What are the Key Side Effects of Cocaine Use?

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

side effects of cocaine use

If you use cocaine, you run the risk of an addiction. If you or someone you love is at risk, look out for these key side effects that can indicate cocaine use and the associated risks.

A drug addiction comes with certain risks. No matter which drug you take, there will be side effects. This goes for everything from sleeping tablets to herbal remedies to cocaine addiction. If you take a drug, expect a reaction.

Unfortunately one of the worst reactions you can have is to Class A drugs like cocaine. If you suffer from cocaine addiction, you should prepare yourself for the short-term and long-term side effects that drugs can have.


What Are the Side Effects of Cocaine Use?

Cocaine addiction comes with multiple side effects, all dependent on how long you used it and how heavily you used it. There are short-term effects which will go away if you stop using cocaine.

Then there are long-term cocaine side effects which will impact your life for years to come. Usually, you need to use cocaine for a prolonged period to pick up these long-term effects. We split the cocaine side effects into two categories below.


Short-Term Cocaine Side Effects

Using cocaine produces a short-lived euphoric effect. If you snort the cocaine, it has a longer onset time than smoking it, but the high won’t last as long. The short-term effect of cocaine is a euphoria, which lasts no more than 15 minutes.

Short-term cocaine side effects include constriction of the blood vessels which can cause problems for those with existing heart conditions. It also alters your heart rate and your blood pressure, making it a triple dangerous drug for those with heart conditions.

Cocaine causes a rise in temperature, potentially violent or strange behaviour, irritability, restlessness, paranoia, and panic attacks. As well as all of this, you can experience muscle spasms, vertigo, and tremors.

So, to summarise, short-term cocaine side effects include:

  • Euphoria (15 minutes)
  • Constriction of the blood vessels
  • Increased heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Rise in temperature
  • Violent or unusual behaviour
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle spasms


Long-Term Cocaine Side Effects

If you continue to use cocaine over an extended period, your brain will get used to the limited dopamine uptake - and not in a good way. The circuits in your brain which create stress go into overdrive.

You will begin to experience more and more bad moods as your brain tries to correct itself. You will begin to take less and less enjoyment over the pleasurable things in life. As you use cocaine for longer, you will need increasing amounts of it to get the same effect.

Cocaine can start to cause anxiety when you take it and when you don’t take it. You may experience convulsions and toxicity symptoms. You become more sensitive to the potential contraindications between cocaine and alcohol. Long-term exposure to cocaine can lead to several health problems, including:

  • Irritability and irrational behaviour
  • Restlessness
  • Negative psychological and physiological symptoms
  • Loss of smell, nosebleeds, and the erosion of the nasal septum (the skin which separates your nostrils)
  • Worsening of respiratory conditions
  • Needle users have a higher risk of Hep C or HIV
  • Potential for allergic reactions due to sensitivity to toxicity built up over time
  • Tears and lesions in the digestive tract
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Chest pains
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Increased risk of heart attacks
  • Aortic ruptures
  • Strokes and seizures
  • Bleeding on the brain
  • Movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease
  • Inattention
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Deterioration of motor skills


In short, long-term cocaine side effects can make your quality of life awful. This party drug can destroy your life.


Other Risks Associated with Cocaine Use

You can run into serious trouble with cocaine use if you have an undiagnosed heart disease. You are at increased risk from:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Neurological problems
  • Coma


Cocaine seizes your digestive system, causing pain, nausea, and even vomiting. While you might begin by snorting powder cocaine or smoking crack cocaine, advanced users tend to inject it. If you inject cocaine, you are at increased risk from infections, vein collapse, HIV, and other bloodborne diseases.


Alcohol and Cocaine Contraindications

A contraindication is the effect two drugs have on you while they meet in your body. Cocaine and alcohol used at the same time are particularly dangerous. When used together, cocaine and alcohol create a substance called cocaethylene.

This substance has similar effects to cocaine and blocks the reuptake of dopamine by your body. This substance increases the heart’s need for oxygen exponentially, potentially killing you.

In scientific studies, scientists found cocaethylene to be more harmful than cocaine alone. It is most commonly found in patients post-mortem, in patients who died from mixing cocaine with other drugs or/ and alcohol.


What to Do if You Have a Cocaine Addiction?

If you have a cocaine or crack addiction, there are treatment options available to you. The best course of action is to find a rehab clinic with a detox facility, where you can stay until you recover from your cocaine addiction.

You can go to rehab full-time or part-time, you can go to dayhab, or you can choose to go through the NHS. We warn you that this is slower than a private rehab clinic. Your treatment in a rehab facility will involve medically assisted detox which helps you manage the cocaine withdrawal symptoms better.

Afterwards, you will move onto the rehab portion of your stay. Cocaine rehab includes therapy, group therapy, holistic therapy, hobbies and interests, educational classes, and exercise programs. You will learn how to stay away from cocaine in the future.


Where Can I Find a Cocaine Rehab Clinic in the UK?

There are hundreds of rehab centres in England alone, so it can be hard to decide where to go. Instead of sweating it out, call the Help4Addiction team today and let us guide you through your multiple choices.

Whether you’re simply concerned about your cocaine use, or you’re heavily dependent on cocaine, we can help. Likewise, whether you’re looking for affordable rehab, standard residential rehab, or luxury rehab, trust us to select the best options for you.

Our team can discern which drug rehab clinics will give you the best chance at fighting cocaine addiction, based on your likes and dislikes. Call 0203 955 7700 today to begin.

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