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Cocaine-Induced Psychosis: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

Home » Blog » Cocaine-Induced Psychosis: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

It’s no secret that cocaine is extremely dangerous. Anyone who abuses this drug risk addiction, overdose, and death. In today’s post, we take a closer look at another potential effect that many people may not even be aware of: cocaine-induced psychosis.

If you feel that you or a loved one is suffering from cocaine-induced psychosis, call us now at 678-325-7250 or verify your insurance now. Our cocaine addiction treatment program in Atlanta may be able to help.

What Is Cocaine-Induced Psychosis?

Psychosis refers to a set of symptoms that hamper a person’s ability to perceive their environment and interact with others. These symptoms can result from various mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder. They can also be brought about by certain types of substance abuse, such as cocaine-induced psychosis.

Studies suggest that about half of all people who use cocaine on a regular basis will develop psychotic symptoms at some point, either while actively using the drug or as an effect of withdrawal.

Cocaine-induced psychosis can be extremely distressing, both to the person who experiences it and to their loved ones. Thankfully, when a person gets the help they need to end their cocaine abuse, their psychotic symptoms should subside.

Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine-Induced Psychosis

As defined in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the five common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized behavior, and negative symptoms.

For people who develop cocaine-induced psychosis, the two most prevalent symptoms are hallucinations and delusions.


Hallucinations are perceptions of stimuli that don’t actually exist. The two most common types of hallucinations involve sight (visual) and sound (auditory) – but people can also experience hallucinations that involve touch (tactile), smell (olfactory), and taste (gustatory).

  • Someone who has a visual hallucination may claim to see people, objects, or light patterns that no one else can see. In the context of substance abuse, visual hallucinations are probably most closely associated with drugs such as LSD – but they can also be a symptom of cocaine-induced psychosis.
  • A person who experiences auditory hallucinations may believe that they are hearing voices, music, or other sounds. They may think that the sounds are emanating from an external source or from inside their own head.


Delusions are rigid beliefs that a person holds fast to, even if it can be easily disproven or clearly has no basis in reality. Examples of common delusions include:

  • Believing that they are in a relationship with someone famous that they’ve never actually met
  • Alleging they are being spied on by some mysterious person or shadowy organization
  • Insisting that they are being harassed or persecuted
  • Claiming that they have special talents or magical abilities
  • Thinking that they are being sent coded messages through TV broadcasts, films, newspapers, or other forms of mass media

Though paranoia is not one of the five psychotic symptoms listed in the DSM-5, people who experience certain hallucinations and delusions frequently also struggle with paranoia. Among individuals who have cocaine-induced psychosis, paranoia is a common symptom. 

What Causes Cocaine-Induced Psychosis?

There is no single cause of cocaine-induced psychosis, but there are several risk factors that can influence the likelihood that someone will develop this condition, such as:

  • Age (cocaine-induced psychosis appears to be more common among younger people)
  • Heavy, long-term cocaine abuse
  • Prior substance abuse 
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders

Treatment Options for Cocaine-Induced Psychosis

Treatment for someone who has been experiencing cocaine-induced psychosis often focuses on two general goals:

  • Helping the person end their cocaine use
  • Alleviating the psychotic symptoms

To accomplish these goals, comprehensive treatment that incorporates both medication and therapy may be the best approach. Determining which medications and therapies are best for each person is a decision that should be based on a thorough assessment of the individual’s history and needs.

One important part of this assessment is determining if the person’s psychotic symptoms are, indeed, the result of their cocaine abuse, or if they are related to schizophrenia or another dual diagnosis disorder.

Once the evaluation is complete, the individual’s treatment team may incorporate elements such as the following into their customized plan:

Prior to the end of a person’s time in treatment for cocaine addiction and cocaine-induced psychosis, they should receive a discharge plan to guide their continued progress. This plan may include information about community-based services and resources that can help them manage their symptoms and maintain their recovery after they have transitioned out of treatment.

Find Treatment for Cocaine Addiction in Atlanta

If you or someone that you care about has been experiencing psychotic symptoms as a result of cocaine addiction, Peachtree Recovery Solutions is here to help. 

Programming options at our cocaine addiction treatment center in Atlanta include detoxification, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP) with both day and evening sessions, and traditional outpatient rehab programming. We also offer gender-specific services for both men and women.

Throughout a person’s time with us, they will be cared for by a team of compassionate experts within a safe and highly supportive environment. We understand that every person who struggles with cocaine addiction is impacted in a unique manner, and we are committed to providing a truly individualized experience to every person who turns to us in their time of need.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.