Side Effects of Chronic Cocaine Use

The effects of cocaine appear almost immediately after the first dose, and they can disappear within minutes to an hour afterwards. When taken in small amounts, the drug typically causes a sense of euphoria and sensitivity to light, sound and touch. Users chase the euphoric feeling, but they create an ever increasing risk for short-term, long-term and even permanent side effects.

Because cocaine addict is prevalent in society, numerous facilities treat its addicts so they can reintegrate into society. Sobriety is difficult to accomplish—there will be both failures and triumphs—but users can get and stay clean with the right help.

Signs of Cocaine Abuse

As users become more tolerant to cocaine, they must increase their dose to achieve the same high as before. By continually increasing their doses, addicts have great risk for overdose and the following short-term side effects:

  • Hallucinations
  • Hyper stimulation
  • Paranoia

As cocaine use spirals out of control, users become sleep deprived and they lose their appetite. In addition, they become psychotic and experience hallucinations that could transform their normal behavior. If people continue using cocaine despite these consequences, they could suffer from the following long-term effects:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Organ damage
  • Permanent damage to the blood vessels in the heart and brain

If someone uses needles to inject cocaine, she runs a risk of infection at the injection site, especially if she uses the same site repeatedly. In fact, users may easily contract HIV or other infectious diseases if they share or reuse needles and if they engage in unprotected sex while high. However, because cocaine offers a short-lived albeit intense high, users typically experience intense depression along with cravings for the drug when sober. As they keep using, their health will decline; they often forget to eat and have intense sleep deprivation (which increases heart rate and can cause muscle spasms or convulsions).

Treatment Options for Cocaine Abuse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine represented nearly 13 percent of people who sough rehab in 2007; in addition, a staggering 72 percent of those cocaine addicts smoked crack and regularly abused more than one substance at a time.

Because of such widespread cocaine use, extensive efforts have been made to treat cocaine addiction. Addiction is a complex disease that involves biological changes, social issues and environmental problems, so the following treatment options are available to cocaine addicts:

  • Medication management
  • Behavioral interventions

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves of no medication to treat cocaine addiction, so the NIDA is working to fill this void. However, many medications alleviate cocaine’s side effects—some show promise in treating the addiction or preventing relapse, but not medications are recommended over taking time to heal properly.

Behavioral interventions often refer to rehab programs that offer counseling. Many behavioral treatments for cocaine addicts are effective, and they are available in both residential and outpatient settings. Because no medication has been approved by the FDA, behavioral therapies are often the only available treatment for stimulant addictions. However, behavioral therapies and pharmacological treatments may be the most effective approach.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know struggles with cocaine addiction, then call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to help you find the best treatment available. Stop putting your life on hold and call us now!

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