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Cocaine Induced Hallucinations (Formication & Coke Bugs)

Cocaine is a powerful drug that can produce hallucinations in those who use it. More than half of people who’ve used cocaine report symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. These hallucinations can be frightening and often lead to users experiencing paranoia and other adverse effects. Formications are tactile hallucinations that can be auditory and visual.

Cocaine and speed users can experience this phenomenon which makes it seem like bugs are crawling up and down your skin which is why they gained the name coke bugs. If you are experiencing cocaine-induced hallucinations, it is essential to seek professional help immediately.

What Are Cocaine-Induced Hallucinations?

Cocaine is a significant stimulant that can cause a wide range of effects in users, from increased energy and euphoria to anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. When someone does cocaine abuse, they may experience auditory or visual hallucinations – sensations that seem real but are not there.

These hallucinations can be very concerning and even frightening for the user. If you are concerned that you or someone you know is experiencing cocaine-induced hallucinations, it is essential to seek help immediately.

Cocaine Hallucinations (Formication)

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What are Coke Bugs?

What are Coke Bugs? Many people who use cocaine report feeling like bugs crawling on or under their skin. This sensation is called formication (also known as psychosis symptoms) and can be very distressing. Some people may even try to scratch or pick at their skin to get rid of the imaginary bugs. In severe cases, formication can lead to self-harm and even psychosis.

So what causes this strange and disturbing illusion? One theory is that cocaine use can cause the brain to misfire, leading to false perceptions. Cocaine can also increase certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This surge of chemicals may overstimulate the brain and lead to hallucinations.

Formication is also a common symptom of delirium tremens, which can occur when someone stops drinking alcohol after a period of heavy drinking. While coke bugs may be imaginary, they can still have a real and lasting impact on those who experience them.

What is a Formication?

Formication is the sensation of something crawling on or under your skin. The name comes from the Latin word “Formica,” meaning ant. Formication can be caused by many things, including insects, exposure to certain chemicals, and medical conditions like diabetes and fibromyalgia. The sensation can range from mildly annoying to downright debilitating.

In some cases, formication can lead to self-mutilation as people try to scratch or dig the “crawling” sensation out of their skin. While there is no cure for formication, there are treatments that can help lessen the feeling and make it more bearable. If you’re dealing with formication, you should seek help immediately and if the hallucinations are escalating you should call 911.

Which Drugs Can Cause Formication?

Any drug that alters the normal functioning of the central nervous system (CNS) has the potential to cause formication. This includes both illegal drugs and prescription medications. Stimulants, such as amphetamines like meth and cocaine, are particularly likely to cause formication.

This is because they increase nerve activity, leading to a crawling sensation on the skin. Other drugs that can cause formication include anticholinergics, antihistamines, and antipsychotics. Some formication may be caused by underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or an infection. If you experience persistent formication, you must see a doctor to rule out any underlying causes.


How Long Do Cocaine Inducing Hallucinations (Cocaine Psychosis) Last?

How long do cocaine-inducing hallucinations last? It is complicated to say because it depends on how much cocaine is used, the method of administration, and the individual’s metabolism. However, in general, the effects of cocaine will peak within 30 minutes and then wear off within an hour.

Hallucinations caused by cocaine use are typically visual, but they can also be auditory or tactile. The intensity of the hallucinations will also vary depending on the person. Some may see simple patterns or colors, while others may have more complex hallucinations that involve people or animals.

After the effects of cocaine intoxication have worn off, people may experience a “crash,” which can include feelings of depression, anxiety, and fatigue. So, while the initial effects of cocaine use may only last for a short period of time, the after-effects can last much longer.

What Should You Do If Someone Around You Is Experiencing Formication?

If you believe someone you love is suffering from cocaine hallucinations, you should seek professional medical help. Cocaine is a powerful and dangerous drug, and anyone using it is at risk of severe health complications, including hallucinations. If you cannot get the person to a doctor or hospital, call 911 and explain the situation to the operator.

They will be able to dispatch emergency medical personnel to your location. In the meantime, try to keep the person calm and encourage them to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water or juice. Cocaine hallucinations can be extremely frightening, but with professional help, most people make a full recovery.

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What Are The Signs Of Cocaine Use?

Signs of cocaine dependence can be divided into three categories: behavioral, physical, and psychological. Behavioral symptoms include changes in phone use, sleeping, and eating patterns, as well as increased secrecy and financial problems.

Physical signs include dilated pupils, weight loss, nosebleeds, and a runny nose. Psychological Signs include paranoia, anxiety, irritability, and depression. If you feel any of these signs in yourbody or someone you know, getting help as soon as possible is essential.

Cocaine addiction is a severe condition that can lead to long-term health problems and even death. If you think there is someone you know may be using cocaine, please call us to help with drug addiction treatment or Bipolar Disorder Treatment Services.

What Are The Symptoms Of Formication?

Symptoms and diagnosis of Cocaine-induced hallucinations can be divided into two types: visual and auditory. Visual hallucinations are more common and can take the form of seeing things that are not there, such as shapes or colors. Auditory hallucinations are less common and involve hearing things that are not there, such as voices or music.

Diagnosing cocaine-induced hallucinations can be difficult, as other conditions, such as schizophrenia, can cause them along with disrupted brain function from a neck issue. However, a mental health professional will usually take a detailed history and perform a physical examination to rule out other causes.

If no other reason is found, a diagnosis of cocaine-induced hallucinations is traditionally made. Treatment for cocaine-induced hallucinations generally involves stopping the use of the drug and treating any underlying mental illness condition.

Other Issues From Cocaine Use

In addition to seeing hallucinations, there are many different side effects to cocaine use. Some of the main side effects include the following:

Conclusion To Formication and Tactile Hallucinations

Formication is a false perception that bugs are infesting your skin. This can be extremely uncomfortable and can happen when meth or cocaine psychosis sets in which is one of the reasons these “formications” are also referred to as “coke bugs”. These events happen when an individual is “tweaking” or using a stimulant in excess and it can be very uncomfortable.

People struggling with cocaine use also use poly substances (meaning they ingest more than one drug at the same time). When tactile hallucinations occur when someone is mixing cocaine with alcohol, the issue can be even worse. If you or someone you know struggles with cocaine use and psychosis, help is available.

At The Magnified Health Systems, a team of professionals can design an individualized treatment program to suit your specific conditions. Call and speak with a representative to learn more about which program could work for you. Addiction Treatment is available can help you get your life back on track.


What are cocaine-induced hallucinations?

Cocaine-induced hallucinations are a type of hallucination that can occur after using cocaine. They can be either visual, auditory, or tactile. The intensity of the hallucinations will vary depending on the person. Some may see simple patterns or colors, while others may have more complex hallucinations that involve seeing things that are not there.

What causes cocaine-induced hallucinations?

The use of cocaine causes cocaine-induced hallucinations. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that increases levels of dopamine in the brain. This can lead to changes in brain chemistry that can result in hallucinations.

Are cocaine-induced hallucinations dangerous? 

Cocaine-induced hallucinations may be extremely dangerous. Most times they are just frightening and may lead to panic or anxiety. However, in circumstances, the hallucinations can be so bad that the person suffering from the hallucinations may hurt themself or someone else. If the cocaine-induced hallucinations are severe you should call 911 the police immediately since the person suffering may be a harm to themself or someone else.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.

Picture of This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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