The Long-Term Effects of Cocaine: What You Need to Know

The Long-Term Effects of Cocaine: What You Need to Know

By Jennifer McDougall

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. It’s highly addictive because it increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating reward and pleasure, producing feelings of euphoria. As a result, cocaine use can lead to compulsive drug taking—repeatedly using the drug despite negative consequences. Cocaine abuse can also cause serious health problems, including heart disease and respiratory failure — even death — especially when combined with other substances or alcohol. This article discusses some of the long-term effects of cocaine abuse on your body.


Paranoia is a feeling of fear and anxiety that is not based on reality. It can be mild or severe but often leads to violent or self-harming behavior. Paranoia is common among cocaine users, who may become suspicious of others’ motives and intentions.

It’s important to note that paranoia does not always mean that someone is high on drugs—it can also be caused by mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.


If you’re depressed and have a history of cocaine use, your depression may be caused by the drug. Depression is common among cocaine users. Although the exact reasons are not fully understood, it’s believed that cocaine can harm the brain’s reward system, which may cause an increased risk of depression.

Depression can also be caused by withdrawal from cocaine or other drugs. When people stop using drugs, they often feel tired, irritable, and restless—and those feelings usually last longer than expected because the body has trouble adjusting to life without its regular dose of chemicals.

You should find that therapy works well for easing symptoms related to depression and anxiety—or perhaps combining therapy with medication helps keep both mental health issues at bay more effectively than either method alone would accomplish over time.


Hallucinations are seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. They can be as simple as feelings of being watched or as complex as seeing glimpses of the future. Hallucinations are a symptom of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Hallucinations also happen when a person consumes drugs such as cocaine.

Increased risk of suicide

The effects of cocaine on your brain can also cause you to feel invincible. As a stimulant, it can make you feel very energetic and confident. This can lead to risky behavior like driving intoxicated or getting into fights. In addition, because cocaine is often used in social settings such as parties and clubs, users may engage in risky sexual activity that could lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or unintended pregnancy, which would result in higher rates of HIV infection.

Physical problems

Long-term use of cocaine can cause a variety of physical problems. These include:

  • Cardiovascular issues (heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure)
  • Respiratory problems (bronchitis)
  • Lung damage
  • Brain damage (cognitive impairment and psychosis)
  • Liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • Kidney damage

Heart damage

Heart damage is a serious long-term consequence of cocaine use. The heart is a muscle and can be damaged by any substance that causes muscle damage, including cocaine. Heart damage can lead to heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure, all of which are severe conditions that require immediate medical attention.

Heart damage can also be caused by combining cocaine with other drugs like alcohol or methamphetamines. Furthermore, people with existing health problems like high blood pressure or diabetes may be at an even higher risk for developing complications from cocaine use than those who are healthy.

Heart damage is preventable if you don’t take drugs or drink alcohol.

Respiratory problems, including coughing, chest pain, and asthma

Cocaine can cause inflammation of the airways and can lead to coughing, chest pain, and asthma. These symptoms are likely caused by cocaine’s effects on the central nervous system, which include causing your heart rate to increase along with your blood pressure. The increased blood flow bound for the lungs may also cause them to become inflamed.

If you experience any of these respiratory problems while using cocaine, seek medical help immediately so they can diagnose its cause and treat it accordingly. It is also important to note that a person who smokes crack cocaine may have an even greater risk of developing severe respiratory problems because individuals who smoke crack tend to inhale more smoke than those who use powdered forms of cocaine such as “freebase” or “crack-cocaine.”

Long-term cocaine use can lead to many different problems for your health.

Cocaine is a stimulant that increases activity in the nervous system, so it’s not surprising that long-term use can lead to paranoia, depression, hallucinations, and even an increased risk of suicide. However, it also causes physical problems like heart damage and respiratory problems. In addition to these severe effects on your body, there are also long-term emotional effects caused by using cocaine.


As you can see, cocaine has many effects on the human body. Some of these effects are short-term and temporary, while others are long-term and permanent. The most severe dangers include heart damage and respiratory problems. Cocaine is also known to cause hallucinations, paranoia, and anxiety attacks in some individuals. In addition to these health risks associated with using cocaine, there are also legal penalties related to its use or possession that could result in jail time or fines, depending on your state.

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