Cocaine, a powerful stimulant derived from the coca plant, has a long history of recreational use.
Many people take the drug for its euphoric effects - however, cocaine has a potential for addiction and a wide range of long-term consequences.
In this blog post, we will be exploring the long-term effects of cocaine abuse. Cocaine abuse can impact all areas of your life, from your physical health and mental health to your family and relationships. Read on to learn all about these effects.
Physical Health Effects
Cocaine abuse can have severe and lasting impacts on the body. The effects can vary from person to person, but here are some of the main physical side effects of cocaine abuse over time.
First and foremost, cocaine can impact your heart. It is associated with a range of cardiovascular diseases, such as:
- Aortic dissection
- MI/ myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Heart failure
Over time, these effects on the cardiovascular system can lead to chronic heart problems, including cardiomyopathy and heart disease. These effects on the heart muscle can persist even after discontinuing cocaine use, posing long-term risks of heart disease and complications.
If you regularly abuse cocaine, you should consider how it is impacting your heart. Ultimately, cocaine use can be life-threatening and can increase the risk of a cocaine overdose. We recommend that you seek help before it’s too late.
Inhaling cocaine, often in the form of crack cocaine, can cause long-term damage to your respiratory system.
Chronic cough, lung infections, and reduced lung function are common long-term consequences. Smoking crack cocaine can also increase the risk of lung cancer.
Cocaine abuse can disrupt the digestive system in both the short term and the long term. This can lead to issues such as abdominal pain, nausea, and bowel gangrene.
If you are a long-term cocaine user, you may be at a higher risk of severe gastrointestinal complications, including perforated ulcers and bowel infarction.
Cocaine use often goes hand in hand with poor dental hygiene. The drug's acidity and its tendency to cause dry mouth can result in tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, which can persist even after quitting cocaine.
Weight Loss and Malnutrition
Cocaine is a potent appetite suppressant, which can lead to severe weight loss and malnutrition over time.
It is also thought that cocaine could alter the way that the body responds to fat intake. A study compared 35 men who were dependent on cocaine with 30 men who did not take drugs.
The study found that cocaine users shared habits that are associated with weight gain - for example, drinking more alcohol or eating fatty foods. Ordinarily, this would cause weight gain - but the cocaine users had less fat mass than the non-cocaine users.
Issues related to malnutrition and weight loss can persist after quitting and require ongoing attention to restore healthy eating habits and maintain proper nutrition.
Snorting cocaine can cause serious damage to your nose, leading to a range of nasal problems. The drug constricts blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the nose's lining.
Over time, this can result in a weakened, damaged nasal structure. Common long-term effects include chronic nosebleeds, loss of smell (anosmia), frequent runny or stuffy nose, and even a perforated septum.
This is where the cartilage that separates the nostrils develops a hole. A perforated septum can lead to heavy breathing, nasal obstruction and infected scabs. These issues can persist, impacting both breathing and overall nasal health.
Mental Health Effects
Cocaine abuse doesn't just harm the body; it also takes a toll on mental health. Here are some of the mental health consequences to consider if you use cocaine.
Cocaine can significantly impact how you regulate your moods. Many individuals experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and irritability, both during and after their drug use. These mood disorders can persist, making it challenging to maintain stable mental health.
Cognitive Impairments and Mental Health Issues
Long-term cocaine use can damage cognitive functions. This can include your memory, attention, and decision-making.
Cocaine use changes the way your brain’s dopamine system functions. This can make it difficult to feel pleasure from daily activities. In turn, this can lead to the urge to take cocaine just to feel pleasure, increasing the risk of developing a tolerance to the drug.
Even after you stop using cocaine, you may struggle with cognitive impairments. This can affect your daily life and your ability to function effectively.
Cocaine abuse increases the risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and paranoia.
Cravings and Relapse
One of the most challenging aspects of recovering from cocaine addiction is dealing with cravings and the constant risk of relapse.
These cravings can persist for years after overcoming substance use disorder. This highlights the importance of seeking effective cocaine rehab, where you can gain support and learn coping strategies to help prevent relapse.
Social and Economic Consequences
It’s not just your physical and mental health that cocaine can impact. It can impact all areas of your life - your relationships, your reputation, your finances, your career, and much more.
Cocaine addiction often impacts relationships with family, friends, and partners. The behaviour associated with drug use, such as lying and stealing, can destroy trust and damage important connections.
Cocaine possession and distribution are illegal in most countries, including the UK. Engaging in illegal activities to sustain a drug habit (for example, buying cocaine from a drug dealer or simply possessing cocaine) can lead to legal trouble.
This can have lasting consequences, including criminal records that affect job prospects and housing opportunities.
A cocaine habit can be expensive - and over time, this can lead to extreme financial difficulties. Many cocaine addicts have to deal with bankruptcy, a loss of assets, and general financial instability.
Consistent cocaine use can lead to job loss due to absenteeism, decreased productivity, or workplace misconduct. Securing new employment and maintaining a stable career can be challenging too.
How to Overcome Cocaine Addiction
Quitting cocaine is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. Although the idea of quitting drugs may seem overwhelming, you don’t have to deal with it alone.
At Help4Addiction, we can ensure you receive the support you need to overcome your substance use disorder. We can connect you with the best cocaine rehab clinics near you, ensuring you receive the cocaine treatment you deserve.
You will begin with a cocaine detox to overcome the physical dependence. Then, you will undergo cocaine rehab. This can be completed on an inpatient or outpatient basis; it’s up to you. During cocaine rehab, you will receive therapy.
This has numerous benefits - for example, it can teach you relapse prevention techniques and boost your confidence.
Begin your recovery journey today with Help4Addiction - overcome your cocaine abuse problems before it’s too late.