Side Effects of Cocaine

With continuous abuse of serious drugs like crack cocaine, there are many side effects of cocaine use especially on a person's long-term health and brain development. The adverse side effects of cocaine use can cause many health problems with prolonged use.


Because cocaine is powerfully addictive, it is no wonder one out of every four Americans between the age of 26 and 34 have used cocaine at least one in their lifetime. According to some estimates, there are nearly two million cocaine addicts currently in the United States alone. Cocaine users typically begin using the drug as a way to experience the high associated with the side effects of cocaine, which typically appear almost immediately after taking just a single does.

Some of the short-term side effects of cocaine use include:

  • Euphoria
  • Energetic
  • Talkative
  • Mentally alert
  • Can decrease the need for food and sleep
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased temperature

The long-term side effects of cocaine use and addiction include:

  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Nosebleeds are common if cocaine is snorted
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Deviated septum issues are also an effect of snorting cocaine
  • Tracks or puncture marks will appear on the arms if injected
  • Significant weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Death in severe cases

There are many physical, mental and emotional side effects of cocaine on the body and mind with extended cocaine use including medical complications that can become so severe that death or severe brain damage can result. There is also the concern about severe long-term side effects of cocaine use. Many former cocaine users have reported serious health and brain-related side effects that don't trigger or show up until years later sometimes even years after the cocaine user has stopped using the drug. The effects of crack cocaine are generally found to be especially serious for those who use the drug in high doses or if the user continues to use the drug even in small doses on a regular basis.

  • Because cocaine works as a strong central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure, it is clear how prolonged cocaine use can have a negative impact on the user's brain. 
  • Extended use of cocaine can cause neurological effects like strokes, seizures and headaches. Overdosing on cocaine can cause severe enough side effects that can lead to brain damage.

Cocaine use can also cause many issues on the user's overall health particularly in the heart and gastrointestinal effects.

  • Cardiovascular effects like disturbances in the heart as well as rhythm heart attacks are some of the more serious side effects of cocaine.
  • Other side effects of cocaine include respiratory effects like chest pain and respiratory failure.
  • Side effects of cocaine can also cause gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain and nausea.

For those using cocaine, it is important to keep in mind these serious long-term and short-term side effects of cocaine use. Serious health and mental problems can result with extended use as well as death in some cases. Cocaine is one of the most drugs seen in cases of overdose due to drug use.


If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine, it is best to seek help as soon as possible to help battle the addiction. Support groups and therapy can help those dealing with cocaine addiction. It is important to fight the addiction before developing the serious health and neurological problems associated with the long-term side effects of cocaine use. Many treatment options to help stop the negative side effects of cocaine include therapy as well as drug support. The best thing you can do if you are a cocaine user is get yourself away from the environment where the drugs are being used. Stay away from friends or family who use the drug. Putting yourself near temptation will not assist in the effort toward recovery. For those who are serious about trying to end or stay away from the side effects of cocaine, it is important to get help. Some drug users do better with one-on-one therapy, while others do better in a support-group setting. Find which treatment method works best for you.


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