How Cocaine Side Effects Affect You

Any drug a person takes has certain side effects. This is true for prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and especially illicit drugs such as cocaine. To expect no side effects is simply unreasonable. What we intend to explain here is how cocaine side effects can be harmful to users. The longer a person uses cocaine, the more likely he or she is to experience the most serious of those side effects.

To begin with, we should note that cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It produces pleasurable effects by disabling the brain’s ability to handle certain chemicals occurring naturally within the human body. This leads to increased amounts of other chemicals, like dopamine, for example, that stimulate the brain’s pleasure centre. This is why cocaine is so highly addictive.

Cocaine can be used for medical purposes in small amounts, especially as a local anaesthetic. However, its highly addictive nature discourages the medical community from using any medications containing the drug. Alternatives are used whenever possible.

Immediate and Short-Term Cocaine Side Effects

One of the characteristics of cocaine that makes it especially attractive as a recreational drug is its ability to create pleasurable feelings very quickly. For example, smoking freebase or rock cocaine gets the drug to the brain a lot faster than snorting powdered cocaine.

Once cocaine is in the system, it has immediate and short-term side effects, as follows:

  • feelings of euphoria
  • feelings of invincibility and confidence
  • increased energy and alertness
  • higher heart rate and body temperature
  • reduced appetite
  • reduced sensitivity to pain.

Smoking crack cocaine induces the side effects almost immediately. The effects peak at two or three minutes before gradually subsiding, eventually being gone altogether in about 10 minutes. The effects of cocaine last up to 30 minutes when snorted. But even at 30 minutes, that’s not much of a high for someone who’s looking to sustain those pleasurable feelings for hours. And therein is the trap of cocaine.

Imagine a person intending to use cocaine to keep up with an all-night rave. If the side effects of crack cocaine last only 10 minutes, it is likely the user will take several hits during the course of the night. Do that two nights in a row and the person could be at the edge of addiction in 48 hours. The short-term effects of cocaine encourage more frequent use and thereby greater incidence of addiction.

Long-Term Cocaine Side Effects

It is incredibly rare to use cocaine over an extended period of time and not experience harmful side effects as a result. The first and most harmful side effect is obviously addiction. Any drug addiction has the potential of being deadly, which is bad enough, but it also has the potential of destroying a person’s life by robbing him or her of finances, wrecking all of his/her relationships, leaving him/him isolated, and with no hope for the future.

Above and beyond the consequences of addiction, consider these other long-term side effects of cocaine use:

  • Heart Disease – The link between cocaine use and heart disease is undeniable. Because of the stimulating effects of the drug, cocaine can exacerbate an existing heart disease considerably. But long-term exposure can lead to heart disease where none previously existed. Heart attacks and other problems are common among long-term cocaine users.
  • Hypertension – High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is another common side effect of long-term cocaine use. Hypertension has been linked to heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions.
  • Respiratory Problems – Long-term cocaine users are prone to all sorts of respiratory problems. Snorting cocaine can damage the nose while smoking the drug harms the lungs, airways, sinuses, and nasal cavities.
  • Infectious Diseases – When cocaine is injected, it can lead to long-term side effects including ulcers, gangrene, vein collapse, and infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
  • Mental Illness – One of the long-term side effects of cocaine rarely talked about is mental illness. Cocaine addicts are very susceptible to clinical depression, anxiety, paranoia and schizophrenia, panic attacks, and more.
  • Recklessness – Because cocaine causes users to feel invincible, they tend to also engage in reckless behaviour. Over long periods of time, this reckless behaviour can become violent behaviour. Cocaine addicts are prone to violent outbursts, serious injuries caused by accidents, and premature death as a result of recklessness.

One last thing to consider is the high probability of cocaine overdose. Taking too much of the drug in too short time can raise both body temperature and heart rate to fatal levels. However, it’s rare for an overdose to occur with just cocaine alone. Most people who die while using the drug have mixed it with something else, like alcohol, for example.

Mixing cocaine with alcohol is essentially mixing a stimulant with a depressant. The alcohol negates the effects of cocaine somewhat, prompting the user to use more cocaine too quickly. Then the same issues of high heart rate and body temperature can lead to death.

Help Is Available Right Now

We hope this discussion of cocaine side effects has alarmed you. That is the point. We want you to be worried enough about cocaine to get help. Whether you are using cocaine yourself or you’re concerned about someone else, this is a drug you absolutely do not want to take lightly.

All across the UK, untold numbers of people are already addicted to freebase and crack cocaine. All of them started out with just a single hit. Some of them developed their addictions in short order while others took longer, but once addicted it doesn’t really matter. The side effects of cocaine do not discriminate based on how long a person took to get hooked.

Help is available for your cocaine addiction right now. You need only contact us on our 24-hour helpline to access a treatment opportunity. With one call, we can connect you with a residential rehab facility offering the kind of bespoke treatment plan you need to kick your habit.

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