Prolonged use of cocaine comes with a string of side effects. Psychosis and paranoia are some of the more unfortunate mental side effects of abusing cocaine.
When one starts using the drug, they get feelings of euphoria, a boost of energy, and a false sense of well-being or being “invincible”.
However, after an extended period of use, the way the brain communicates with the rest of your body changes.
Cocaine-induced paranoia and even cocaine-induced psychosis are just the tips of the iceberg. There are many more fatal effects of abusing cocaine.
Adverse Psychological Effects of Abusing Cocaine
One of the most common symptoms of abusing cocaine is paranoia. Up to 84% of those who use cocaine will end up paranoid at some point while using the drug. The problem with paranoia is that a person might take irrational action against others as a result of their suspiciousness.
In such a case, cocaine-dependent patients might harm or endanger another person, and this could mean legal consequences.
The good news is cocaine paranoia does not last forever. It’s possible to work through it and get the proper help you need so you don’t have to experience any risks that come along with this frame of mind. Learn more about the side effects of cocaine here.
This is another effect of abusing cocaine for a long time. Psychosis is similar to paranoia, but it’s more of a combination of many symptoms, including paranoia and hallucinations. Cocaine-induced psychosis is common for crack cocaine or heavy meth abusers.
But it can happen to anyone on any high dose of the mind-altering drug because each individual reacts differently to substances and has their own mental history. Cocaine psychosis is one of the most dangerous side effects of using the drug.
Many factors can affect the amounts of dopamine levels, which in turn can influence the emergence of cocaine psychosis.
Many people with a substance abuse disorder also experience depression or depressive thoughts. You might also feel a twinge of helplessness when they come down from the “high” of cocaine. It is one of the withdrawal symptoms that rehabs deal with seeing suicidal thoughts are common.
Initially, hospitalization may be necessary to treat withdrawal symptoms and prevent continued, compulsive use of cocaine. During the withdrawal phase, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, and depression have been observed.
Anyone depressed from quitting cocaine needs to be under close supervision.
As with most other narcotics, cocaine can make you see and hear things that are not real. These hallucinations can further aggravate the feeling of paranoia or delusion. It also makes the addict incapable of dealing with real danger. At least 40 percent of cocaine addicts are unable to focus on real-life daily tasks, due to hallucinations.
You might ignore traffic lights and instead concentrate on imaginary threats.
Other effects include violence and suicidal thoughts. Violence is a result of paranoia and hallucination. When a person sees and hears things that are not real, they tend to be suspicious of other people and their intentions.
If a high person imagines someone is following them, they might be violent toward them. Suicidal thoughts are a result of depression.
These are common when you quit cocaine, and feel lonely or hopeless.
What is Cocaine Paranoia?
One of the well-known side effects of crack cocaine is paranoia. Someone who heavily abuses cocaine can experience paranoia, which is a feeling of suspiciousness towards other people and the world.
Usually, paranoia comes as a result of the hallucinations where an addict feels like someone is attacking them or following them. Smoking crack cocaine can definitely make you paranoid.
According to a study by the American Journal of Psychology, more than half of the people who abuse cocaine experienced paranoia after use. The onset of paranoia is characterized by suspiciousness. In severe cases, paranoia causes a person to act aggressively toward other people.
Signs of a Cocaine Paranoia
Some signs and symptoms of cocaine psychosis involve:
- Suspicion of other people’s actions
- Exaggerated mistrust of strangers
- Fear of close friends or family members without reason
- Questioning what other people are up to
- Believing that other people do not recognize your role in the world
- Thinking that people are looking at you suspiciously
- Thinking about hidden messages behind music, movies, or advertisements
- Feeling that everyone is out to get you
- Seeing or hearing suspicious things that aren’t really happening
- Auditory hallucinations, tactile hallucinations
Some of the other short-term intense symptoms of cocaine psychosis include:
- Dilated pupils
- Constricted blood vessels
- Paranoid delusions
- Intense euphoria/ intense pleasure
- Intense cravings
- Increased breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure
- Cocaine-related violent behavior
Cocaine has the potential to produce a spectrum of psychiatric symptoms and exacerbate many mental disorders. Many patients with cocaine dependence have also been found to have a comorbid psychiatric disorder.
Cocaine-induced psychiatric symptoms undoubtedly contribute to the emergence of violence. One of the long-term effects of cocaine use is drug-induced psychosis.
How Long Does It Take for Cocaine Paranoia to Stop?
There is no set timeline for drug-induced paranoia. In some instances, paranoia might last for only a few hours. Others go on for weeks, months, and in severe cases, paranoia can take years if the use of addictive substances is continued.
Even after the drug of abuse leaves your body, paranoia might still show itself as your brain readapts to functioning without substances. The duration depends on how long you have used cocaine and whether you mixed that with other substances.
A person with psychotic-related paranoia due to mental disorders combined with cocaine-induced psychosis might result in paranoia for a long time.
Even then, the period it takes for the paranoia to wear off is dependent on individual conditions with no set time limit.
What To Do if You or a Friend Experience Drug-Induced Paranoia
Paranoia can be frightening to experience personally. However, if someone experiences cocaine psychosis, it is ideal to find out whether or not the paranoia was in fact drug-induced. The fact that you get paranoid during use or after quitting does not mean that the paranoia is drug-induced.
In some instances, the paranoia is a result of underlying psychotic illness and mental health disorders.
If you experience cocaine paranoia (or you’re with someone close to you who has the signs), get the person to a safe place. You might not know what to do or who to trust when you feel paranoid, but remember it’s just the drug of abuse influencing your thoughts.
If you feel destructive or that you might be in danger, call a paramedic or 9-1-1. Authorities will be there to help you, as it’s their job to first make sure you’re okay.
People often avoid calling for an emergency, thinking they’ll get busted for using drugs. But remember there are Good Samaritan Laws to prevent overdose or drug-inspired danger. If it could save a life, don’t hesitate to rush for help.
Can I Get Treatment for Drug Paranoia?
A clinician will diagnose the cause of the paranoia. The best way to arrive at the correct diagnosis is to discontinue drug use. After quitting, the addict undergoes medical detox to help through the withdrawal process.
After detox, you will go through a comprehensive assessment.
Some of the questions that an addict might need to answer include:
- Duration of the meth psychosis symptoms
- Degree of awareness the addict has into the condition
- Nature of cocaine use disorder
- Family history of mental health illnesses
Chronic cocaine use is often biologically based, yet many clinicians mistakenly believe cocaine abusers can stop using the drug whenever they want.
For the cocaine user, the compulsion to use cocaine powder is overwhelming.
Primary psychotic paranoia and drug-induced paranoia might show similar symptoms, but a clinician will be able to distinguish them.
If paranoia dissipates when you stop taking the addictive drugs, it is an indication that the paranoia was drug-induced.
In contrast, a continuation of paranoia means that it is mental illness induced.
In most cases, paranoia, among other side effects of a cocaine use disorder, is best treated in a drug treatment center. Find treatment for crack cocaine addiction today.
Here, the professional will assess the cause of the paranoia and engage you in different treatment options programs that meet your level of addiction and paranoia to help you improve your quality of life.