Drug and Alcohol

Cocaine Overdose: Know the Signs & Symptoms of a Cocaine Overdose

Signs & symptoms of cocaine overdose

Cocaine overdose is a major risk of cocaine abuse. Learn the signs and symptoms today – in a drug overdose, minutes matter.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

February 20, 2023

Substance abuse is one of the alarming global issues nowadays among different age groups, primarily the youth. One such substance is cocaine, a global threat that adversely affects human health. Even a limited dosage of cocaine can result in repeated doses, leading to cocaine addiction.

However, a cocaine overdose is hazardous as it causes severe psychological problems and untimely death. One can detect a cocaine overdose in a loved one by identifying specific symptoms. Scroll down to learn more about the symptoms and signs of cocaine abuse.

What Is a Cocaine Overdose?

Cocaine overdose refers to the precarious physical state due to the overconsumption of cocaine. Due to overuse, people may face life-threatening symptoms that have serious medical altercations.

A cocaine overdose occurs when drug abusers do not have the slightest idea of how much cocaine is too much. For example, sometimes, addicts do not know how much cocaine is physically harmful to their health and this can lead to fatal conditions. This overdose can be caused by different factors, such as the mixing of cocaine with other substances like heroin and alcohol.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

The signs of a cocaine overdose can be of 2 types, physical and psychological. These are discussed below:

Physical Signs of Cocaine Overdose

The physical symptoms of overdose are:

  • Tachycardia or increased heart rate

  • Seizures

  • Heavy sweating

  • Shallow breathing

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • High body temperature

  • Blue colored skin

  • Stroke

  • Unconsciousness

  • Loss of bladder control

  • Chest pain leading to heart attack

  • High blood pressure

Psychological Signs of Cocaine Overdose

The psychological symptoms of cocaine overdose are:

  • Confusion

  • Anxiety and agitation

  • Delirium

  • Hallucinations

  • Panic attacks

  • Rumbling communication

  • Paranoia

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What Does a Cocaine Overdose Feel Like?

People who undergo cocaine overdose experience the following signs:

  • Extreme euphoric sensation

  • High energy in the body

  • Little to no sleep

  • Appetite loss

  • Increased confidence

  • High mental and physical sharpness

How Does Cocaine Overdose Affect the Body?

Like any drug, people use cocaine because it feels good. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine works by causing the body to increase the amount of dopamine in the system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in the body's reward system.

Also like any drug, prolonged cocaine use leads to addiction. Cocaine is highly damaging to brain and body functioning. An overdose of it can increase the secretion of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which completely disrupt the balance of our brain.

However, in the primary stage, people face an adrenaline rush in their bodies due to cocaine usage. This stimulant drug speeds up several physical and mental processes and gives people a flush of confidence and happiness. Gradually, this turns into addiction, and the body starts losing control. People at this stage start to experience a number of symptoms which can eventually lead to death.

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What Is the Treatment for Cocaine Overdose?

The following ways can treat cocaine overdose:

Treatment for Substance Abuse

Cocaine is one of the most popular drugs to abuse. To prevent a potential overdose, addicts should be under treatment for substance abuse at a drug rehab. Different stages of substance abuse treatments are

Psychological treatment is necessary for cocaine overdose for several reasons. Generally, a substance like cocaine has adverse side effects on the brain. Thus it hampers normal brain functioning and causes serious psychological issues. Sudden withdrawal from this drug also generates psychological trauma.

Thus, people should be under dual diagnosis to completely recover from a cocaine overdose.

How to Respond to a Person Experiencing a Cocaine Overdose

Caregivers should respond to a cocaine overdose in the following ways:

  • Calling 911

  • If a person is experiencing a seizure, the CDC offers advice on how to help a person having a seizure

  • If they're unconscious, try administering CPR until first responders arrive.

  • Other drugs like fentanyl often contaminate cocaine or are sold as cocaine. Learning about the symptoms of opioid overdose can be helpful, too.

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Triggers of Cocaine Abuse

The use of cocaine for prolonged periods results in cocaine overdose, and there are different triggers that lead to cocaine abuse. These triggers have been discussed below:


Studies have proved that drug addiction can be genetic. For example, if one has a family history of cocaine addiction, that person may be more likely to develop a similar addiction.


Staying in an environment where drug abuse is prevalent can make people develop an addiction. This is because, in such an environment, people are over-exposed to drugs which can be really triggering.

Mental Trauma

Mental trauma is a triggering condition for any substance abuse. This is because drugs can help relieve the effects of traumatic stress temporarily. However, drug use can also cause a person to experience even more trauma.

Social Pressure

This drug can lift the confidence level very promptly. Thus, those who get awkward social pressure may abuse cocaine to be socially active and show confidence.

Effects of Cocaine Abuse

The untreated effects of cocaine abuse gradually lead to the symptoms of a cocaine overdose. These effects are classified into 2 types, short-term and long-term. These are discussed below.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

The short-term effects of cocaine abuse are as follows:

  • A sudden rush of energy

  • Talkativeness

  • Being alert all the time

  • Feeling of happiness

  • Sleeplessness

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

The long-term effects are:

  • Heart attack

  • Abdominal pain

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Gastrointestinal issues

  • Tremors

  • Volatile behavior

  • Anger issues

  • Irritability

  • Coma

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Cocaine Overdose Prevention

The below-mentioned methods can help prevent a cocaine overdose:

  • Educating people on drug abuse

  • Testing the health conditions of addicts frequently

  • Offering drugs that can reduce the effect of cocaine

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse?

Treating cocaine addiction naturally involves a person stopping their use of cocaine. However, this will create withdrawal symptoms. Caregivers should be aware of such symptoms so that they can manage situations. These symptoms are:


Cravings are very common among cocaine addicts as their body function becomes dependent on the dose of cocaine. As addicts start having physical dysfunction, they crave cocaine in order to keep everything normal. Besides, they also crave that pleasurable feeling they used to get from this drug.

How to Respond: Behavioral therapy and medicines can help to calm the cravings for cocaine.

Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal thoughts are prevalent withdrawal symptoms for any drug. If a cocaine addict abruptly discontinues cocaine consumption, that person starts feeling low on confidence. In this way, they start feeling timid and worthless. This eventually leads to suicidal thoughts.

How to Respond: Counseling and dual diagnosis can help to prevent withdrawal symptoms like suicidal thoughts.


Cocaine abuse increases the secretion of happy hormones. Therefore discontinuing cocaine decreases this hormone production, and addicts face a depressing situation. Further, this can lead to anxiety, irritability, and agitation.

How to Respond: Anti-depressants and counseling can help addicts to fight depression due to cocaine withdrawal.

Don't Risk a Cocaine Overdose. The Edge Treatment Center Effectively Treats Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine abuse, like all other forms of drug abuse, is highly risky. This is especially true for cocaine abuse. Aside from the health hazards associated with it, other drugs are often sold as cocaine, including fentanyl.

The Edge Treatment Center provides evidence-based care for cocaine addiction. We'll start by helping you find a drug detox center for your needs and history of cocaine abuse. Once you're ready to attend our long-term outpatient drug rehab, we'll make sure you have every resource and tool you need to leave cocaine addiction behind for good.

If you want to know more about how The Edge Treatment Center effectively treats cocaine addiction, please reach out today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is cocaine considered a stimulant drug?

Stimulants refer to drugs that stimulate certain body functions. Cocaine is a stimulant drug because the chemical composition of cocaine stimulates brain functioning. Thus, it enhances different senses and makes people active.

What are the different forms of cocaine?

Cocaine most often appears in powder and a crystalized form known as "crack."

What are some co-occurring disorders of cocaine abuse?

Some co-occurring disorders of cocaine abuse are alcoholism, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

What is cocaine toxicity?

Cocaine toxicity refers to the acute physical effects of a cocaine overdose. After identifying the symptoms, caregivers should promptly take the patients to professional care.

What are the risk factors of a cocaine overdose?

Cocaine abuse, naturally. Injecting cocaine is a very dangerous way to abuse the drug. Also, opioid drugs such as fentanyl often contaminate cocaine stashes, adding another risk of a drug overdose.

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