Author: John Carter

Effects of Cocaine: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects

cocaine health risks

Once the high wears off, coke can leave you feeling depressed and extremely tired for several days. The short-lived high is also often followed by an intense desire to use more and difficulty sleeping. That also depends on how it’s consumed, along with other variables, like your dose and whether you’re taking other substances. Some people process cocaine into a rock and smoke it, which we’ll get to next. If you use it, are considering using it, or are around anyone who does, read on.

We’ll cover everything you need to know, like what to expect from the high, potential risks, and what to do if things go south. Many people start to build a tolerance after their first use of cocaine. A typical dose of snorted cocaine is between 30 and 70 milligrams. In a 2021 national survey, about 4.8 million people in the U.S. ages 12 or older said they had used cocaine in the past year. The rate was highest in the age group (1.2 million people or 3.5%), followed by those over age 26 (3.6 million or 1.6%).

cocaine health risks

The best way to support someone coping with addiction is to encourage them to find help. It’s also important to remember cocaine use often has a ripple effect, putting stress and strain on relationships. If that’s your situation, consider participating in a support group. While cocaine and crack cocaine highs are brief, the drug may stay in your system for up to three days.

How Does the Method of Ingestion Influence Cocaine’s Short-Term Effects?

But there are a few medication options doctors are having some success with. When you snort it, it takes slightly longer to feel the effects. Use of cocaine is less common in the U.S. than misuse of prescription painkillers (reported by 2.4 million people in the 2021 survey), or use of hallucinogenic drugs (2.2 million). Others dissolve the drug in water and inject it with a needle.

But it can also produce some not-so-pleasant psychological and physical effects. Healthline does not endorse the use of any illegal substances, and we recognize abstaining from them is always the safest approach. However, we believe in providing accessible and accurate information to reduce the harm that can occur when using. Cocaine — aka coke, blow, and snow — is a powerful stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant. It usually comes in the form of a white, crystalline powder. The FDA hasn’t approved any medicine to treat cocaine addiction.

Some research has suggested that cocaine damages the way immune cells work in your body, which could make HIV worse. Along with the physical risks, cocaine use can affect your life in other ways. It’s important to remember addiction is a chronic disease. It’s not a sign of weakness, bad judgement or other personal characteristics.

How long do the effects take to kick in?

Using cocaine may change how people’s brains work and increase their risk for many serious medical issues. Finding the next high may seem like the most important thing in their lives. But the impact of cocaine use can last for months, years or a lifetime. If you think someone you love is using cocaine, encourage them to seek help. Ask a healthcare provider about programs and services for people affected by another person’s cocaine use. Your brain becomes desensitized to cocaine when you use it frequently, so larger amounts taken more often are needed to feel the same effects.1,3 This concept is known as tolerance.

  1. Most deaths that are attributed to cocaine usage come from a seizure or heart attack.
  2. When people take cocaine, their blood pressure goes up and their heart races.
  3. The drug disulfiram, which is used to treat alcoholism, has shown some promise for cocaine addiction.

It bypasses all that when you inject or smoke it, allowing it to enter the bloodstream almost immediately. In early tests, a vaccine helped reduce the risk of relapse in people who use cocaine. The vaccine activates your immune system to create antibodies that attach to cocaine and stop it from making its way into your brain. But we need much more research into whether the  vaccine  is safe and effective over the long term. The drug disulfiram, which is used to treat alcoholism, has shown some promise for cocaine addiction. Scientists don’t know exactly how it works to reduce cocaine use.

What are the side effects of cocaine use?

For example, it affects the amount of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerve cells in the brain. Long-term cocaine use dulls thinking processes and the ability to remember information. Cocaine use may make the brain’s stress receptors more sensitive to stress, so people react more strongly to stressful situations. Normal amounts of dopamine can make us feel happy, alert and focused.

Mixing alcohol and cocaine has also been shown to increase cravings for each substance, leading to a higher risk of dependence. Counseling and other types of therapy are the most common treatments for cocaine use disorder. Sessions with a trained therapist can help you make changes to your behaviors and thought processes. You may need to stay in a rehabilitation center (also known as rehab) for intensive therapy and support.

There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data. Whenever possible, you should consult with a doctor or other treatment professional to help you make any treatment decisions in order to ensure that they will be the best choices for you. Cocaine is a powerful drug that can cause serious side effects that can happen very quickly after you start using the drug. Cocaine has many street names like snow, nose candy, coke, Big C, flake and blow.

At the same time, you might develop what’s called sensitization to the drug. That means it takes less of it to cause negative effects like anxiety and convulsions. Another reason cocaine can lead to substance use disorder is that each time you use it, your body builds a tolerance. That means you have to use more and more of the drug to get high. Since it’s an illegal drug, you can never be sure about the quality of cocaine. To make more money, dealers may “cut” the drug with other substances, like flour, baking soda, cornstarch, or talcum powder.

Short-Term Health Effects of Cocaine Usage

If you do attend rehab, continuing treatment afterward (aftercare) is important to help you avoid relapse. Your chances of getting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are higher if you use cocaine. The drug can also speed up the progress of an HIV infection.