Cocaine is a powerful stimulant and popular drug of abuse. It can be prescribed as an anesthetic for minor injuries but is rarely used in the medical community.

When cocaine enters the body, it affects multiple organs and processes. In the brain, the drug increases the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine creates the pleasurable effects of cocaine, and, when released, can cause addiction.

Norepinephrine is responsible for elevating mood but also impacts the cardiovascular system. When cocaine increases norepinephrine, blood vessels throughout the body constrict; this increases blood pressure and decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to different organs.

Dangers of Polysubstance Abuse

Polysubstance abuse occurs when people mix more than one drug of abuse at a time. Cocaine is commonly mixed with alcohol, marijuana, prescription depressant, and other stimulants.

People may mix drugs to experience the effect of both at the same time. Others mix drugs to combat the side effects of other drugs. For example, some people use cocaine to combat the confusion and drowsiness from alcohol.

Polysubstance abuse is incredibly dangerous and unpredictable. It increases the risk of overdose, serious side effects, and less common drug interactions.

Mixing Cocaine with Other Stimulants

Mixing stimulants will increase the effects of each stimulant, producing some or all of the following side effects:

  • Cocaine Mixed with Stimulants Side Effects

    Constricted blood vessels

    Dilated (larger than normal) pupils

    Extreme talkativeness

    Higher body temperature

    Increased blood pressure


    Nausea and vomiting


    Rapid heart rate



    Tremors and muscle twitching

When cocaine is mixed with another stimulant, a dangerous condition called Serotonin Syndrome can result. During Serotonin Syndrome, increased levels of serotonin hijack the body’s ability to regulate temperature, mood and muscle control. A person may experience tremors, rapid heart rate, agitation, confusion and hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature). The symptoms are often severe and life-threatening.

Mixing cocaine with other stimulants greatly increases the risk of serotonin syndrome, especially if the person takes other medications that increase serotonin. These medicines include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and several over-the-counter cough medications.

Cocaine and MDMA

MDMA (sometimes referred to as molly) is a stimulant that also possesses traits of hallucinogens. Mixing cocaine and molly can significantly increase the risk of dehydration, jaw clenching, blood pressure, seizures, paranoia and heart problems.

Cocaine and Adderall

Adderall is a prescription medication that contains amphetamine salts. It is normally used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but can produce a high similar to cocaine if abused. The combined effects of these drugs increase risk to the heart and cardiovascular system.

Cocaine and Meth

This combination is similar to cocaine and Adderall. Methamphetamine is chemically similar to amphetamine salts in Adderall, though meth enters the brain in a higher percentage than Adderall. Cocaine and meth together greatly increase the risk of heart problems, sleep disturbances and mood and thought symptoms.

Cocaine and Caffeine

The effects of caffeine are mild compared to cocaine, but their combination increases the risk of heart damage. In fact, animal studies have shown caffeine to be more addictive than cocaine.

Signs of Cocaine Abuse

It can be difficult to spot cocaine abuse, but symptoms tend to increase in severity over time. Those who are abusing more than one stimulant at a time will have more visible side effects. Furthermore, it may take longer to recover from drug use.

Some signs of cocaine abuse may include:

  • Cocaine Abuse Symptoms


    Changes in mood and behavior

    Changing friend groups

    Depressed mood

    Increased talkativeness

    Lost sense of smell and taste

    Lung damage and cough (smoked cocaine)


    Panic attacks

    Problems with memory and attention

    Problems with finances

    Runny nose

    Unexplained high or low energy levels

    Weight loss

If you or someone you know is struggling to stop using cocaine or other stimulants, please call The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health to ask about cocaine addiction treatment. The effects of abusing stimulants are difficult to notice at first, but they can cause permanent damage and lead to life-altering consequences. Call The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health to speak with a representative about treatment options.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.