What is Cocaine Psychosis?

Marlene Garcia

Cocaine psychosis resembles other forms of psychosis typical in mental disorders, but is brought about by drug abuse. It might cause hallucinations and delusions, causing the user to see, hear, or feel things that do not exist. Cocaine psychosis might produce paranoia and suspicions, making a person believe someone is watching or following him or her. In extreme cases, cocaine psychosis may lead to suicide and violence, including homicide.

Psychosis linked to cocaine abuse may disappear after a few days if drug use ceases.
Psychosis linked to cocaine abuse may disappear after a few days if drug use ceases.

Experts compare cocaine psychosis to schizophrenia because signs and symptoms are similar. In both cases, a person can lose touch with reality and may be delusional. Conversations may not make sense because thoughts commonly become disorganized when a person suffers cocaine psychosis. Psychosis appears more often in intravenous cocaine users and those who ingest large quantities of the substance over a long period of time.

In extreme cases, cocaine psychosis may lead to homicide.
In extreme cases, cocaine psychosis may lead to homicide.

The irrational fear and suspicions that can occur during cocaine psychosis might lead to acts of violence. A cocaine abuser might also become depressed and suffer panic attacks linked to paranoia. Anxiety is another common sign from abusing the drug that might result in psychotic episodes.

Cocaine psychosis may cause the user to get into violent physical confrontations.
Cocaine psychosis may cause the user to get into violent physical confrontations.

Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant. It was first discovered in Bolivia and Peru, where Peruvian Indians chewed the leaves to combat hunger and fatigue. At one time, cocaine was sold in some industrialized countries as a brain tonic that promised to promote alertness and increase energy. As the drug became popular for recreational use, it evolved into a cash crop in several countries, and is listed as an illegal narcotic in many regions.

Cocaine psychosis can cause delusions and suicidal thoughts.
Cocaine psychosis can cause delusions and suicidal thoughts.

Cocaine users report feeling euphoric, and experience a sense of power and indestructibility after ingesting the drug. They may become more talkative and appear to be the life of the party. Some cocaine users feel smarter, sexier, and more competent to handle any challenge. The drug may inflate the ego until the abuser comes down from the high. At this stage, he or she might become depressed and nervous.

The signs and symptoms of cocaine psychosis are similar to those of schizophrenia.
The signs and symptoms of cocaine psychosis are similar to those of schizophrenia.

Cocaine psychosis is just one identified risk from abusing the drug. Those who snort cocaine might suffer a breakdown of nasal membranes, which could generate nosebleeds. The drug might also harm the liver and lungs. Users who smoke cocaine sometimes cough up blood or dark phlegm.

Use of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, may cause premature ejaculation in men.
Use of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, may cause premature ejaculation in men.

The psychosis linked to cocaine abuse generally goes away in a few days if drug use ceases. In some cases, anti-psychotic drugs can ease symptoms of psychological addiction. If the cocaine psychosis is serious, hospitalization might be necessary to reduce the risk of violent behavior.

A cocaine abuser may become depressed and suffer panic attacks.
A cocaine abuser may become depressed and suffer panic attacks.

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Discussion Comments

donasmrs

I know someone who was hospitalized due to cocaine psychosis. This person had psychosis for three weeks even though he did not take any more cocaine in that time frame. It would have probably lasted longer if he wasn't given medications to treat it. They had to tie him up because he was extremely paranoid and thought that the doctors had kidnapped him and were planning to kill him.

Cocaine psychosis is more serious than people realize and it doesn't always last a few days.

burcinc

@alisha-- I'm not a doctor, I'm just a pharmacology student but we did study this in one of my classes.

From what I understand, cocaine withdrawal can cause psychosis like symptoms but cocaine psychosis mainly occurs from using very high doses of cocaine or using cocaine for many years.

Cocaine has many effects on the body but the major effect is that it uses up the chemicals that our brain relies on to function. After a while, without these chemicals, the brain works abnormally which leads to psychosis.

Problems may continue during withdrawal because the brain is trying to recover. After withdrawal though, psychosis will disappear.

discographer

I understand that cocaine induced psychosis ends when cocaine use is ended, but what about withdrawal?

Doesn't withdrawal cause psychosis as well?

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