Rehab 4 Addiction

It is scientifically proven that cocaine causes a series of long term effects on the body and mind.

It is also proven that years of serious and long term abuse can also result in irreversible damage to the body and mind.

In an attempt to treat these long term, often chronic effects of cocaine use, individual’s will likely spend the rest of their life in treatment, attending medical appointments and consuming the medication.

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, which acts as a powerful stimulant that affects the nervous system.

It has now been scientifically proven that cocaine causes irreversible damage to the nose, mouth, brain, heart, respiratory system, digestive system, liver and kidney [1].

What Happens When You Consume Cocaine?

When an individual consumes cocaine, the drug sends a chemical called dopamine to the part of the brain that receives and controls pleasure.

This makes individuals increasingly happy, energetic, alert and awake. Small amounts of cocaine will also make individuals feel talkative, sensitive to light, sound and touch [2].

This sensation is often referred to as a ‘high.’

Once you consume the drug, individuals feel the effects almost immediately, feeling the effects within a few minutes to one hour [2].

The faster an individual consumes the drug, the more intense ‘high’ they will feel. Likewise, the shorter the high will last [3].

For example, consuming the drug through the nose (also known and commonly referred to as ‘snorting’) produces a slow absorption of the drug [3].

However, smoking the drug produces a quicker and more immediate high [3].

Find out how long cocaine stays in your system.

Long Term Effects of Cocaine Use

Long term abuse of cocaine means that individuals build up a high tolerance to the drug. Subsequently, more of the drug is needed to then achieve the same level of ‘high’ as was once experienced by consuming less of the drug.

Individuals then consume more of the drug on a regular basis, which increases the negative and life long effects on the body and the mind.

Below are just some of the ways cocaine affects the body and the mind on a long term basis.

The Nose and Mouth

When an individual snorts cocaine through the nose, this creates a dry nose with less blood flow. Subsequently, this damages the cartilage in the nose and causes the nasal structure and septum to break down.

Likewise, this can also happen to the roof plate of the mouth.

Once the nasal structure breaks down, individuals often lose their smell, as well as experience frequent nose bleeds, difficulty in breathing through the nose as well as general irritation in and around the nose and septum.

Breathing and Respiratory Issues

When an individual smokes cocaine, it can lead to serious respiratory problems.

This is because smoking cocaine prevents oxygen from entering the blood system and damages capillaries along the way.

There have also been recent studies into cocaine abuse and pregnancy, where it was found that babies born from mothers who abuse cocaine are often found to have severe and life-changing breathing and respiratory issues [4].

The Heart

Although cocaine causes a lot of negative symptoms, chest pains are the most common side effect of cocaine abuse [5].

Excessive use of cocaine also leads to blood clots. As a consequence of this, individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack, a stroke or deep vein thrombosis.

As cocaine use also causes inflammation in and around the heart muscle, the heart also becomes weak and unable to contract as well as it would have used to.

Here are some other ways that the heart is affected due to cocaine abuse [6].

  • Blood clots
  • Angina
  • Tachycardia
  • Arrhythmia
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Increased blood pressure

The Stomach & Digestive System

Long term cocaine abuse also causes issues and problems with the digestive system.

For example, cocaine reduces the amount of blood to the intestines, which can lead to ulcers in the stomach.

This also leads to colitis and inflammation of the large intestine.

This can subsequently lead to asthma and pneumonia, as well as a long term cough, pain in the throat, a raised body temperature and black sputum and mucus.

The Brain

Cocaine abuse has long term consequences and effects on the brain. Studies have even shown that long term cocaine abuse actually changes the brain’s physical structure.

This is because cocaine abuse reduces the amount of oxygen to the brain. This can lead to serious brain damage, strokes, seizures, tremors, inflammation around the brain as well as a shrinking of the brain.

Long term cocaine abuse also changes the brain’s ability to do everyday tasks, too. For example, cocaine abuse can affect an individual’s attention span, decision-making skills, motor skills and reaction speed.

Cocaine abuse also reduces an individual’s long term memory, as well as their mental health. For example, cocaine can lead to depression, anxiety and paranoia [7].

Additionally, studies have shown that excessive cocaine abuse also changes the way the brain responds and deals with stress [6].

Unfortunately, it makes it harder for individuals to deal with stress, which only makes their chances of relapsing higher [7].

Below is a list of some other ways cocaine affects the brain.

  • Mini strokes and seizures
  • Hyperpyrexia (a severe, high temperature)
  • A shrinking and changing of the prefrontal cortex
  • Mood swings and disorders
  • Difficulty in movement, including muscle pain and weakness.

Infectious Diseases

As lots of people usually inject cocaine, it can often lead to a whole host of infectious diseases.

These include hepatitis and HIV which can lead to life-threatening complications.

If you think you have contracted an infectious disease because of your drug abuse, then it’s vital that you get in touch with a medical professional as soon as possible.

Your Kidneys and Liver

Additionally, excessive and long term cocaine abuse also has negative effects on an individual’s kidneys and liver.

As an individual consumes cocaine, it enters the bloodstream. As the blood passes through the kidneys, it can substantially cause serious and long term effects on the kidneys.

As the cocaine metabolises, it then affects the liver, causes liver damage and potentially liver disease.

Cocaine Overdose Signs and Symptoms

Once an individual starts to frequently abuse cocaine, they can become addicted very quickly.

Likewise, once an individual is addicted, their tolerance can increase very quickly too.

Increased tolerance is when an individual starts to feel the need to consume more in order to feel the same level of ‘high’ they once would have by consuming a lot less.

Cocaine is dangerous for anyone who takes it, and everyone is at risk of overdosing from cocaine.

If you’re worried that you or someone you know might overdose, then below are a list of symptoms to look out for.

  • Pains in the chest and heart area
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Frequently feeling out of breath
  • Experiencing seizures
  • Unstable mental health
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Frequent headaches
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling paranoid
  • Frequent headaches
  • Experiencing the sweats
  • Noticing problems or deterioration with your vision
  • Frequently feeling agitated
  • Delirium tremens and feelings of confusion
  • Diarrhea and being sick
  • Abdominal and stomach pain

Recovery from Cocaine Addiction

If you think that you’re addicted to cocaine, then it’s important that you get help.

Rehab 4 Addiction offers a range of services to help people take the first steps to their recovery.

This includes rehab for your cocaine addiction, help with interventions, outpatient treatment as well as aftercare support.

By contacting a member of our team today, you will receive a free assessment to help identify what kind of help you need.

Rehab 4 Addiction can help connect you with over 70 addiction and rehab centres across the UK, and will help you find the best local rehab and treatment for you and your specific needs.

Get Help Today with Your Cocaine Addiction

If you’re suffering from the long term effects of cocaine abuse, then it’s vital that you get the help you deserve and need.

If you want help with an addiction to cocaine, then get in touch with a member of our team today.

Our experienced team will be able to talk you through your treatment options, as well as the extent of your addiction, whether or not you are suffering from any mental health conditions, and which rehab centre would best suit you.

You can call us for free on 08001404690 to speak to our friendly team. Alternatively, you can visit us at for more information and details on how we can help.




[3] Advokat C, Comaty J, Julien R. Julien’s Primer of Drug Action. 13th ed. New York, NY: Worth Publishers; 2014.







Boris is our editor-in-chief at Rehab 4 Addiction. Boris is an addiction expert with more than 20 years in the field.  His expertise covers a broad of topics relating to addiction, rehab and recovery. Boris is an addiction therapist and assists in the alcohol detox and rehab process. Boris has been featured on a variety of websites, including the BBC, Verywell Mind and Healthline.