Cocaine Abuse and Mental Health

Cocaine is a very powerful stimulant drug that comes in the form of a fine granular white powder. Some users consume cocaine by snorting, while others mix cocaine with other drugs such as heroin and turn it into a potent liquid which is injected directly into the bloodstream.

The substance can also be smoked, which in turn can lead to lung-related health issues and breathing difficulties.

Users of cocaine often chase the high and euphoric feelings that are experienced from cocaine use. Feelings of confidence, assurance and excitement are all heightened from consumption, but cocaine abuse can result in some damaging side effects that can have a great impact on a person’s physical and mental health.

A user may be aware of the physically damaging effects that cocaine abuse can have on their body, such as a deviated septum (with prolonged use), heightened blood pressure, pregnancy complications, weight loss, fits, heart palpitations, and difficulty sleeping, but the long-term mental health effects can also be severe and worrying. This is especially the case if a person has a high cocaine tolerance.

Impacts of Cocaine and Mental Health

People who frequently binge cocaine run a very dangerous risk for a user’s mental health. Side effects such as feeling on edge and restless, paranoid, and irritable are very common, with many users experiencing mood swings and anxiety because of cocaine use.

In extreme cases, a person can even develop psychosis from cocaine use, which is a serious mental health condition which requires professional treatment. Cocaine can cause the brain to experience hallucinations that feel powerful and hard to tell apart from reality. A common side effect of cocaine-induced psychosis is the user feeling convinced that they can fly.

Experiencing psychosis and other mental health disorders from cocaine abuse can be frightening for both the user and those around them.

Cocaine mental health side effects vary from person to person, and some people manage to recover their mental well-being after getting clean in rehab, but for some users, these effects can be long-term and permanent.

In many cases, cocaine has devastating consequences for those who binge use it regularly and many suffer from anxiety or psychosis as a result. For some people, the mental health effects of cocaine are like that of schizophrenia.

After the initial high, most cocaine users experience a crash in which they suddenly feel low, anxious, or scared as the euphoric effects wear off. Long-term use can cause mental health conditions like depression if a person becomes more dependent on cocaine to feel good.

Depression is common in cocaine abusers, especially in those who are heavily reliant on the drug to feel happy. Because the drug lowers dopamine levels and serotonin (the hormone which makes us feel happy), when it wears off the user can feel very low and even contemplate taking their own life.

Depression is very common in users who have entered rehab and are going through the detox and withdrawal process. Feeling low is common when experiencing cocaine withdrawal, and a user should therefore be closely monitored in rehab for their personal safety.

Does Cocaine Make You Paranoid?

Cocaine abuse is linked to several mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and paranoia. Find out more about how cocaine abuse can affect your mental health below:

Cocaine Abuse and Paranoia

Have you ever wondered, does cocaine make you paranoid? If you abuse cocaine heavily, experiencing symptoms of paranoia is highly likely. In a recent study, of 55 individuals with cocaine dependence, 53% reported transient cocaine-induced psychotic symptoms. Paranoia can be highly dangerous to the user under the influence of the drug and those around them.

Because cocaine can increase feelings of anger and irritability, a user can become worryingly aggressive and even harm themselves or others, meaning long-term consequences and even affecting the user’s relationships with others in the long term. Cocaine-related violent behaviours occur in as many as 55% of patients with cocaine-induced psychiatric symptoms.

Cocaine-induced Psychosis

Psychosis most commonly occurs in a cocaine user who takes the drug by snorting or smoking it. If a person abuses cocaine for a long time, psychosis can last from a few days to a few weeks.

Research suggests that psychosis happens due to a lack of dopamine levels in a person’s system when they are under the influence of cocaine, which can lead to long-term mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia long term.

Symptoms of cocaine-induced psychosis include:

  • Feeling anxious
  • Demonstrating violent, aggressive behaviour
  • Being delusional
  • Experiencing paranoia
  • Hallucinations and delirium
  • Lack of cognitive function
  • Confusion
  • Inability to articulate properly
  • Extreme depression/suicidal thoughts

Cocaine-induced Hallucinations

Cocaine can cause the brain to see and hear things that are not real. For an abuser, this can prove very dangerous as all senses are masked by the drug’s powerful effects. A user may become completely incapacitated as a result.

Almost half of cocaine users are unable to focus on present-day reality when taking the drug and may experience hallucinogenic dangers or threats that are imaginary. Frequently reported hallucinations from cocaine abuse involve a user feeling as though they are being monitored, followed by somebody, or watched when there is nothing and no one is present.

The Warning Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine use in the UK has become common for people on nights out while drinking, but cocaine abuse can affect your mental health negatively if used frequently. If you or someone you love has a problem with cocaine abuse, you should look out for the following mental health warning signs in their behaviour that could indicate an addiction:

  • Changes in behaviour
  • Restlessness
  • Being overly confident or talkative
  • Over-confidence
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Taking risks

If you have noticed some or all of the above symptoms, get in touch with us at Ocean Recovery. We are a private rehab facility that offers cocaine rehab treatment based on Blackpool Beach, offering alternative and research-based therapies for cocaine addiction and mental health problems which have arisen as a result.

Get in touch with us today at 0800 880 7596 if you are worried about cocaine abuse and would like advice on rehab options.


Please click on one of the below links for more information on the Cocaine addiction treatment we offer.

Cocaine Detox Cocaine Rehab

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: October 12, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.