Cocaine psychosis is a real concern for users of the drug. The symptoms can range from aggregation and anger to hallucinations and paranoia.
We have all heard stories relating to those stand-out behaviours that make us wonder what the causes could be. Or what could be worse than an unpredictable mind? That is where the real terror lies.
We have heard many stories over the years, and most tend to be grossly exaggerated, including the examples given above.
The truth is there are people with severe addictions to severe substances that influence the central nervous system, with wide-ranging effects on the brain and body, including cocaine.
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that comes as a white powder. Most people take it by snorting it and rubbing it on their gums.
It is also possible to smoke or inject cocaine in its rock form. Which is known as crack cocaine.
Cocaine’s addictive qualities are made more intense because of how transient the effect is, which can cause people to use it more often in short spaces of time, which, over time, can cause changes in the brain that may affect how it functions. Frequent usage will often lead to cocaine-induced psychosis.
Cocaine, also known as “coke”, is the most potent among all naturally occurring stimulants extracted from the coca bush leaves. Once the extracting process is complete, somebody can cut the extractions into powder or rocks, known as crack cocaine, ready to sell on the streets.
However, the description above is the cleanest possible process for producing cocaine. The cocaine bought in the UK is often mixed with cheaper ingredients that can emulate the stimulating experience, meaning you do not know what you are snorting or smoking.
It is important to remember that a drug dealer is in it for the money, so it is in their interests to make as much profit as possible, even if it means mixing cocaine with cheaper ingredients.
Cocaine psychosis is a temporary situation caused by excessive drug use over a long period. When the user has abused excessive cocaine, their brain will lose the ability to think clearly or function properly. In other words, the body cannot process the toxicity levels of cocaine that the person took. As a result, the mind loses its ability to maintain the perceptive field that it does so normally.
Paranoia is a common trait associated with cocaine psychosis. Anyone who abuses cocaine will experience heightened paranoia, so it can be difficult for anyone in your immediate circle to tell whether the current paranoia is just an after-effect of the cocaine use or if there is another, more urgent issue, like long-term paranoia.
Cocaine-induced paranoia may only last a few hours, in which case the severity of the situation is low, though it is crucial to keep a close eye on the person, as they could still pose severe risks to the user and those around them.
Unfortunately, such paranoia may also last many weeks or months, leading to a chronic psychiatric disorder called cocaine psychosis.
Cocaine psychosis may require frequent hospitalizations, intervention, sustained medical care and long-term support, assuming the person makes a full recovery.
Many dangers can come from the experience of cocaine psychosis. For example, anyone experiencing a state of psychosis may not understand what is real and what is not, which is why they are more likely to make irrational decisions concerning their own lives and the lives of others.
The blurry line between what is real and what isn’t will often bring someone to commit murder or encourage them to be violent towards others and themselves.
It is prevalent for those who experience cocaine psychosis to hallucinate friends being foes or hear something or someone talking about them threateningly or disrespectfully.
Cocaine psychosis can be very similar to schizophrenia symptoms. There are more correlations than just symptoms:
In an extensive survey of psychiatric patients, almost half of the individuals with schizophrenia presented with substance abuse behaviour, while 17% of those used cocaine. This rate remains consistent in hospitalized patients with schizophrenia, with roughly 20% abusing cocaine.
Cocaine psychosis tends to cause the user to act out towards others due to the hallucinations and paranoia they are experiencing. So if you are around someone you know who you think is having a psychotic episode, then assume at that moment that they don’t know you.
The available treatment depends on the severity of your use. Cocaine psychosis is a severe condition and can only be treated within a hospital setting.
Again, depending on your current state, recovery from cocaine psychosis can take hours, days, weeks or even months for the symptoms of the psychosis to disperse.
In many cases, the psychosis spells only last for a short time. Along with proper medical intervention and round-the-clock monitoring to ensure your safety and provide behavioural intervention.
In some cases, cocaine addicts that experience cocaine psychosis will suffer from long-term symptoms indefinitely. However, the margins between long and short-term psychosis are immeasurable, so frequent or long-term use of cocaine is risky.
If you are reading this, and you feel that you or someone close is showing symptoms of cocaine psychosis, our team can advise you on getting them help as quickly as possible.
Causes – Psychosis – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Cocaine-Induced Psychosis – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics Substance Use Psychosis Julia Sasiadek, Tony P. George, in Psychotic Disorders, 2021