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Long-term Cocaine Abuse—and Your Body

A young man concentrating on his text book as he studies
Cocaine can offer a few moments of euphoria, but it can also take away the ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.


You can overdose on cocaine the first time you try it. But you can also overdose unexpectedly after using cocaine for years. With cocaine, there is always the risk of death, especially if you take it with alcohol or other drugs.

That’s not to mention, of course, the mental and psychological risks that come hand-in-hand with cocaine use. Severe depression. Suicidal thoughts. Insomnia. Cognitive impairment.

Most people know about the risks of addiction or overdose, but many are not aware of cocaine’s insidious ability to destroy your physical health.

Addiction and the Long-term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Some people think of cocaine as something they’ll indulge in a few times a year.

The problem (other than the obvious risk of death) is that it’s extremely addictive. And once those big nights become more common, you’re beginning to risk not only a serious addiction, but also your health.

Some risks depend on how you take the drug.

Snorting cocaine can lead to a loss of your sense of smell, as well as problems with hoarseness, swallowing and a chronically runny nose.

Smoking crack cocaine can damage the lungs—or worsen existing asthma.

Injecting the drug brings an increased risk for infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. (It’s important to note that, even if you don’t share needles, cocaine still weakens the immune system and increases your chances of contracting HIV.)

No matter how you consume it, cocaine has significant effects on the heart and cardiovascular system. It can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as lead to inflammation of the heart muscle, the deterioration of the ability of the heart to contract and aortic ruptures.

Many chronic users of cocaine lose their appetite and become malnourished. What’s more, the drug can reduce the blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to tears and ulcerations. Chronic diarrhea can also become a way of life.

Lastly, cocaine can cause impotence in men and infertility in women.

It’s possible to get lucky and avoid some of these problems, but long-term cocaine abuse is almost guaranteed to lead to addiction. Once that happens, cocaine will be in the driver’s seat. Your health, family, job and friends will take a backseat to the pursuit of a drug that could—at any time—end your life.

While it is not easy to break free from cocaine’s grip, it is certainly possible

A New Future at The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver where healing begins in a nurturing, relaxed home environment. Cocaine wreaks havoc on both your mind and body. Our team of doctors, nurses and therapists will work with you to begin the healing process—and help launch your new life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the cocaine addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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