Effects of Cocaine Abuse on the Immune System

In addition to the well-known risks associated with cocaine use, namely hypertension, heart attacks, brain damage, septum damage, sleeplessness, and an increased likelihood of abusing other drugs and alcohol, scientists have noticed that the drug has several negative repercussions on the immune system of both adults using it and their unborn children. Cocaine use can significantly elevate a person’s risk of developing various cancers or infections. Babies born to cocaine-using mothers are often born with severely affected immune systems that may cause serious health problems throughout their life.

How Cocaine Affects the Immune System

There are several ways in which cocaine reduces the body’s ability to defend itself from pathogens. One is that it seems to affect the functioning of a part of the brain called the thymus. This gland produces T-lymphocytes that attack foreign cells and tumors and play a role in the production of antibodies. Although the exact cause of this remains unknown, researchers have seen a direct correlation between cocaine use and increased infections and cancers. These effects may be even more pronounced in younger cocaine users.

Cocaine also suppresses the production and function of white blood cells, which are the body’s first line of defense against germs. When his white blood cell levels drop, a drug user is open to all kinds of maladies, including the following:

  • Common colds
  • Respiratory infections
  • Influenza or other viruses
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Cancer

Adults who have used cocaine can return to full health and immune function once they have been off of the drug for some time. Babies born with cocaine in their system, however, may face a life complicated by reduced immunity and frequent sickness.

Ending Cocaine Addiction Safely and Permanently

Cocaine use creates a powerful psychological addiction that directly impacts the part of the brain that manages the following:

  • Emotional processing
  • Memory formation and recall
  • Impulse control
  • Anxiety and stress management

Over time the cocaine addict will be unable to function properly without the drug and will come up with any excuse to keep using it. As his tolerance to cocaine increases he will need to use more of drug more frequently in order to feel the desired effects. This may also lead to riskier methods of delivery, including injecting or smoking the drug. Addicts often turn to other drugs as well, including additional stimulants such as meth amphetamine or drugs to help them “come down” such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or alcohol. Thus, in addition to compromised immune systems cocaine users face overdose, drug interaction complications, seizures, coma, and even sudden death.

The safest and most effective way to break free from cocaine addiction is through comprehensive, caring detoxification and rehabilitation. For free, confidential advice or to be connected to the best treatment programs available please call our toll-free helpline any time of day or night. Cocaine addiction is a powerful disease and you need help to beat it. We’re here when you’re ready. Call now.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email