Dangers of Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine is one of the most infamous drugs known for its short-term euphoria. Up until the 80s, cocaine wasn’t seen as harmful. However, things changed fast after cases of cocaine overdose soared. The drug is a powerful stimulant synthesized from the coca plant. It can increase alertness and response to both internal and external stimuli. However, its profile of adverse health effects, including death from OD, is top concerns. Can you overdose on cocaine? What are the dangers? Can you recover from an overdose? We answer these questions and more below.
What Is Cocaine Overdose?
According to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), an overdose occurs when you take more cocaine than your body can safely process. This can be anything from a few milligrams to large quantities. It all depends on your tolerance, immunity, underlying medical conditions, and other factors. Taking cocaine together with opiates and other drugs also increases the chance of an overdose.
Symptoms of an Overdose
Although the drug has several negative impacts on your health, an overdose is an immediate threat. Overdose symptoms are easy to sight in most cases. According to the American Addiction Center, they include:
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
Cocaine overdose also has psychological effects, including paranoia, panic, anxiety, and delirium. There’s no defined safe quantity of cocaine. Overdose can happen to anyone who takes any amount of the powerful stimulant. Most people characterize elevated heart rate, which increases the likelihood of heart attacks.
Dangers of an Overdose
Death is the most significant threat to cocaine users. According to NIDA, 2006 recorded the highest deaths from cocaine overdoses, when 7,000 people died from complications arising from an overdose. The number declined in the following years, averaging at 4,000 deaths per year. Apart from death, an overdose can result in heart attacks, seizures and strokes, which can do great damage to the body without resulting in death.
Overdose complications can also influence the quality of life you live upon recovery. Cocaine users can also suffer various neurological effects ranging from headaches to coma. Other adverse effects Gastrointestinal issues, disturbed heart rate, and addiction. Cocaine is also a gateway drug that exposes you to opiates and other harmful substances.
What to Do Following A Cocaine Overdose
Time is a crucial factor. Those around should recognize the overdose symptoms and find medical help as soon as possible. You can do this by dialing 911 and reporting the overdose incident. Cocaine overdose implies the intoxication is beyond what the body can take. Although taking high amounts of cocaine leaves you vulnerable to overdose, studies have shown you can overdose from a few hundred milligrams. It depends on individual tolerance and the quality of the cocaine you take. The only solution for overdose is professional healthcare from licensed doctors. The victim will go through a detox to prevent further impairment and damage to body organs.
Preventing Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine users can manifest various symptoms. The most common, as identified by the University of Arizona, include:
- Constantly running nose and frequent nosebleeds
- Dilated pupils
- Paranoia and increased aggression
- Unusual excitement and overconfidence
All cocaine users face these risks. However, those addicted tend to binge and take excessive amounts, directly linked to a higher chance of overdose. Prolonged cocaine users can express apathetic behavior, depression, excessive sleepiness, and constant agitations. If you notice these signs, you should find help to prevent the chances of an overdose.
Cocaine has both short term and long term effects on your health. An overdose can result in various complications, some of which can cause death. As such, it is ill-advised to use cocaine. Those around users and addicts should be aware of the potential risk of overdose and accompanying complications. If you spot any of the symptoms above, it is crucial to find a medic and enroll the victim to the ER for immediate detox and restoration of optimal body functions. Behavioral therapies and contingency management are also essential to help rehabilitate cocaine addicts.