Cocaine is a highly addictive narcotic that can have a wide range of effects on the human body. Addicts typically snort, smoke or inject the drug to cause temporary feelings of heightened euphoria, alertness, energy and sensitivity. However, sustained use of cocaine can have serious and potentially deadly health consequences for users.
Immediate effects of cocaine
Cocaine causes significant stress on the human body, particularly the cardiovascular system. A cocaine high typically results in constricted blood vessels, high blood pressure, increased heart rate and raised body temperature. The strain can have major health ramifications, including strokes, seizures, heart attacks and coma. It is even possible for sudden death to result from a person’s very first use of cocaine.
The psychological toll can be equally harsh. People high on cocaine can exhibit erratic or even violent behavior caused by feelings of irritability, anxiety, panic and paranoia. Rather than feel pleasurable, the high can cause tremors, vertigo and muscle twitches. While some users claim that cocaine allows them to perform certain tasks more efficiently while high, it is just as often reported that the drug actually makes it more difficult to function.
Long-term effects of cocaine
Sustained use of cocaine can have catastrophic health consequences. Repeated snorting of cocaine irritates the nasal septum, causing hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and chronic nosebleeds. Ingesting cocaine can cause severe gangrene of the bowels. Injecting cocaine produces track marks at the point of injection, typically on the forearms, which are prone to infection. Sharing of needles also creates a heightened risk of HIV, AIDS and hepatitis infection for the addict. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, injected cocaine users are nearly 40-percent likely to contract hepatitis C after only two years.
Chronic cocaine users inevitably develop a tolerance to the drug, which forces them to take greater and greater doses in order to experience the same high. Repeated exposure to cocaine results in a chemical dependence that will result in painful withdrawal symptoms when the drug is taken away. Addicts typically become wracked by terrible cravings for the drug during periods of abstinence, which can make it difficult or even impossible to quit using.
Long-term addicts chasing a high become prone to going on binges of ever-increasing doses. These periods of extreme cocaine use can worsen the symptoms of anxiety and paranoia to the point of a panic attack or even a severe psychotic break, in which the addict completely loses touch with reality and hallucinates.
The physical and mental toll of prolonged cocaine use is extremely high and potentially life-threatening. If you believe that you have developed an addiction to cocaine, you don’t have to suffer alone. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline is available 24/7 to get you on the path to sobriety. Call us today at 866-971-2658 to find a qualified health professional waiting to speak to you.