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Is Cocaine Induced Psychosis Permanent?

When a person exhibits symptoms of cocaine induced psychosis as a result of long-term cocaine abuse, the question is often asked: will this condition be permanent? The issue is that, although there has been research in the area, we are unsure of whether or not the condition of psychosis will be permanent when induced by cocaine and other types of stimulant abuse. Much of the outcome may dependent on variables.

Case for Non-Permanence

Psychostimulants, a drug category of which cocaine is one, have been known to cause psychosis in individuals who abuse them regularly. Like cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, and other stimulant drugs have been known to cause hallucinations, paranoia, hostility, and/or aggressive or violent behavior in long-term abusers. According to the ADF, “Typically the psychostimulant-induced psychosis resolves after discontinuation of psychostimulant use.” This means that, in many cases, when a person stops abusing cocaine and other psychostimulants, the psychotic symptoms they exhibited start to wane.

Cocaine induced psychosis could be directly affected by the current abuse of the drug and therefore impermanent. Some studies have found this is more likely. Some of the other considerations for the case of non-permanence of cocaine induced psychosis are:

  • “Psychosis… is higher after amphetamine use than after cocaine use,” which means that cocaine users might be safer from the permanence of psychosis.
  • Males in a study of cocaine induced psychosis were “significantly more likely than females to develop psychosis,” showing that there are other factors at work and permanence is a possibility but not a certainty (NCBI).
  • “Cocaine induced paranoia can be transient, lasting a few hours or as long as days or weeks” (NCBI). Normally, though, this issue, a symptom of larger cocaine induced psychosis, will begin to fade with time and treatment, suggesting that the other symptoms may as well.

There are many cases of individuals who had to be strapped down when brought in for cocaine overdose or abuse and were exhibiting symptoms of psychosis. These individuals did not all experience the same symptoms forever after that. Hence, it is likely that cocaine induced psychosis is not always permanent.

Case for Permanence

psychosis from drugs

The majority of people who experience cocaine psychosis recover.

According to Yale, cocaine abuse does have affects on the brain that seem to be permanent. These tend to involve an “increased resistance to brain stimulation” and responsiveness. While this is not the same as cocaine induced psychosis, it shows that long-term cocaine abuse can have permanent effects on the abuser’s brain.

This phenomenon has not been explored as deeply in cocaine abusers as it has in amphetamine abusers; therefore, there is still so much we may not know (NCBI 1). It is difficult to assert that there is no permanent form of cocaine induced psychosis without the absolute knowledge that it is always reversible with treatment and time.

The concern about the permanence of cocaine induced psychosis is real, and many individuals may consider this possibility, especially if they abuse cocaine in large doses or have a loved one who does. Although it most often happens after long-term, heavy abuse of the drug, the best way to protect oneself is to stop abusing the drug before cocaine induced psychosis comes about.

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