Get Clean – Call us today!

Cocaine and Seizures

You hear about the negative side effects of illicit substances all the time. “Cocaine causes seizures,” “Cocaine causes blood clots,” and so on. But you have never experienced these effects, you must be immune to them, right?

Truth be told, there is no guarantee that one of these side effects isn’t lurking around the corner. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, cocaine can cause seizures in seconds or minutes. Because of the involvement with the heart, cocaine can even result in a heart attack while seizing, and the outcome is not ideal.

Clean Recovery Centers understands all facets of cocaine use disorder, and we are here to shed light on topics surrounding use. Let’s look at the correlation between cocaine and seizures, and what to do if you or someone around you experiences one.

cocaine and seizures clean recovery centers

the link between cocaine use and seizuresThe Link Between Cocaine Use and Seizures

Cocaine is a well-known stimulant derived from the coca plant of South America. Though the plant itself can serve medicinal purposes, cocaine is more commonly misused throughout the United States.

Most are familiar with the effects of cocaine – increased productivity and alertness alongside a rush of euphoria and heightened senses. What many don’t realize is that cocaine is linked to causing seizures, even if the person is not prone to them. This is because there is a link between the seizure threshold in the brain being lowered by cocaine. What does this mean? The brain can only handle a certain threshold of stimulation, potentially triggering a seizure while taking cocaine.

Can Cocaine Induce Seizures?

There are different ways cocaine can induce seizures. The most common type of seizure associated with cocaine use is a tonic-clonic seizure, also known as a grand-mal. Grand-mal seizures cause a tonic state at first where the person is almost frozen in the moment. This is followed by involuntary muscle contractions throughout the body. The person is often unaware that a seizure is taking place, and once it subsides, they may take a few minutes to remember where they are and what happened.

Most cocaine-induced seizures are a one-time event, isolated incidents from taking the substance. One reason behind this is the lowered threshold we mentioned above. When the brain thinks it can handle more stimulation than is actually true, a seizure can result. These seizures are not typically life-threatening as they occur once and are over in a few minutes. However, if the seizure persists longer, brain damage can result.

Cocaine can also induce seizures from an overdose. During a cocaine overdose, the central nervous system is sped up beyond normal function. When this occurs, heart rate and body temperature rise, but the appropriate responses are dulled or unable to intervene. If body temperature becomes too high, seizures can result. Again, seizures can cause permanent brain damage and should always be handled with professional medical care.

What Are the Causes Behind Cocaine-Induced Seizures?

Cocaine use itself and overdose are the top two causes behind cocaine-induced seizures. Those who already have a seizure condition or are genetically predisposed to seizures are more likely to experience a cocaine-induced seizure if they take a dose. When cocaine is mixed with other substances such as alcohol or opioids, it can mask the effects. This can lead the person to take more cocaine, which increases the risk of an overdose. With all of these substances in the system, the body cannot indicate that it is overheating, resulting in the person possibly experiencing a cocaine-induced seizure.

Spotting Seizure Symptoms Caused By Cocaine

Grand-mal seizures have their own symptoms, no matter what causes them. Common symptoms include:

  • Stiffness of the body
  • Falling to the ground and possibly hitting nearby objects
  • Jerking movements especially in the arms and legs
  • Clenching of the jaw, biting of the cheeks and tongue, and difficulty breathing
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

In some cases, the person may cry out before a seizure occurs. Once they awaken, they will be confused, drowsy, and embarrassed or scared. They may need help remembering where they are and what happened leading up to the seizure.

What Should You Do If Someone Is Having a Seizure?

Though seizures tend to only last a few minutes, they are still a medical emergency. Seizures stem from the brain, and there is no surefire way to know if one occurred from cocaine use alone or if there is an underlying condition.

During a seizure, try to help the person to the ground as gently as possible. Make sure to move objects out of the way that could possibly be kicked or fall. If possible, turn the person on their side to prevent choking and reduce biting wounds in the mouth. Whatever you do, do not attempt to restrain the person as this can cause injury. Call for help while waiting for the seizure to pass. When speaking with medical help, be honest about all substances taken so they can properly treat the person.

Cocaine and Seizure Disorders: Is There a Connection?

Cocaine does not trigger the development of seizure disorders, but it can exacerbate symptoms in those who already have one. The brain is made up of electrical pathways and sends signals throughout the body for numerous functions. A seizure disrupts these circuits, resulting in misfires that can lead to damage and complications. Seizures can trigger strokes which cause bleeding within the brain. Once the brain becomes damaged, there is a possibility it will be irreversible.

Those taking cocaine tend to be malnourished and do not prioritize self-care. The person may not take their anti-seizure medications as prescribed, leaving them at risk for experiencing a cocaine-induced seizure. Once a seizure event has occurred, those with a seizure disorder such as epilepsy may experience more even after cocaine has left the system, which can be life-threatening.

Other Neurological Problems That Stem From Cocaine

Cocaine can cause blood clots which can lead to strokes. When a stroke occurs, blood flow is blocked to that area of the brain. This causes brain cell death and damage, and if left untreated, leads to permanent damage to the area affected. Motor skills, speech, and memory can all be affected when this happens. Cocaine can also cause thickening of the artery walls in the body, including the brain. Aneurysms can form and burst, causing bleeds in the brain that are most often life-threatening. If left untreated, the brain can become swollen to the point it can no longer function, shutting down vital systems and possibly leading to death.

Getting Help for Cocaine Addiction in Largo, FL

Experiencing a seizure from cocaine is scary enough, but what if you find you can’t stop taking it? This is where treatment for cocaine addiction comes in to help. Through guided therapies and groups, you will be able to address your cocaine use disorder head-on, while skill-building classes aid in your future recovery. Cocaine can seem like a crutch, holding you together when life becomes too much. Treatment will allow you to develop healthy coping skills and rediscover your passions. You have a future, it’s time to embrace it cocaine-free.

If you or someone you love is managing a cocaine use disorder, help is available right here on the Gulf Coast. Clean Recovery Centers welcomes all seeking recovery, and we utilize a unique, three-phase approach unlike any other. Mental health is an important part of treatment, and our team can diagnose and treat mental health conditions no matter the phase of treatment you are in. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.

FAQs About Cocaine-Induced Seizures

Can cocaine interact with anti-seizure medications?

Yes, cocaine can interfere with anti-seizure medications. Cocaine lowers the seizure threshold, and in those with a seizure condition, cocaine can increase the risks of experiencing an event. Even after cocaine has left the system, it can still cause an increase in seizure activity.

Recent Posts

Meth Face

Will the face you fell in love with still exist in another five years? When your loved one is living with a meth use disorder, this isn’t just a question – it can be a very real fear. Research finds that nearly one in four people who take methamphetamine regularly...

Cocaine and Nausea

“Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down. Sometimes it made me paranoid and impotent, but mostly it just made me withdrawn.” – Robin Williams Cocaine use doesn’t begin for no reason. Mental health, life stresses, and the...

Cocaine Tools

Would you question seeing a smear of white film on the back of a CD you let your son borrow? What about seeing your daughter wearing a miniature spoon-shaped necklace you have never seen before – do you ask about it? Knowing about cocaine tools can help parents and...

Signs of Meth Addiction

In 2021, 2.5 million people reported taking meth in the last 12 months in the United States. It’s easy to think this number doesn’t affect you, or that meth has no way to enter your life. Until your son starts acting differently, always paranoid that people are...

Meth Overdose

“She goes from one addiction to another. All are ways for her to not feel her feelings,” – Ellen Burstyn No one takes a substance and hopes for dependence. Many just want relief from the world – the stress of money, responsibility, fear, sadness, and loneliness....