3. When to Get Medical Help / What to Do in an Emergency
  4. How to Avoid an Overdose
  5. Cocaine Overdose Treatment
  6. Recovering from Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms and Dangers

A cocaine overdose should be considered life-threatening and medical assistance should be sought immediately. Various physiological and psychological signs may be witnessed in the event of an overdose.
Cocaine Overdose Symptoms and Dangers

Symptoms and Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

A cocaine overdose can result in permanent physical damage to the:

  • Brain.
  • Heart.
  • Circulatory system.
  • Muscular system.
  • Kidneys.

Along with physiological signs of overdose, dangerous psychological and behavioral symptoms also occur.

In the event of psychological and behavioral symptoms, the user's safety may be compromised along with others in the immediate environment.

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Physical Signs

Physical indications of an overdose include:

  • Agitation.
  • Tremors.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling faint.
  • Chest pains.

  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Altered breathing.
  • Increased body temperature.

  • Elevated pulse rate.
  • Profound confusion.
  • Seizures.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Death (in extreme cases).

Psychological and Behavioral Signs

Psychological and behavioral signs of overdose include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Panic.
  • Altered perception of reality (hallucinations and/or delusions).
  • Paranoia.

  • Delirium.
  • Threats made to others.
  • Compromised ability to keep self and others safe.

These are considered signs of a psychiatric emergency and require immediate medical attention as well.

What Causes a Cocaine Overdose?

The causes of cocaine overdose vary, but chief among them is compulsive use. Compulsive use involves an overwhelming urge to use more cocaine than is intended and to use for longer periods than intended.

These compulsions lead to toxicity (poisoning) during binges, a practice that is common among cocaine users.

Binge use can extend over a period of days, compromising physical and psychological stability. Severe brain alterations occur along with interrupted basic needs such as for sleep, food and hydration.

Some differences in overdose potential occur according to the method of use, but serious and fatal overdoses can occur with all methods, including:

  • Smoking.
  • Injecting.
  • Intranasal use.

An abrupt and life-threatening overdose reaction can occur just after use or within minutes of use. In general, the quicker cocaine is absorbed by the body, the greater the chance of overdose.
Mixing cocaine with other drugs is common and increases the risk of harmful complications, including overdose.
Some with co-occurring, partially treated or untreated psychiatric conditions attempt to self-medicate with heavy cocaine use.

Others suffering from chronic depression and PTSD report symptom relief when using.

Also, in some cases, schizophrenia patients report relief from symptoms of the illness as well as an alleviation from some side effects of anti-psychotic medicine. All such users are at high risk for overdose.

As with other drugs of addiction, the body develops a tolerance to cocaine use and creates an increasing need for more use (amount and/or frequency) to achieve the desired intoxication effects.

Over time, physical tolerance for cocaine continues to progress with increased use.

Overdose results when the body is unable to endure the 'needed' dose for desired intoxication effects. Therefore, it is important to address the causes of problematic cocaine use to avoid negative effects such as overdose.

To evaluate your options for cocaine overdose treatment, please call us at 1-888-993-3112Who Answers? to speak to one of our experienced treatment advisors today.

When to Get Medical Help / What to Do in an Emergency

A cocaine overdose requires emergency medical attention through 911 or immediate access to an emergency room.

Quick response can mean the difference between survival and fatality, and the prevention of serious debilitating damage.

Help should be sought at the first signs of overdose. Apart from the potential for direct physiologic toxicity, the psychological and behavioral changes that cocaine can elicit can

also place the user at great risk.

Disorientation, psychosis, paranoia and violence can result and endanger both the user and others.

Overdose victims sustain injury and are homicide victims as a result of disorganized and aggressive behavior.

Emergency assistance should be sought in these cases for the victim's safety as well as that of others.

How to Avoid an Overdose

Get Help Today Find a treatment center to help you with your cocaine addiction today. Mixing cocaine with other drugs (poly-drug use) is common and increases the risk of harmful complications, including overdose. This should be avoided at all costs.

During intoxication, for example, users 'take the edge off' cocaine's stimulation with alcohol, but also increase the blood's content of cocaine up to 30% when drinking.

Furthermore, the metabolism of cocaine in the presence of alcohol is known to result in formation of an especially cardiotoxic compound known as cocaethylene.

Another dangerous combination is the 'speedball' (heroin and cocaine). Meant to ease both cocaine's stimulation and heroin's sedation, the 'speedball' components work at biological odds with one another.

For example, cocaine increases the need for oxygen and heroin reduces respiration.

Additionally, efforts to ease cocaine's 'crash' can involve dangerous amounts of sedatives as well as a mix of sedatives and alcohol, which has great overdose potential in itself.

Cocaine Overdose Treatment

Emergency medical care treats the potentially fatal 'poisoning' (toxicity) that has occurred. Treatment seeks to stabilize basic life processes, including:

  • Respiration.
  • Heart functioning.
  • Kidney functioning.
  • Body temperature.

Sedatives ease the physical and psychological distress of panic, hallucinations, delusions and agitation.

Additional types of medication may be administered to treat other pathological effects of cocaine overdose, but there is no actual 'antidote' for cocaine toxicity.

Quick response can mean the difference between survival and fatality, and the prevention of serious debilitating damage.

Efforts are made to prevent death or serious, chronic damage to the brain and organs due to complications such as:

  • Abnormal cardiac and circulatory functioning.
  • Hyperthermia.

Any of these can require extreme measures. For example, hyperthermia (high body temperature) can cause body temperatures of over 120 degrees and emergency cooling measures are needed.

Some overdose victims need mechanical assistance for respiration and/or CPR and other cardiac interventions. Resuscitation efforts can be intense and prolonged.

Placement of an IV line can be essential to administer sedatives and other medications, in addition to providing fluids and glucose repletion, as dehydration and blood sugar crises are a common end result of many overdose situations.

Physical restraint may be necessary for the safety of the the overdose victim and others.

At times, physical restraint is necessary due to a dangerous level of agitation that endangers the overdose victim and others.

Constant monitoring and medical support are needed even as symptoms are reduced. Continued psychiatric treatment may be necessary, even after the physical crisis has been successfully managed.

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Recovering from Cocaine Overdose

Addiction treatment is needed to prevent further use during overdose recovery. Cocaine cravings are problematic and continuing use is to be expected if recovery efforts are avoided.

Psychological and physical effects of overdose may also need further treatment or follow-up. Fatigue and an overall debilitated state are to be expected in all cases.

Among post-overdose problems are psychiatric issues, including:

Dual diagnosis care may be needed in which both addiction and mental health issues are treated simultaneously.

Long-Term Recovery

Long-term recovery from overdose requires individualized care so that you are able to overcome the compulsions associated with cocaine use and develop healthier alternatives to using.

Assessing treatment and care options can be overwhelming, but don't worry, our compassionate treatment support advisors are available 24/7 and can help you evaluate cocaine overdose recovery and cocaine abuse treatment options that are suitable for you.

Call today at 1-888-993-3112Who Answers?.


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