The Effects of Cocaine on the Body
Cocaine is a versatile drug; it can be inhaled, smoked, or injected. No matter how it is consumed, the effects of the drug hit the brain fast, releasing dopamine in a feel-good euphoria.
The problem? Cocaine has serious side effects and is highly addictive. To achieve the same high, the user has to ingest increasingly large amounts, which take a huge toll on the body and mind.
This article explains the effects of cocaine on your body, how harmful it is, and where can addicts turn for help with cocaine addiction.
Physical Effects of Cocaine Use
The high experienced from cocaine lasts only for a short time, typically from five to 30 minutes. That is why it is so easy to become addicted; users continually try to return to that state of high. Chasing it can lead to addiction, and the short-and long-term effects of cocaine are severe and potentially deadly.
Some of the dangerous effects of cocaine include:
- Nasal Collapse: For cocaine users that snort the substance, the negative health effect starts in the nose. While cocaine absorbs quickly into the bloodstream, the delicate linings in the nose can suffer irrevocable damage. The blood vessels in the nasal passages rapidly constrict upon inhaling the cocaine, and then, when the effect wears off, widen, causing a dripping, red nose in the frequent user. While that may not sound like a big deal, the long-term user of cocaine can actually burn a hole in the septum, that piece of cartilage between the nostrils. In extreme cases, the hole can stretch into the roof of the mouth or the nose can collapse.
- Mental Disorders: Cocaine users spiral quickly into giddiness and down just as fast into depression and anger. The drug can cause paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior. Impulsive, reckless, and uncontrolled behaviors, along with hypersexuality and poor decision-making are common. What can happen inside the brain is even more frightening. Cocaine users are at risk of an aneurysm, when the arteries in the organ begin to leak blood, damaging the brain and potentially leading to death.
- Chest Pain: The top reason for a cocaine user to visit an ER is chest pain. Cocaine causes the blood vessels to tighten, restricting blood to the heart. In these instances, chest pain is the least of your worries; heart rhythm disturbances or heart attack are possible. Long-term cocaine use damages the aorta of the heart, often with a heart attack as the final result. It also leads to a dangerous accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries, especially the arteries around the heart.
- Liver Damage: Many cocaine users mix the drug with alcohol. The effect makes the cocaine high last a little longer because the alcohol inhibits liver function. The liver works to detoxify the body. When alcohol is consumed, it actually creates a new chemical in the liver, which is very dangerous. In fact, cocaine becomes 18 times more dangerous when consumed with alcohol.
Reversing the Effects of Cocaine Use
Understanding the health ramifications of any drug is one of the first important steps toward seeking health. Washington State drug rehab is designed to help people regain control of their addictions. While we may not be able to reverse the damage that already occurred, we can help your mind and body to heal. There is help available. Contact us now to break free from enslavement to cocaine and live your life as it is meant to be lived.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.