Physical Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a central nervous stimulant that comes in several forms, including a powder that is snorted through the nasal passages and rocks which are smoked.

The substances can be turned into a liquid form which is typically injected. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the effects of cocaine on the human body range from mild to severe to life threatening, even with a single use of the powerfully addictive drug.

Increased Body Temperature: Cocaine-Induced Hyperthermia

If you or someone you know has ever used cocaine, you may have noticed that cocaine users tend to sweat. This is because the drug raises the body temperature. When you add physical activity to the situation, something that is common with the use of stimulants, body temperature can rise even more. Ultimately, the body may experience heatstroke.

Heatstroke occurs when the internal body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Left untreated, as explained by the Mayo Clinic, heatstroke can cause brain damage, heart damage and can lead to death.

Heart Attack and Heart Disease

An article published in the health section of the Daily Mail in the UK states that cocaine use can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries, including the coronary arteries. Added stress from the use of this powerful stimulant can place stress on the blood vessels. Ultimately, these stresses can result in a premature heart attack, or even a sudden heart attack as a direct result of using the drug.

Cocaine Is Not Attractive

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine use can cause several physical effects that are simply not pretty. While these are not the most important reasons to stop using cocaine, or better yet to never start using cocaine, these physical symptoms can also cause medical issues down the road. For instance:

  • Nosebleeds: Use of cocaine via the nasal passages can eat away at the sensitive membranes in the nose, leading to chronic nosebleeds, and loss of the ability to smell.
  • Hoarseness: The caustic effect of cocaine can ruin one’s ability to speak clearly and comfortably.
  • Paranoia: Chronic cocaine use can affect you psychologically as well as physically, developing states of temporary psychosis which can cause hallucinations.
  • Bowel gangrene: The reduced blood flow to the major organs can cause the bowels to become gangrenous, resulting in chronic diarrhea.

Using drugs is not glamorous. Using drugs like cocaine does not make you more beautiful or more fulfilled. Cocaine is a dangerous, addictive drug that can result in lifelong medical problems, coma and death.

Cocaine and the Brain

When you ingest cocaine, regardless of the method used, the end result is an increase in the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for communicating feelings of pleasure in the brain, as stated by NIDA. Generally, it is produced when something pleasurable happens to us, such as hearing our favorite song or catching a whiff of apple pie.

When dopamine is released into the brain, we use the amount that we need to feel good, and the remainder is pulled back into the neurotransmitter that released it. Cocaine effectively blocks the re-uptake of the dopamine. The dopamine is left in the brain, and more dopamine is released. This creates the “high” associated with cocaine. Eventually, the brain will not remember how to create dopamine, however, and the body will crave the cocaine to feel anything at all.

If you are struggling with an addiction to cocaine, contact us today. We can help you get connected to treatment that can help.