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 a feeling 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 paranoia and even psychosis are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more fatal effects of abusing cocaine. Read on to learn more.
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, the user might harm or endangers 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.
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. Psychosis is common for crack cocaine or heavy meth abusers. But it can happen to anyone on any high dose of mind-altering drug because each individual reacts differently to substances and has their own mental history.
Many people with a substance use 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. 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?
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.
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 Paranoia 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 your suspiciously
- Assuming there are 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
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 drug use is continued. Even after the drug 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 health issues combined with drug-induced psychosis might result in paranoia for a long time. In such a case, parallel treatment, both forms of paranoia will be engaged. 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 psychosis, it is ideal to find out whether or not the paranoia was in fact drug-induced. The fact that you get paranoia during use or after quitting does not mean that the paranoia is drug-induced. In some instance, the paranoia is a result of underlying psychotic illnesses.
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 drugs 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. Many people 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?
If treatment is sought, a clinician needs to 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 through supervised detox to help through the withdrawal process.
After detox, you go through a comprehensive assessment where an interview might be conducted to find out more about the paranoia. Some of the questions that an addict might need to answer include:
- Duration of the symptoms
- Degree of awareness the addict has into the condition
- Nature of cocaine use
- Family history of mental health illnesses
Primary psychotic paranoia and drug-induced paranoia might show similar symptoms, but a clinician will be able to distinguish them. If the paranoia dissipates when you stop taking the drugs, it is an indication that the paranoia was drug-induced. In contrast, the continuation of the paranoia means that it is mental illness induced.
In most cases, paranoia, among other side effects of abusing cocaine, is best treated in a drug treatment center. Here, the professional will assess the cause of the paranoia and engage you in programs that meet your level of addiction and paranoia.
If you need help recovering from teen drug abuse call Opus Health 949-625-4019.