Cocaine side effects have the potential to wreak havoc on your body, especially if you use it regularly for months or years at a time. It’s a notorious party drug known for its ability to help you drink more for longer periods. Go to any nightclub in the city and you’ll likely run into at least one person with cocaine.
Based on their studies and research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that about 1.5 million people ages 12 and older used cocaine in the past month alone. People between the ages of 18 and 25 show the highest rates of use. This lines up with cocaine’s reputation as a party or club drug.
Since cocaine use seems to go almost hand in hand with a night out in the city, many people don’t consider the long-term cocaine side effects. Most are able to use it for a night or two then put it away for months until the next time the opportunity arises. Cocaine addicts are not a part of this lucky majority of recreational users.
Cocaine: What it Is and What it Isn’t
Cocaine is a stimulant drug and made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Its stimulating effects wake you up, increase your alertness, and send your energy levels through the roof. These effects make it easier for you to drink more alcohol over a longer period of time.
Cocaine goes by a few different slang or street names:
Occasionally you may find cocaine in the form of rock crystals but it most commonly comes in the form of a white powder. Users almost always snort cocaine either in small “bumps” from a fingernail or tiny spoon, or they sort it into “lines” with something like a credit card. You can also rub excess powder into your gums.
Serious cocaine addicts mix the drug into a liquid then inject it with a needle. Some prefer the rock crystal form of cocaine that is meant to be smoked. Users who smoke it tend to smoke a form of the drug called crack cocaine. Crack is a less pure version of cocaine, cooked down and mixed with baking soda. Crack is an extremely addictive, harmful, and dangerous form of cocaine.
Short-Term Cocaine Side Effects
The most identifiable effect of cocaine is the increase of energy. People high on cocaine tend to talk fast and talk a lot, usually about things that seem completely random. It is usually difficult to hold a continuous train of thought and users jump from one topic to another.
Physical effects of cocaine also include:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Constricted blood vessels
- Raised blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Tremors or muscle spasms
Some of the short-term cocaine side effects are negative in other ways. Stimulants tend to cause irritability, anxiety, and paranoia in some people. The massive increase in energy is too much for some to handle and ends up overwhelming them. Using too much cocaine at once can also lead to odd, erratic, and potentially violent behavior.
The effects of cocaine don’t last very long at all. Snorting it gives you a 15 to 30 minute high while the high from smoking it might last only 5 or 10 minutes. The short lifespan of the effects leads to people using it repeatedly throughout the night or sometimes going on cocaine binges for a few hours at a time.
Long-Term Cocaine Side Effects
Long-term cocaine side effects come as a result of months or years of repeated use. They range from mildly inconvenient things that go away after some time to life-threatening and irreversible. The types of effects you may experience depend on the way you ingest the drug and how long you use it for.
Snorting cocaine causes:
- Destruction of nasal tissue
- Loss of smell
- Overly runny nose
- Difficulties swallowing
Smoking the drug can lead to:
- Coughing fits
- Difficulties breathing
- Greater risk of infections such as pneumonia
Injecting cocaine intravenously may result in more serious consequences including:
- Damage or infection in the skin surrounding injection sites
- Scarred or collapsed veins
- Contracting HIV or hepatitis C (from sharing dirty needles)
- Developing other bloodborne diseases
Seeking Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Are you struggling with a cocaine addiction? Cocaine can be a difficult drug to kick and it might even seem impossible if you’ve used for many years of your life. Drug addiction becomes the only normal way of life for those who deal with substance dependence.
But there is a way out of the darkness with the help of addiction treatment from facilities like Hawaii Island Recovery. Treatment helps you address the root causes of your use to live free from the chains of addiction.