You probably already know that cocaine is a common recreational drug that creates feelings of elation and increased energy when taken. But what happens to your body when you take cocaine?
Understanding how cocaine affects you physically as well as mentally, and what the dangers are, is incredibly important. People often take recreational drugs without realizing the impact that they can have on their health, both in the short-term and the long-term.
The way that cocaine affects the body depends on a number of factors including the type of cocaine you use and how it is taken, the amount that you take, and how often you take it. Cocaine comes in two different forms; a white powder that is ingested orally or snorted, and a crystalline rock that is smoked, known as crack. Both have similar effects on the body but the different methods of taking them cause their own distinct problems too. So, what happens to your body when you take cocaine?
Short Term Effects
As soon as you use cocaine, whether you smoke it or take it nasally, you will experience a lot of different effects on your body. Cocaine is a stimulant, so it will make you feel very alert. It will also create feelings of happiness and euphoria. This is because it disrupts the messaging systems in your brain and tells it to keep storing dopamine instead of recycling it. Dopamine is the chemical associated with happiness and feelings of pleasure, so this is why you get a ‘high’ feeling when taking cocaine. You may also experience increased sensitivity to outside stimuli, like sound and light, and a general increase in your alertness levels.
The reason that people take cocaine in the first place is that they want the increased energy and feelings of happiness, but those are only some of the physical effects that cocaine has on your body. In fact, there are a number of other effects, most of them negative, that people experience. These include:
- Inability to sleep
- Decreased appetite
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate (leading to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes)
- High body temperature
- Constructed blood vessels and dilated pupils
When taking cocaine, people usually feel one or more of these short-term effects alongside the ‘high’ feeling that they are expecting. The effects of cocaine can last anywhere from a few minutes all the way up to hours, depending on how much you take, how pure it is, and what method you use when taking it. Crack cocaine tends to create a much more intense effect for a shorter period.
Prolonged cocaine use has a lot of long-term effects on the body, some of them incredibly serious. Repeated cocaine use will cause a change to the way that dopamine systems in the brain work. Over time, this will lead to addiction problems. When people are addicted to cocaine and they take large amounts on a regular basis, they begin experiencing some of the long-term effects.
Poor nutrition and weight loss are very common in people that use cocaine regularly. This is because it causes a lack of appetite while under the influence, meaning that people simply do not eat. Financial issues caused by addiction can also contribute to this problem. Lack of proper nutrition will eventually lead to an increased risk of a range of health problems.
The act of ingesting cocaine can also do long-term damage. If a person is snorting cocaine on a regular basis, this will do damage to the nose and throat, making it hard to swallow or causing excessive nosebleeds. Many people experience a loss of their sense of smell too.
Those that smoke crack cocaine are likely to experience severe lung damage. There is also a risk of developing asthma as well. Consuming cocaine orally reduces blood flow in the intestines and does long-term damage.
Injecting cocaine intravenously comes with an incredibly high risk of HIV and hepatitis due to needle sharing.
These long-term effects of cocaine can be devastating to addicts. Unless they find treatment before it is too late, they can do irreparable damage to their health and develop potentially fatal conditions. However, if they get the specialist treatment that they need, this can be avoided. At the Robert Alexander Center, we can provide that specialist treatment.
If you are concerned about a loved one or you think that you may have a cocaine addiction issue yourself, contact us today to find out more about our tailored drug rehabilitation programs.