Cocaine is a powerful stimulant with a high potential for abuse and addiction. Long-term cocaine use can lead to a wide range of negative effects on the body and mind.
With an estimated 2% of the total United States population using cocaine, it becomes ever more important to inform ourselves about the implication of cocaine symptoms.
Learning more about cocaine signs and the effects of cocaine abuse can help us educate our loved ones about the dangers of the substance and identify if those close to use might be abusing the drug.
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
Psychological Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine use can have significant psychological effects on its users which extend far beyond addiction.
The changes in brain chemistry that cocaine causes can develop lasting negative effects on its users and a series of complications such as depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders as well as posing memory and concentration challenges.
Repeated exposure to cocaine changes the reward pathways in the user’s brain and makes it less susceptible to natural reinforcement.
Reward pathways are nature’s ways of motivating us and indicating which behaviors we should seek out most. Damaging these pathways can create lasting changes in the mood of the user as well as their natural motivation.
Less responsive receptors can also fail to act on natural reinforcers such as food, social interactions, or even sex.
Once this system is damaged, it can also become more sensitive to stress and depression and develop co-occurring disorders in the addict. It also builds tolerance which could prompt the addict to consume more and eventually overdose.
If that wasn’t enough, prolonged use of cocaine can also lead to paranoia, hallucinations, and other psychosis symptoms.
Social Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
Social effects are one of the less talked about cocaine symptoms of abuse but one of the most influential.
Long-term abuse of cocaine can lead to financial difficulties that could affect the user even long after achieving sobriety.
Cocaine abuse can also cause problems with the law that could hinder around for years and affect the user’s ability to find a job. In the worst of cases, they might need to serve a jail sentence even if they decide to sober up.
Many users could see their personal relationships and careers suffer from nearly irreparable damage.
In short, it’s not only the mind and body that suffer from cocaine addiction. All aspects of an addict’s life can be affected by their drug habits.
Physical Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine can wreak havoc in the body causing a number of negative long-lasting physical effects. From affecting the nose to damaging the brain and the heart, nearly every organ in the body can suffer from a cocaine habit.
We have broken it down into categories given there are so many ways cocaine can affect the body.
Long-Term Physical Effects of Cocaine on the Nose
Effects of cocaine abuse in the nose include:
- Damaged nose cartilage
- Chronic nosebleeds
- Sense of smell
Cardiovascular Long-Term Physical Effects of Cocaine
Cardiovascular effects of cocaine abuse include:
- Chest pains
- Heart muscle inflammation
- Aortic ruptures
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Reduction in the heart’s contraction ability
Respiratory Long-Term Physical Effects of Cocaine
Respiratory effects of cocaine abuse include:
- Lung tumors
- Pulmonary edema
- Respiratory distress
- Worsening of asthma
- Chronic Cough
Gastrointestinal Long-Term Physical Effects of Cocaine
Gastrointestinal effects of cocaine abuse include:
- Death of bowel tissue
- Bowel obstruction
- Abdominal pain
Long-Term Physical Effects of Cocaine on the Brain and Nervous System
As discussed earlier in the article cocaine can have devastating effects on the brain that can lead to severe damage and psychological consequences.
These are other effects of cocaine abuse on the brain:
- Brain bleeds
- Damage to blood vessels in and around the brain
- Parkinson’s disease
- Impaired memory and impulse control
- Psychomotor issues
- Issues with decision making
Long lasting effects of cocaine can worsen the longer a user consumes the drug. But many of these can reverse and heal with time.
Whatever the case, it’s critical that addicts seek help as soon as possible, and there is always a chance to get better for as long as the addict is alive.
Don’t wait for the effects of cocaine to scar you for the rest of your life.
If someone you love is showing signs of cocaine abuse, then we can help.