Cocaine: Side Effects and Long-term Effects
By: Beth McHugh 2007
This is our second article on cocaine and looks at the common short-term side effects and long-term effects of regular usage. The effect of cocaine on the body is determined by a number of factors including how much is ingested, the purity of the supply, your weight and height, your general health, your mood at the time of ingesting the drug, your past experiences with cocaine and whether or not other drugs such as alcohol, are taken simultaneously.
The immediate effects of cocaine ingestion are a feeling of confidence and wellbeing, a sensation of being excited, a propensity to take risks, loss of appetite, a feeling of increased alertness and energy, aggression and a desire to have sex.
The body will also react to this stimulant drug by displaying an increase in heart rate and respiration, a rise in body temperature, dilated pupils, and rapid body movements. Larger doses result in headaches (from increased blood pressure) , dizziness, restlessness, increased aggression, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in sex, chest pain, heart attack, fitting, and experiencing a psychotic episode where the person hears or sees things that aren’t really there, and nervousness, agitation and panic.
The long-term effects of cocaine usage include dependence on the drug for normal everyday functioning, poor interpersonal relationships due to aggression, work, money and housing problems. Other physical effects include nosebleeds, collapse of the nasal septum due to repeated snorting of a corrosive substance, increased likelihood of infection with hepatitis C, B or HIV, blood poisoning, and skin abscesses. Users may also pick at their skin to such an extent that skin grafts are required.
Smoking crack cocaine can cause breathing difficulties, a long–term cough, chest pain and lung damage.
Overdose of cocaine results in one or more of the following: fast, irregular or weak heartbeat, breathing problems, heart failure, rupture of blood vessels in the brain and death.
Next blog, tolerance and dependence on cocaine and withdrawal effects.