addiction to cocaine

The Effects of Cocaine on Your Body

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD


Cocaine is bad news. It is a particularly nasty narcotic you want to avoid at all costs. That’s because it is dangerous, and it’s highly addictive. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, it is not difficult to get addicted to cocaine after just one use, particularly for those who consume crack cocaine.

First-time users feel the pleasurable effects of the drug instantly, though simultaneously a person’s body will develop a tolerance towards. This means subsequent fixes are seldom as gratifying as the first introduction. As you may imagine, this poses the risk of users consuming larger doses of the drug to heighten its pleasurable effects.

Because of its intense nature and the need for increased doses, it is not rare for casual consumption to mature to chronic use quickly. This presents serious repercussions. Here is a look at the effects that cocaine can have on your body.

Short-term Effects of Cocaine

The immediate, intense high that cocaine produces comes crashing down after its effects wear off. Over the short-term, the drug can cause undesirable effects ranging from a loss of appetite, disturbed sleep, anxiety and depression, to euphoria, hallucination, and hyperstimulation, which may encourage erratic and weird behavior. None of these short-term effects are conducive to a normal professional or personal life.

Examples of Short-term Cocaine Effects

#1: Michael has been using on and off, and found that he is able to manage work and his relationship quite efficiently, without any discernible cognitive impact. However, he has been experiencing stomach upsets and gastrointestinal problems, as well as nausea, pretty frequently. And while he is able to maintain his focus, his headache episodes have increased.

#2: Ash was introduced to the drug by her peers, and now it has become an integral part of her life. But she is beginning to suspect if her parents and siblings know of her cocaine usage. They have expressed concern at her dilated pupils and extreme mood swings. Of late, her heart rate has also elevated during unexpected times, causing alarm and fear.

Nearly 25% of non-fatal cardiovascular incidents among adults in the 18-45 age category stem from cocaine addiction.

If you are among those who feel a craving for the drug, there is a real risk of these short-term, potentially hazardous effects controlling your life and turning it upside down.

Long-term Effects

The list of long-term ill-effects on your health runs long. It can permanently damage the blood vessels of your brain and heart; destroy your lungs, liver and kidney; and put you at a risk of serious infectious diseases, including hepatitis and HIV.

Regular cocaine usage can take a toll on your entire body. For one, you may lose a great deal of weight and appear malnourished. For another, your teeth may decay and fall off. The drug has been seen to cause infertility and reproductive issues in both men and women. Smoking too much of it can compromise the tissues in your nose, leading to a loss of smell. It can also trigger acute respiratory failure, which also happens to be a common complication of alcohol, opiate, and amphetamine abuse.


If you’re wondering, “How much cocaine leads to overdose,” the answer depends on the extent of an individual’s sensitivity towards the drug. While the minimal lethal dose is 1.2g, some—including first-time users—have overdosed on much less. Symptoms of cocaine overdose include a dangerous spike in blood pressure, very high body temperature, irregular heart rate, tremors, and unnatural confusion and/or anxiety.

It is your best interests not to experiment with cocaine. However, if you believe that you or your loved one is addicted to the drug, it is imperative to find help as soon as possible.

Recovery From Addiction

First Steps Recovery is a detox and residential treatment center in Fresno County, California, and we can give you or your loved one the help you need. Addiction is a vicious cycle, and it takes understanding, experience, and proven clinical methods for someone with an addiction to find freedom. At First Steps, we can walk with you through every step of the process. Call us today: 844-489-0836.


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