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Cocaine Induced Psychosis Signs

Cocaine induced psychosis is a highly dangerous condition that affects many individuals who abuse the drug chronically. While it is a long-term effect of cocaine abuse, it can be very difficult to get someone into treatment once it they already are affected by the full-blown psychosis. Therefore, realizing it as early as possible is important. Make sure to look for the signs of cocaine induced psychosis in your loved one.

Cocaine Binges

According to the NIDA, “Users take cocaine in ‘binges,’ during which the cocaine is used repeatedly and at increasingly higher doses.” This can actually lead to the psychosis that is common from long-term cocaine abuse. Users often become tolerant to the effects of the drug. Tolerance can develop quickly, especially if the individual binges on the drug often. Therefore, someone who abuses cocaine and becomes tolerant to it will take more and more of the drug in order to feel its effects. This is often the behavior that leads to cocaine induced psychosis.

If someone you know exhibits these signs, they are in danger of developing psychosis as a result of cocaine abuse:

  • Taking large doses of cocaine repeatedly
  • Neglecting responsibilities in order to take cocaine
  • Taking cocaine when alone
  • Neglecting personal care, health, hygiene, or other matters to take more cocaine
  • Staying awake for a long time as the result of binging on cocaine
  • Not eating for a long time or barely eating as the result of binging on cocaine
  • Crashing after a cocaine binge before continuing the same behavior again

Symptoms of Cocaine Induced Psychosis

cocaine paranoia

Delusions, hallucinations and aggressive behavior are all signs of cocaine psychosis.

Someone who develops this kind of psychosis can be a person who has never experienced problems of this sort before. According to a study from the NCBI, cocaine changes the way the mind works and can cause users to develop intense psychosis that includes these symptoms:

  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations
    • Most commonly, these hallucinations feel like bugs trying to burrow under the skin of the person. These are often called coke bugs.
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Delusions
  • Violence
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Homicidal tendencies
  • A loss of touch with reality

According to the NCBI, “Paranoia occurs in 68% to 84% of patients using cocaine.” But this is not the end. Cocaine induced psychosis will only become worse if the person continues to abuse the drug.

How Do I Know If Someone Is Exhibiting Cocaine Induced Psychosis?

If you know someone who is abusing cocaine and they are beginning to act differently in a severe and negative way, there is a chance that they are experiencing cocaine induced psychosis. They will likely:

  • Act very hostile, aggressive, or angry if you ask about their cocaine abuse
  • Switch moods very quickly
  • Experience homicidal or suicidal tendencies where they never did before
  • See, hear, or feel things that do not exist
  • Become very paranoid and likely aggressive or hostile as a result
  • Not act like themselves

The sooner you can identify cocaine induced psychosis in an individual, the better. Getting someone into treatment may not be easy, but treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective (NIDA). There are many signs of cocaine induced psychosis, and being able to recognize them could potentially help you save an individual’s life.

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