Cocaine addiction

1:  Cocaine Addiction: Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

People who use cocaine regularly are likely to overdose. The first step in recognizing the need for treatment in this situation is recognizing the signs and symptoms of an overdose.



According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine overdose occurs when too much cocaine is used, or too pure cocaine is used, and either presents serious symptoms that may be life threatening. One such symptom is seizures. Cocaine affects brain chemistry and function which can cause serious damage wreak havoc on multiple body systems.

Vomiting and Nausea

Severe nausea and vomiting are also common in people that are suffering from a cocaine overdose. Their perceptions and metabolism speed up to such a high degree that they are no longer capable of maintaining equilibrium. Also, cocaine is a toxic substance and people that use it experience symptoms of poisoning, particularly during an overdose.

Increased Sweating and High Temperature

Metabolism is the rate at which the body processes various chemicals and compounds. When you overdose on cocaine this process speeds up to dangerous levels, resulting in very high body temperature. In an effort to cool the body, you will sweat very heavily. High body temperature can cause severe organ and brain damage. It may also lead to death.

Heart Palpitations and Heart Attack

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant. This means that it interacts with the parts of the brain responsible for bodily function, and increases the rate at which they do so. According to the University of Southern California, the increased rate of heart function results in arrhythmias that may lead to cardiac collapse or a heart attack.

Avoiding Overdose with Treatment

You can avoid a cocaine overdose by simply seeking addiction treatment immediately. Once you enter into a cocaine addiction treatment program, you will learn to recognize and avoid the triggers that cause you to use cocaine. When you learn this, you can significantly reduce your overdose risk.

2:  Cocaine Addiction: Overdose and Toxicity

When you suffer from a cocaine addiction, there is the very real possibility of overdosing or developing cocaine toxicity. It is extremely important to know how to deal with this if you are an addict or close to someone who is an addict. The more cocaine you use, the more likely you will wind up in an overdose situation.

Recognize the Signs of an Overdose or Toxicity

The signs of a cocaine overdose are very simple to recognize. These signs include:

•    Seizures
•    Nausea and uncontrollable vomiting
•    Cardiac arrest
•    Unusually high temperature with no other apparent cause
•    Signs of a stroke

These signs may occur all together or you might only have one or two of them.

What to do First

If you or someone you know is overdosing, then call emergency services immediately. Then according to Medline Plus, you should:

•    Check for breathing and begin CPR if necessary
•    Administer first aid for seizures, if they are present
•    Monitor the person, or your own, vital signs until emergency services arrives
Do not:
•    Put yourself in danger
•    Try to reason with the person overdosing
•    Argue or give opinions while rendering aid

These are basic overdose steps. You want to make sure the person is comfortable and that help is coming.

What Emergency Services or the Emergency Room will do
According to Medscape, emergency personnel will:

•    Render first aid
•    Conduct a variety of lab tests including CBC, pregnancy, glucose, and toxicology
•    Take x-rays
•    Ensure cardiac stability

All of these are steps to ensure that you are safe and all problems are dealt with. Most of the time, they will also recommend detoxification and treatment for your addiction. If you or someone you care about overdoses, they need addiction treatment. Casual cocaine use rapidly becomes a serious problem when it reaches the overdose stage of addiction.

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance and it is very easy to overdose on it. Many who try it rapidly become tolerant and therefore need more and more. At this point treatment is the only way to avoid overdose.

3:  Cocaine Addiction, Withdrawal, and Treatment

Cocaine is a very powerful stimulant made from the coca leaf, which is found growing naturally in South America. While its addictive properties were unknown, cocaine was widely used in medications, to control pain, and to reduce fatigue. It is currently considered one of the most addictive drugs there is.

What Causes Cocaine Addiction?

The actual cause of cocaine addiction is a subject of wide speculation. According to Science Daily, some of the causes of cocaine addiction are:

•    Chemical changes in the brain
•    Physical changes to several portions of the brain
•    Genetic predispositions to addiction
•    Trial at an early age
•    Hormone imbalances in the brain

Scientists consider all of these as causes of cocaine addiction.

Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal, although rarely deadly is extremely unpleasant. According to Medline Plus, the major symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are:

•    Agitation
•    Restlessness
•    Irritability
•    Depression
•    Vivid unpleasant dreams
•    Slowing of activities
•    Slowing of the metabolism
•    General unease and discomfort
•    Fatigue
•    Anxiety
•    Cravings

One major issue of cocaine withdrawal is that the psychological symptoms of withdrawal may last for months. Many describe cravings, depression, and anxiety as long term symptoms of withdrawal.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Although there are no pharmacological treatments approved for treating cocaine addiction, there are some drugs that show promise. These medications are being tested for this purpose. Most cocaine addiction treatments are behavioral in nature. These treatments include:

•    Cognitive behavioral therapy
•    Dialectized behavioral therapy
•    Group supportive counseling
•    Contingency management
•    Therapeutic communities
•    Motivational enhancement
•    12 step facilitation therapy

These therapies when combined into an individualized program are successful in treating a cocaine addiction. To take advantage of these therapies, you will need an addiction treatment center. You can find all of these therapies in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Which you choose depends on your addiction and life circumstances.