3 Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

a woman has a breakdown in a doorway due to cocaine withdrawal

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can lead to serious side effects. It is an illegal substance and a central nervous system stimulant. Cocaine affects the brain by stimulating high levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with pleasure and reward. If left untreated, cocaine addiction can lead to severe long-term side effects and physical harm. It is crucial to seek professional treatment for cocaine addiction.

Recovery is not an easy or comfortable process, but an addiction facility provides a safe environment and professional staff to ensure a person recovers safely and successfully. Seeking professional treatment can help prevent some of the long-term side effects of cocaine. At Northpoint Nebraska, we provide cocaine addiction treatment to help our patients heal physically and emotionally.

3 Long-Term Side Effects of Cocaine

1. Cardiovascular Damage

The side effects of cocaine include serious damage to the cardiovascular system. A heart attack is the leading cause of death for people who abuse cocaine.

Some of the other cardiovascular side effects of cocaine include:

  • Blood clots
  • Angina, or chest pain from tightening of the vessels
  • Myocardial infarction, or the death of heart muscle from lack of oxygen
  • Permanently increased blood pressure
  • Tachycardia, or fast heart rate
  • Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat

The cardiovascular system delivers oxygen, nutrients, and other substances to cells and organs throughout the body. It plays a vital role in helping the body meet the demands of activity, exercise, and stress. The effects of cocaine abuse include cardiovascular damage, which is a problem for a person’s overall health.

2. Respiratory Problems and Pulmonary Damage

Snorting cocaine can cause damage to the throat and upper respiratory problems. Smoking the drug will also lead to serious long-term respiratory side effects. The respiratory system includes your lungs; its main job is to take oxygen into your body and remove waste gases like carbon dioxide. One of the significant long-term side effects of cocaine is that smoking it can cause the blood vessels in the lungs to constrict. This makes it difficult for oxygen to enter the bloodstream and can destroy the capillaries, which are delicate blood vessels that carry oxygen to the rest of the body. This can lead to chronic cough, a higher risk of lung infections like pneumonia or tuberculosis, respiratory distress, asthma, and pulmonary edema.

3. Negative Effects on the Brain

Another serious effect of cocaine abuse is its impact on the brain. Cocaine can cause problems with blood vessels, reducing the amount of oxygen in the brain. This can lead to brain damage and other serious side effects.

The effects of cocaine abuse on the brain can include:

  • Mini-strokes
  • Seizures
  • Cerebral atrophy or brain shrinking
  • Increased risk of aneurysm
  • Trouble with problem-solving, decision-making, attention, learning, and memory
  • Increased risk of mood disorders
  • Increased risk of dementia

Another significant side effect of cocaine is that it can cause long-term damage to a person’s mental health. Since cocaine stimulates high dopamine levels, a cocaine comedown is likely to lead to severe depression. If left untreated, a person can develop major depression.

Find Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Nebraska

If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, it is important to reach out for help. Cocaine leads to serious long-term side effects on the cardiovascular system, respiratory and pulmonary systems, and the brain. At Northpoint Nebraska, we provide cocaine addiction treatment and additional programs and services to help our patients recover physically and mentally. We offer a safe environment and quality care to all our patients. Reach out to Northpoint Nebraska at 402.698.3475 to learn more about how we can help you.