Cocaine’s Effects on the Body

Cocaine’s Effects on the Body

Cocaine has an impact on the brain and body. A list of possible side effects include both short and long term issues for people who use cocaine. Find out more about how the drug affects individuals and the ramifications of continuing to use cocaine on the body.

Cocaine and the Body

The body is impacted differently in each person when cocaine enters the system. One effect is common across the board: a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. Effects of cocaine can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. Cocaine can be administered different ways so it depends how it goes into the body how the ‘rush’ will impact the brain and body.


Cocaine and the Brain


The central nervous system is impacted by cocaine use. The stimulant increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine which regulates pleasure and movement. Dopamine is normally released by neurons in the circuits in response to potential rewards and recycled back into the cell. Cocaine prevents the dopamine from being recycled, causing excessive amounts to build up in the synapse or junction between neurons. The signal of dopamine is amplified and disruptions normal brain communication over time.


Cocaine and the Central Nervous System


Cocaine impacts the central nervous system as its primary target. The reuptake of neurotransmitters in the neuronal synapses is blocked. Euphoria, pharmacological pleasure and intense cocaine craving are the result. Cocaine also affects other organs which account for the majority of complications associated with cocaine abuse.


Cocaine and the Heart


People who use cocaine can suffer heart attacks or strokes which may bring on sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of the heart stopping followed by arrested breathing. Cocaine users will experience higher rates of multiple factors associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Individuals who use cocaine had a 30 to 35% increase in aortic stiffening, higher blood pressure and an 18% greater thickness of the heart’s left ventricle wall.


Multiple Effects


When a person uses cocaine, it impacts many parts of the body across the board. This may include:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Liver function
  • Lungs and respiratory system
  • Skin
  • Teeth and gums

Cocaine is a drug which has known toxicity for an unborn child and mother’s breast milk. It is important that mothers who are pregnant or want to become pregnant stop using cocaine to avoid negatively impacting the health of the baby. From the time a baby is born, it can be addicted to crack when the mother uses the drug or is addicted. Medication, treatment and sometimes hospitalization are required to support both mother and baby to wean off the drug. It may have detrimental physical and mental health effects on both mother and baby in the long term if not dealt with promptly.

The Villa supports individuals who struggle with cocaine addiction. It is a difficult drug to withdraw from without outside help. Call us for help if you want to quit using cocaine. We can guide you to the right resources and information to make the best decision for your situation.