There are a number of adverse health problems which occur from the long-term abuse of cocaine. Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. Long-term effects of cocaine abuse can range from heart problems to mental problems. There are two primary forms of cocaine – powdered cocaine and crack cocaine. Powdered cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Crack cocaine is more often known as simply “crack” or “rock.” Crack cocaine has gone through a chemical process which makes it in a form which people smoke; it gets its name from the crackling sound it makes when heated.
Cocaine Addiction and Effects of Cocaine Abuse
Snorting or injecting cocaine leads to an incredibly fast ‘high.’ No matter what method someone uses for taking cocaine, it quickly enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain where it creates the euphoric feeling people experience. The user has an elevation in mood and an increase in alertness and energy level. These effects usually wear off within 30 minutes to a few hours. Smoking crack cocaine produces a quicker by short-lived high as opposed to snorting powdered cocaine.
Cocaine is a stimulant which means that it speeds up the functions of the body, namely the heart. Cocaine increases heart rate and raises blood pressure. At the same time, it constricts the arteries which supply blood to the heart. All of this can cause a heart attack, even in very young people and those with no previous history of heart disease. It can even lead to a fatal heart attack. Cardiac failure is possible for first-time users or of someone who has been bingeing and using significant amounts of cocaine.
How Long-Term Cocaine Use Affects the Body
One of the biggest long-term effects of cocaine abuse is the development of heart problems. People who use cocaine are at a far greater risk of having a heart attack than those who don’t use it. There are a number of cardiovascular issues which develop as a result of long-term cocaine abuse. Among these problems are:
- Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart muscle
- Angina: Ischemic chest pain
- Cardiac Arrhythmia: Irregular heart rhythm
- Cardiomyopathy: Dysfunction of the heart muscle
Long-term cocaine abuse also causes narrowing of the blood vessels and arteries which restrict blood flow to the heart. This restricted blood flow increases the chances that the user will develop blood clots, strokes, aortic ruptures, and heart attacks. Cocaine also causes an imbalance in sodium, potassium, and calcium levels which are highly dangerous.
The effects of cocaine abuse can also cause lasting damage to the brain. Abusing cocaine can cause a narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain as well as diseases of these blood vessels. A long-term abuser also experiences functional and structural damage to the brain. They can experience seizures, strokes, and hemorrhaging in the brain. Long-term cocaine abuse can also affect neural centers in the brain which are responsible for memory, mood, information processing, and activities such as sleeping, eating, and other habitual behaviors.
Respiratory problems can exist long-term such as wheezing, coughing, sinus inflammation, chronic shortness of breath, chest tightness and pain, chronic congestion, and even perforation of the nasal septum. Kidney and liver damage are both common in long-term cocaine abusers.
Seek Treatment for Cocaine Abuse
Don’t risk a life of suffering from these health problems from long-term cocaine abuse. Before your dependence goes any further, seek help from a professional addiction treatment facility. You can turn your addiction around and learn ways to live in recovery without the need for cocaine or any other drug.
By enrolling in an inpatient treatment facility, you can go through detoxification in a safe environment with the help of specialists in this field. Once you complete detox, you will enter a treatment program which experts will design for you with your unique needs and preferences in mind. You will receive individual counseling along with group therapy sessions which will all help you develop the skills necessary to avoid triggers and temptations when returning to your daily routine after completing your treatment program.
If you are struggling with cocaine addiction, don’t wait any longer to enroll in a treatment program that will give you back your life of health, happiness, and sobriety. Do it today!