More than 4.7 million Americans over the age of 12 reports having used cocaine in the last year.
Like most illicit drugs, cocaine is incredibly addictive. Users experience a euphoric high.
Once that high wears off, they are left chasing another, leading to a dangerous, tough to break addiction. Breaking that addiction can be incredibly difficult. But not breaking the addiction can be deadly.
Knowing the long and short term effects of an addiction to cocaine can help you spot an addiction in a loved one so that you can help them seek treatment.
Keep reading to learn more about the short and long term cocaine effects, as well as the steps towards recovery and what you can do if you think a loved one might be using.
Short Term Cocaine Effects
The effects of cocaine use start almost immediately after an addict takes a hit.
How the cocaine is taken, such as by smoking, snorting, or injecting it, can change how quickly the effects are felt.
For instance, smoking or injecting cocaine can cause the effects to come on faster. In fact, a person may feel high in as little as 7 seconds.
Snorting the cocaine delays the short term effects, but may actually make them last longer.
“Positive” Side Effects
The danger of any kind of illicit drug is that it often causes a number of “positive” side effects. While certainly not positive for the body, they make the addict feel good in the moment.
The first feeling and the feeling that keeps an addict using time and time again is the high. With this high comes a number of other side effects. These include feelings of euphoria, a boost of energy, and a sudden, happy mood.
The person using cocaine may also experience feelings of grandiosity, or a boost of self-esteem. They may feel as though they can do things they normally wouldn’t be able to do, or that they cannot do.
The euphoria that accompanies cocaine use can make a person feel awake and energized even if they are lacking sleep.
This sometimes leads people to use the drug as a sort of boost when they need to get something done.
Students may turn to the drug to stay up all night cramming for a test. Busy professionals might even seek out the drug as a way to get through a seemingly impossible workload.
Negative Side Effects
But with this boost of productivity and euphoria, there are also a number of negative side effects.
Anxiety, panic, and paranoia make take control, leaving a person restless, nervous, and on edge until the high wears off.
When the high does wear off, these side effects are often heightened even more.
Long Term Effects of Cocaine on the Body
The long term, harmful effects of cocaine can start after a person has used cocaine for just a short time. They leave their mark on the addicts’ bodies and can affect their health for the rest of their lives.
Mental Side Effects
The first long term effect is the addiction itself. After the high wears off and those feelings of euphoria and productivity begin to recede, the person may immediately begin to think about achieving another high.
The more a person uses cocaine, the more tolerant they become to the effects of the drug. They’ll need to take higher concentrations of the drug, and take them more often if they want to achieve the same high.
Addicts will do just about anything to score another hit. They may forgo their responsibilities, including school, work, and family obligations. If money runs low, they may resort to stealing or selling off their belongings in order to afford their next high.
Continued highs will keep the addict from sleeping. The drug will also cause a loss of appetite. The addict may quickly become malnourished.
The long term effects of the anxiety can leave a person incredibly emotional, even when they aren’t high. They may also experience severe depression, especially each time their high wears off. This can leave an addict suicidal or violent towards others.
Physical Side Effects
There are a number of other physical effects that accompany cocaine use. The drug can damage blood vessels, as well as your liver, kidney, and lungs.
Injecting cocaine can lead to infections and leave an addict susceptible to a number of diseases.
The most dangerous side effect of cocaine use is the addiction. As the high gets harder and harder to achieve, the addict will use more and more, until they are in danger of an overdose.
Dealing with a Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is incredibly addictive. Addiction can begin after a person uses for the very first time. The longer a person remains addicted, the harder it is to break that addiction.
Like any dangerous illicit drug, breaking the addiction isn’t something an addict should or even can tackle on their own.
Professional help is a must when it comes to beating a cocaine addiction.
A professional will be prepared to manage the symptoms of withdrawal. They will also have the tools and resources to ensure a patient is safe and healthy as they begin their journey to living life drug-free.
Rehab for cocaine addiction takes the addict out of their toxic environment and gives them the best foundation for starting their recovery.
What to do if You or a Loved One is Battling Addiction
If you or a loved one is dealing with the short and long term cocaine effects, it’s important to take action as soon as possible.
Whether you’ve noticed some short term effects or are just starting to suspect an addiction, the sooner you take action, the better. Even just a few days can be the difference between saving your loved one or not.
If you suspect that a loved one might be using, check out these tips for dealing with the early steps of helping them break free from their addiction.