How Continued Drug Use Leads to an Overdose

Cocaine is one of the most highly sought and abused stimulants in America. Just recently it became one of the most frequently abused drugs, and it has led to an incredible number of visits to the emergency department. Although it is a somewhat older drug of abuse, it is commonly referred to as the “caviar” of recreational drugs, which means it is for wealthy, experienced drug users.

No single issue causes cocaine addiction, as addictive diseases are generally believed to result from a combination of both genetic backgrounds and environmental risk factors. In other words, people who have family environment that promotes drug abuse often have higher risks of addiction than people who lack any family history of addiction[1]. However, each drug affects people differently. While one person may feel mild affects from the same drug and dosage, another user may experience severe and even life-threatening side effects. Furthermore, as addictions worsen, addicts find themselves constantly chasing the initial high with larger and more frequent doses of drugs. As a result, the addiction grows stronger, which means that addicts place themselves at even higher risks for overdose. In short, seek professional help as soon as possible to end your habits of drug abuse and to safeguard your life.

Cocaine Abuse Signs and Risks

A common myth about cocaine is that it lacks addictive qualities because it has different withdrawal symptoms than both alcohol and heroin. However, cocaine has extremely powerful properties of addiction that affect people both psychologically and physically. The biggest trend in drug abuse across the US is presently abusing multiple drugs at the same time, and cocaine is often a part of this trend. For instance, many people abuse cocaine in combination with alcohol, sedatives (such as Valium and Ativan) or heroin to consume an upper and a downer simultaneously. When people combine cocaine with another drug, they often do so to moderate or reverse some of the side effects of the primary drug.

As cocaine addiction is a serious problem, learn the following warning signs to spot addiction in yourself or a loved one:

  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • Excessive anger or hostility
  • Lack of personal hygiene

Although cocaine affects each user differently, some warning signs universally reveal that someone may be abusing cocaine. First, cocaine users tend to show changes in their moods, behavior and functioning. The warning signs that pertain to mood may include rapid and drastic changes, which means someone goes from excited to depressed or even suicidal. The addict may also exhibit excessive anger, which may escalate when he is confronted about his drug abuse and associated behaviors. Even the addict’s personality will start to change—behavioral warning signs of cocaine addiction may include sudden and drastic changes in social circles, stealing and even lying or manipulating others to conceal or obtain drugs. In addition to these signs, an addict’s physical appearance may change due to poor hygiene. Lastly, addicts commonly exhibit low motivation, fail to meet obligations at both work and home and isolate themselves from loved ones.

Some people overdose by consuming drugs in toxic amounts over time, but people usually overdose on cocaine when they abuse it in large amounts without knowing its potency. People often use these large amounts by injecting, snorting or combining the drug to build a tolerance to it, but they end up causing their bodies to have fewer effects to the same amount of the drug. As a result, addicts must increase their dosage to experience the same effects as smaller doses formerly caused. As this process continues, addicts place themselves at much higher risks of overdose. The following signs may reveal that someone is experiencing an overdose of cocaine:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Drastic increase in body temperature
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

When someone overdoses on cocaine, she will show a wide array of symptoms, such as an elevated heart rate, headache, fever and possibly even psychosis. While it can be extremely difficult to see these warning signs, the drug user will feel them and should immediately alert someone to seek emergency care. The best action you can take for either yourself or a loved one who experiences a cocaine overdose is to seek prompt medical attention. Treatment is possible for this issue, and, when sought immediately, can reduce the damage done to the organs and rest of the body. In short, seek help now to quit abusing cocaine and to save your life from a devastating overdose.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to cocaine and worries about the possibility of relapse, then please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about addiction and treatment. One call can save your life, so reach out for help right now!


[1], Cocaine Abuse, Causes, and Risk Factors, Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD, 01/15/16, 09/03/15.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email