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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.