Dealing With Severe Cocaine Addiction
I began using cocaine in my late teens. It began as a party drug for me and quickly became a severe addiction I had no control over. When I attended treatment at South Shores Recovery, I had overdosed three times within the previous six months. A cocaine overdose is scary, and despite what you might hear, it can be fatal. With my story, I hope I can help break down the dangers associated with cocaine abuse and cocaine overdose.
Even in healthy individuals, too much cocaine can easily lead to a heart attack and/or overdose. Yes is the clear answer to the question: can you overdose on cocaine?
Cocaine is commonly snorted in a white powder form, but can also be smoked and injected. I started out snorting cocaine, but within a few months of my cocaine use, I was smoking crack cocaine on a daily basis. My use of crack cocaine led me to high blood pressure and an increased heart rate.
If this sounds familiar to you or you’ve seen a loved one go through similar experiences, keep reading to learn how my story turned around with the help of South Shores!
The Basics of Coke
Cocaine comes from the coca plant, and depending on the strength of the cocaine you are ingesting, it can easily be fatal. Cocaine increases your blood pressure and heart rate, which can do a lot of damage over time to the heart.
Because cocaine is a stimulant, it makes your mind race too. There were times when I swore I was having a heart attack from ingesting too much cocaine. I would smoke several grams and think that people were out to get me. I found myself hiding in dark alleys in order to escape these made-up people. My addiction was so strong, that I began to create situations in my mind that were not real.
How Much Cocaine Will Lead To Overdose?
A cocaine overdose is dependent on a couple of factors. A lot of cocaine that reaches the United States is cut with a number of other substances, and it’s nearly impossible to tell what exactly you are ingesting. In some situations, cocaine can be cut with depressant drugs. Because cocaine is an upper, mixing it with a downer can easily lead to an overdose. Many cocaine overdoses are the result of mixing other drugs.
Having a cocaine addiction for as long as I did, I got pretty good at being able to tell how pure the cocaine I was ingesting was. The amount of cocaine you ingest is also a big factor in the risk of overdose. Many people with cocaine addictions build up a tolerance, so they can handle a bit more than the average person.
Sometimes your tolerance doesn’t matter at all. Again, because cocaine has such a negative effect on the heart, you could overdose on a small amount of cocaine. Elevated blood pressure associated with cocaine addiction opens you up to the possibility of a lot of complications. Another common side effect of cocaine addiction is respiratory failure and other central nervous system complications.
Cocaine Overdose Symptoms and How To Identify Them
People who are clean often look at severely addicted drug addicts and think they could never end up in that position. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen quicker than you would think. My drug use started when I would go out for a night on the town. It was all fun and games at first. It didn’t take long for it to stop being fun. For me, that was one of the telltale signs of cocaine use becoming a real problem, you keep using it even though you don’t really even want to be.
When I overdosed on cocaine the first time, I didn’t even realize it was happening. Despite being told I had overdosed on cocaine, it didn’t make me want to stop. Even after the next couple of times, I still decided that my drug abuse was more important than my health. This is the power of a drug like cocaine.
Getting Used to Seizures and Other Cocaine Side Effects
Common physical symptoms of cocaine overdose include chest pain, elevated heart rate, and nausea, and vomiting. These are situations that cocaine users already experience without an overdose, so sometimes it can be tough to know if you are overdosing. This is why there are many overdose deaths associated with cocaine addiction, never mind mixing cocaine with other drugs and making it even more dangerous.
I remember I had a friend who used to have a seizure when he would smoke crack or inject cocaine, it was almost like clockwork. He’d have a belt nearby that I would put in his mouth, and then we’d both hope he wouldn’t choke on his tongue. Then we’d go get more coke and do it all over again. Insanity.
Can You Overdose on Cocaine: Looking Death in the Eyes and Making a Change
Needless to say, overdosing on cocaine once is extremely dangerous. Having overdosed multiple times myself, I was finally convinced to seek a treatment program to get help. It took a lot of convincing from my family, but I finally made the decision following a four-day crack binge.
I was beginning to hallucinate heavily, and the familiar signs of cocaine psychosis were creeping in. I felt like my heart was going to explode and even the other heavy cocaine users I was around were worried for me. After seeing the fear on their faces, it dawned on me that I needed to change.
How Many Overdoses and ER Visits Does It Take?
I’ve known many people who died of cocaine overdoses. They knew the risks, and they continued down that dark path. I remember a fellow addict one time telling me “I love it too much, and I want to do it until it kills me.” That’s a level of addiction that’s really hard to explain to people. Unfortunately, a lot of people with cocaine addictions feel this way.
Some cocaine addicts never even think of seeking treatment. They may consider it for a short period of time, but the power of the drug will make you quickly dismiss that thought even for just one high. When you’re deep into drug abuse, it’s hard to imagine yourself getting out of it. The work that you need to put in seems impossible. Thinking about it in baby steps is what helped me.
Taking the Road Less Travelled: Making the Choice to Put Down Coke
I knew that getting clean was going to be a long, drawn-out process. I also knew that it was going to be a lifelong situation for me. I needed to completely give my life over to recovery in order to have any kind of success.
I went back and forth between believing I could do it and then convincing myself I couldn’t. That was the cocaine talking, not me. Anybody can get clean if they really want to. It’s that simple.
Seeking Cocaine Addiction Treatment
When I finally reached out for help for my substance abuse, I was in rough shape. A withdrawal from cocaine is more of a mental situation, but it can also be very physically uncomfortable as well. Common withdrawal symptoms from cocaine include headaches, chills, depression, and irritability.
I was extremely irritable when I was going through cocaine detox, and I probably said and did some really harsh things. The people at South Shore didn’t judge me despite my behavior. They’d seen it many times before, and they knew that it was the drug slowly escaping me. My cocaine use helped me dull all sorts of emotions that I had never dealt with in a positive fashion. They all came out when I went to rehab.
Does Cocaine Require Detox?
Cocaine treatment may look a bit different depending on your level of addiction. For someone as heavily addicted as me, I required around-the-clock treatment. I had toxic levels of cocaine in my system. I had damaged vital organs and my brain was totally empty of dopamine. I had a seizure during my detox, which really terrified me. Once I got out of detox, I was determined to get my act together. I did not want to feel that way ever again.
Achieving Sobriety And Embracing Recovery
I had lived my entire adult life addicted to drugs. My first-hand experience with cocaine has helped me tremendously when it comes to warning others. I speak to groups of kids about the dangers of cocaine and try to be as frank as possible about my past. The only reason I’ve achieved any success in recovery is because of the support system around me.
I had to get rid of everyone in my life in order to stay clean. It’s hard to let go of certain relationships, but it’s a little bit easier once you realize it’s necessary to save your life. Being given another chance at life has given me the strength to continue and try to educate others about cocaine and its harmful effects.
Join a Supportive Community and Put Cocaine in Your Past
My cocaine use was the only thing that mattered in my life for a very long time. Even after my own cocaine overdoses, I wanted the drug more and more. The high energy and dopamine rush from cocaine kept me going, but the crash and burn associated with it are what ultimately led me to make the decision to get clean.
I know that there is always a risk of relapse, but taking it one day at a time is working for me very well. Because of my time at South Shore Recovery, I am living my best life today.
If you or a loved one found anything familiar in my story, I encourage you to make a call to South Shores too. Their staff are very dedicated to helping people and can give you options to start down a new path. Why not give yourself a break and reach out to get options?