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What Is Cocaine Psychosis and How Long Does It Last?

Written by Jonathan Strum

& Medically Reviewed by Eric Patterson, LPC

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Last Updated - 03/31/2022

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Updated 03/31/2022

People interested in stimulating effects of cocaine need to know about the dangers of cocaine psychosis, which can trigger various unwanted effects.

When people use cocaine, they are usually seeking the effects of euphoria, increased energy and decreased need for sleep. However, they also tend to disregard the potential risks. Cocaine has the ability to negatively impact numerous aspects of a person’s life and well-being.

Physically, cocaine use can have dangerous side effects, such as cardiac issues and severe weight loss. Cocaine use can also create many negative consequences mentally, including the possibility of cocaine psychosis.

What Is Cocaine-Induced Psychosis?

With both short- and long-term use, cocaine wreaks havoc on the body. Possible cocaine side effects include:

  • Improved mood
  • High energy
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch
  • Increased body temperature
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Irritability

Though these effects have a negative impact on the individual, cocaine-induced psychosis can harm the person using the drug as well as those around them.

Psychosis is a term used to describe a situation where a person is removed from reality. During a period of psychosis, the person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are no longer matching up with the world around them. In a psychotic state, the person is sure that their perceptions are entirely accurate. In truth, their perspectives can be dangerously far from reality.

Cocaine psychosis may occur in more than 50% of people who use this drug. Other stimulants, such as methamphetamine and medications used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may produce psychosis as well. This occurs because people addicted to stimulants like cocaine commonly binge on the drug by consuming very large amounts over a period of hours or days. This binging period can cause cocaine psychosis.

See Related: Alcohol-induced schizophrenia

Cocaine Psychosis Symptoms

People will experience a range of uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms during a period of psychosis. Some of the most common cocaine psychosis symptoms include:

Cocaine Paranoia

Paranoia and an extreme sense of suspiciousness are some of the first symptoms linked to cocaine-induced psychosis. In this state, people begin to mistrust the people around them and their surroundings. They may become suspicious of loved ones, law enforcement or government agencies. These symptoms are not rare, with as many as 84% of users reporting cocaine-induced paranoia.

Cocaine Delusions

As paranoia increases, people may develop delusions. These are unrealistic thoughts and beliefs a person experiences about themselves and the world around them. For example, delusions may involve someone thinking the police are conspiring against them or that they are an incredibly gifted genius.

Cocaine hallucination

Someone with cocaine psychosis will likely experience flawed sensory perceptions called hallucinations. Hallucinations can make people think that they are seeing, hearing, touching, smelling or tasting something that is not there. The most common form of cocaine hallucination is auditory, which means hearing something that is not present.

Violence

As the person is confused and paranoid, there is a higher risk of distress and agitation. People may be in danger of causing harm to themselves or others around them. In the worst situations, someone experiencing a stimulant-induced psychosis could kill.

The cocaine psychosis symptoms will vary from person to person, but the danger is always present. People thinking about using the substance must know the risks.

How Long Does Stimulant Psychosis Last?

There is no set timeline for the length of stimulant psychosis. When someone is experiencing a cocaine psychosis, they could feel the effects as long as they are intoxicated.

Several factors dictate how long the intoxication will last, including:

  • The type of drug consumed
  • The dose or amount used
  • The route of administration (snorted, injected or smoked)
  • The person’s tolerance to the substance
  • Alcohol or other drugs being used in combination

Generally, someone smoking a small dose of crack cocaine will have an intense intoxication. However, this effect won’t last as long as the effects caused by snorting large amounts of powder cocaine. This difference is due to the drug’s ability to get into the blood and brain quicker when smoked.

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Most of the time, cocaine psychosis effects end a few hours or days after the last use. People must practice caution, though, because these unwanted symptoms can last for a month in some cases.

Cocaine and other stimulants are problematic drugs known to create many troublesome effects. If you are struggling to manage the consequences of cocaine use, it might be time for professional treatment. The experts at The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health are able to identify and treat substance use disorders as well as other co-occurring mental health conditions. Contact us today to learn more about treatment programs that can work well for you.

View Sources

American Psychiatric Association. “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition.” 2013. 

Morton, W.A. “Cocaine and Psychiatric Symptoms.” The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, August 1999. Accessed October 4, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Cocaine.” May 2016. Accessed October 4, 2019. 

World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed October 4, 2019.

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