Cocaine Abuse, Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine abuse often leads the abuser to use more cocaine to obtain the desired high. Discover how this cocaine abuse behavior risks cocaine overdose.

Cocaine abuse (also called cocaine addiction) is a serious situation where the cocaine abuser cannot stop using cocaine without help. In cases of cocaine abuse, users continue to abuse cocaine in spite of harm to themselves and others. Not everyone who uses cocaine will fall victim to cocaine abuse, but once abuse of cocaine starts it can be very difficult to stop.

Cocaine abuse causes harm not only to the life of the cocaine abuser and those around him, but also to the body and mind of the cocaine abuser. Abuse of cocaine can lead to body, brain and heart problems that can be lifelong or even result in death. See long term effects of cocaine.

Cocaine abuse often starts due to life, work or school problems. Abuse of cocaine develops in an attempt to fix these problems, but cocaine use is only a short-term fix. In treating cocaine abuse, it's critical to deal with these underlying problems, as well as the cocaine addiction.

Cocaine abuse may lead to cocaine overdose in part because other drugs are often used with cocaine, and this makes the cocaine more dangerous. Abuse of cocaine is also associated with tolerance, meaning the cocaine abuser takes more and more cocaine in order to get the same high. The greater the amount of cocaine, the greater the risk of a cocaine overdose.

Cocaine Abuse: Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Like all addictions, signs of cocaine abuse involve choosing to use or obtain the drug over all other activities. A loss of control over cocaine usage and an inability to stop using cocaine are also part of cocaine abuse.

Signs of cocaine abuse include:1

  • Feeling compelled to use cocaine frequently
  • Feeling you need cocaine to deal with stress or problems
  • Obsessed with getting and using cocaine
  • Covering up behaviors surrounding cocaine abuse
  • Spending more money on cocaine than you should
  • Committing a crime or doing something out-of-character to obtain cocaine
  • Doing risky activities (like having unsafe sex) when using cocaine
  • Neglecting responsibilities due to cocaine use
  • Relationship problems resulting from cocaine use
  • No longer engaging in previously enjoyed behavior

It's critical cocaine abuse be identified and treated as soon as possible as risk of death from cocaine-related problems like heart attack, accident or suicide are common.

Cocaine Abuse: Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

Cocaine overdose, also known as cocaine toxicity, can affect every body organ. Because of the various ways of ingesting cocaine, purity of cocaine and other used substances, there is almost no way of predicting what amount will produce a cocaine overdose. Alcohol dramatically increases the risk of harm to health for cocaine abusers - cocaine combined with alcohol increases the risk of sudden death 25-fold. Cigarettes, which contain the stimulant nicotine, compound the danger of a heart attack from cocaine abuse. Many other chemicals also increase the risk of cocaine overdose.

Cocaine overdose symptoms include:2

  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Increased body temperature, sweating
  • Agitation, confusion, irritability
  • Seizure
  • Heart attack with chest pain
  • Stroke
  • Fever
  • Kidney or liver failure

A cocaine overdose is extremely dangerous, often lethal and should always be treated immediately by a doctor. On the opposite end of the spectrum is cocaine withdrawl. More about that next.

article references

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2021, December 15). Cocaine Abuse, Cocaine Overdose, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: December 29, 2021

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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