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Long Term Effects of Cocaine


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Cocaine abuse can result in life-altering health complications. Most people who use cocaine will require professional cocaine addiction treatment to safely and effectively quit the drug. 

If you’re using cocaine more than you intended, the risk of health complications increases with each dose. The best way to prevent further damage to your health is to seek professional treatment. We encourage you to contact us at (855) 607-8758 for cocaine addiction treatment and to learn how Liberty Bay Recovery can help you stop cocaine abuse.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

The desired effects of cocaine appear immediately, but they only last from a few minutes or up to about an hour. This duration depends on the route of ingestion and how long the drug has been used.

Short-Term Effects

When cocaine is injected or smoked, it produces a quick and intense high, but the effects are short-lived. These effects will include:

  • Mental alertness
  • Extreme energy
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Sensitivity to sound, light, and touch

Other short-term physical effects may include irregular heartbeat, nausea, tremors, and constricted blood vessels. 

Long-Term Effects

With repeated cocaine exposure, the brain and body become less responsive to the drug. Higher or more frequent doses are needed when this occurs, and the side effects are far more dangerous. 

The long-term effects of cocaine vary depending on the route of ingestion. Some of these include:

  • Snorting – Nosebleeds, runny nose, loss of smell, trouble swallowing
  • Smoking – Respiratory distress, risk of pneumonia, asthma, cough
  • Oral use – Bowel decay due to reduced blood flow
  • Injection – Skin or tissue infections, collapsed veins, risk of HIV or hepatitis C

Other long-term effects of cocaine abuse may include decreased appetite, malnutrition, and diminished motor skills. Many long-time cocaine users experience auditory hallucinations or delusions.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

When cocaine’s effects wear off, withdrawal symptoms appear, prompting the person to seek more of the drug. Ultimately, addiction is the next stage in this process. 

Unlike some other drugs or alcohol, cocaine produces mostly psychological symptoms. However, physical symptoms of withdrawal are also possible. 

Psychological and physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness, exhaustion
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Chills, tremors, muscle aches
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although cocaine is a stimulant, depression and suicidal ideation are common. 

Is It Possible to Overdose on Cocaine?

Yes, cocaine overdose is possible, and it is a significant problem in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 19,477 people died from cocaine-related overdoses in 2020. 

With high dosages and more frequent use, the risk of cocaine overdose is high. The risk increases further when cocaine is combined with alcohol or other drugs. 

Furthermore, some cocaine has been adulterated with other substances, such as synthetic opioids (fentanyl), in the past decade. Severe consequences of this combination are possible, including heart attacks, seizures, breathing problems, and strokes. Many fatal cocaine overdoses are linked to the presence of fentanyl.

Freedom from Cocaine Begins at Liberty Bay Recovery 

Hopefully, this information about the long-term effects of cocaine will encourage you to seek cocaine addiction treatment. If you’re concerned about your inability to control or stop your cocaine use, let us know at Liberty Bay Recovery. 

We provide a customized treatment program of detox, counseling, and evidence-based therapies to help you succeed in overcoming cocaine abuse. Depending on your needs, you can choose from several types of programs and services, such as:

  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
  • Community outpatient programs

We look forward to helping you gain freedom from the powerful grip cocaine has on your life. To get started on your cocaine recovery, contact us at (855) 607-8758 to learn more about our programs at Liberty Bay Recovery. 

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