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Cocaine & The Body: The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine & The Body: The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cocaine
Updated August 2021
In 2011, a Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report showed that cocaine was involved in 505,224 of the nearly 1.3 million emergency room visits for drug misuse or abuse. This equates to over one in three drug misuse or abuse-related emergency room  visits (40 percent) that involved cocaine.1 Not only is cocaine highly addictive, but there are several negative effects of cocaine abuse on the body and the brain. With time, these problems can get worse and more serious. While addicts use the drug for its euphoric and stimulating effects, they often do not realize the damage they are doing to their bodies and the short and long-term effects of cocaine use.

What Does Cocaine Do to Your Body?

  Cocaine can produce a stimulating and euphoric high, clog your arteries, collapse your veins, and produce numerous short and long-term side effects that can be life-threatening. The exact short and long-term side effects of cocaine will depend on a variety of factors such as the frequency of abuse, dosage, combination with other substances, and the user’s overall health. While some people may experience more serious side effects than others, cocaine use will cause the user’s body to react in some way, shape, or form. As a drug rehab in Naperville, we work with people in various stages of cocaine addiction and see the effects of cocaine on the body in both the long- and short term.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

  Most people will take cocaine because of the euphoric high that the substance provides. Almost immediately after consumption, the user will begin to experience the psychological and physical effects of this drug.

If you suspect that your loved one could be using, you should look out for these short-term effects of cocaine use including:2,3

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased levels of dopamine causing a high and making the user feel more alert and energetic
  • Possible tremors or muscle twitches
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli
  • Possible headaches
  • Possible psychosis or agitated mental health issues

While the immediate effects of cocaine are powerful, the high only lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes, perpetuating continued use. If your loved one is exhibiting many of these signs, they probably need professional help. Our PHP treatment in Chicago is available to assist before the negative effects of cocaine use turn into more severe long-term issues.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

  Although a cocaine high is temporary, the effects of cocaine abuse on the body are long-lasting. Long-term cocaine use increases the likelihood of experiencing negative effects on the body and the brain. Without proper cocaine treatment to help the addict stop using the drug, the long-term effects can be devastating and overwhelming. Some of the most common long-term effects of cocaine use on the body include:4

  • Changes in brain chemistry, which cause the addict to crave the drug when exposed to triggers
  • Nasal issues from snorting cocaine – loss of smell, holes in the septum, runny noses, and swallowing problems
  • Significantly increased risk of heart attacks
  • Changes to metabolism and problems storing fat
  • Neurological problems that could lead to seizures, strokes, and even coma
  • Weight loss and malnourishment from decreased appetite
  • Lung problems from smoking including pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and tumors

It’s important to understand that what cocaine does to your body can lead to permanent consequences, overdose, and death. At Banyan Chicago, we want to help you avoid these cocaine risks. If you or your loved one is struggling with cocaine abuse or another drug addiction, do not wait to find support. Contact us today at 888-280-4763 to begin your physical, mental, and emotional recovery from cocaine addiction.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?
  2. NCBI – Drug abuse and stroke
  3. ScienceDirect – Cocaine: History, Social Implications, and Toxicity—A Review
  4. NCBI – Respiratory complications of cocaine abuse

Related Reading:
Cocaine-Induced Psychosis
What Does Cocaine Do To Your Nose?
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Cocaine & The Body: The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cocaine
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