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Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

a man struggles with the long term effects of cocaine abuse

The stimulant drug cocaine has been around since the 1800s when it was first synthesized from the coca plant in South America. It was initially used widely in medicines and remedies. Though still used in a few specific medical applications today, it is considered a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act because it is highly addictive. Between one-fifth and one-tenth of people who seek rehab for substance abuse are addicted to cocaine. Cocaine addiction treatment can help people get started on their recovery and begin to mitigate the long-term effects of cocaine abuse on the body’s systems.

To learn more about the effects of cocaine, how to recognize cocaine abuse in a loved one or friend, and what the best options are for cocaine rehab, reach out to Evoke Wellness today. We have expertise in cocaine addiction treatment as well as a compassionate understanding of what you are going through. Call us at 866.429.2960 or use our online form to connect with us.

The Immediate Effects of Cocaine on the Brain

Like many misused and addictive psychotropic drugs, cocaine interacts with the brain’s reward center, where naturally occurring chemicals like dopamine are released, triggering a pleasure response. These parts of the brain are also activated by exciting or joyful events and sensations, like weddings or the sounds of a band playing your favorite music. Cocaine blocks the brain’s ability to flush out the high levels of dopamine that it releases, which amplifies the sensations associated with dopamine, like:

  • Increased energy
  • Elevated mood
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced anxiety and inhibitions
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Feelings of empowerment

These feelings often bring people back to use cocaine again and again. They also are the main reason people tend to go on cocaine binges, which postpone the inevitable but dreaded crash that comes when cocaine finally leaves the system, leaving the individual mentally and physically drained.

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Some of the effects of cocaine occur relatively quickly during and after misuse of the drug has begun. Others are long-term effects that are the most concerning of all.

Each time someone uses or binges cocaine, the following physical and psychological symptoms occur and can endure for hours or days:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • High blood pressure and rapid heart rate
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort, cramping, nausea, and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Mood swings, anxiety, and paranoia

When someone is addicted to cocaine and abuses it often and over time, there is a danger of severe effects, such as:

  • Overdose – A cascade of cocaine’s effects can result in overdose with possible heart failure, seizures, stroke, respiratory failure, and cerebral hemorrhage.
  • Cardiovascular risks – Cocaine puts users at high risk for heart attack and stroke due to the fact that chronic users have hypertension and the walls of their arteries and heart have become thicker than those of people who do not use cocaine.
  • Changes in brain structures – Some long-term chronic users experience brain changes that can include loss of gray matter and result in a decline in cognitive functioning.
  • ENT complications – Many people snort cocaine, which can lead to chronic sinus issues that include nose bleeds, constant dripping nose, difficulty swallowing, deviated septum, and permanent hoarseness.
  • Lung problems– For those who smoke cocaine, such as crack, their respiratory system can be damaged, leading to chronic cough, shortness of breath, emphysema, and bleeding in the lungs.

There is really no safe level of cocaine use, and when it is combined with alcohol—which is common—the risks increase exponentially. If you are an occasional user, you will be able to stop easily. If you cannot, you are likely addicted and need professional help and support. Evidence-based treatments in a rehab setting are your best bet.

Today Is the Day to Contact Evoke Wellness about Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Someone is ready to answer your call 866.429.2960 or respond quickly to your online inquiry. Don’t wait. Getting answers to your questions about the effects of cocaine abuse on your mental and physical health will empower you to take more steps toward recovery. Let Evoke Wellness be part of your future.