The short-term side effects of cocaine use are well-known to the public. Most people understand that using cocaine can be addictive and harmful, potentially leading to overdose and death. However, the long-term effects of cocaine use are potentially even more concerning, though less commonly understood. However, it is never too late to seek cocaine addiction treatment. Even if an individual has been using cocaine for an extended period, stopping cocaine use will significantly benefit their health and safety.
If you or someone you care about has been struggling with cocaine addiction, you may have questions about the long-term effects of cocaine use. Learning more about this topic can help those battling addiction, as well as their families, make the best choices about seeking cocaine addiction treatment.
5 Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that comes from the coca plant. Usually, cocaine is a white powder that a person snorts, though it can also be injected or smoked. Coke, crack, and freebase are all forms of cocaine. Over the long run, it can result in the following long-term effects of cocaine use.
1. Tolerance and Sensitization
Using cocaine over a long time can build up tolerance in the body, leading the person to use more cocaine to achieve the same effect. At the same time, long-term cocaine use can also lead to sensitization, meaning that certain side effects like anxiety or seizures become more commonly experienced. These circumstances can lead to dangerous toxic effects and even overdose.
2. Worsening Mental Health
Long-term use of cocaine can lead to adverse psychiatric symptoms, including:
- Panic attacks
- Extreme irritability
The longer a person uses cocaine, the more prominent these types of symptoms can become.
3. Adverse Health Effects
The way in which a person ingests cocaine (injecting, snorting, smoking) can cause problems over long-term use as well. For example, smoking crack can cause permanent lung damage. Snorting cocaine can lead to serious issues in the sinuses and nasal tissue, and injecting cocaine places users at high risk of infections, including HIV.
4. Damage to Internal Organs
Using cocaine for an extended period of time is known to cause extensive and potentially permanent damage to the body’s internal organs. Long-term users are at higher risk of gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers, and cocaine is known to cause severe and potentially fatal heart problems.
5. Neurological Damage
One of the most insidious long-term effects of cocaine use can be neurological damage. Over time, users have been known to develop cognitive damage, which means difficulty with thinking, reasoning, and communication. Some people have had strokes as a result of long-term cocaine use. Movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease have also been linked to long-term cocaine use.
Will Quitting Cocaine Help Even For Long-Term Users?
People who have been using cocaine for a long time will be healthier and safer if they quit. Quitting cocaine can be very difficult, but recovery is possible with the right kind of professional help and support. Since using cocaine damages the body, stopping that damage can only benefit the body. Also, people in active addiction are often unable to make decisions that are best for their health as a result of their disease. Entering treatment can help even those who are concerned that their bodies are already damaged. Some things to remember:
- Treatment can help, even if a person has tried it before without success.
- Everyone’s recovery journey is different, and there is no one way to heal.
- It is never too late to seek treatment.
Spokane Falls Recovery Center Can Help
Our treatment center in Spokane, Washington offers help to people struggling with cocaine addiction. Our holistic, individualized approach to treatment honors our patients as whole people, and we are committed to working with you on your recovery. If you or someone you care about has been battling an addiction to cocaine, reach out to our caring and knowledgeable staff today at 844.962.2775.