Cocaine is an extremely potent and addicting drug. Many people become hooked on cocaine for the powerful high and energy rush it creates. While its appeal is strong, those who engage in long-term cocaine abuse can damage their body to the point of becoming life-threatening. The damage that cocaine has on the body can become irreversible and can lead to a lifetime of hospital visits, medical bills, and health complications.
The following article will highlight the consequences of long-term cocaine abuse. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to this dangerous drug, it is important that you seek immediate professional help. The experienced and compassionate professionals at Pinnacle Recovery will provide you the programming and support you need to get clean and sober for good.
The Effects of Long-Term Cocaine Abuse
- Cardiovascular Damage
One of the most dire consequences of long-term cocaine addiction is its effects on the cardiovascular system. Chronic cocaine abuse leads to increased blood pressure, heart rate and it constricts the blood vessels in both and brain and heart. Long-term use of cocaine can lead to more serious consequences such as the formation of blood clots near the heart, deep vein thrombosis, and arrhythmia. These conditions can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and death.
- Liver Damage
Another consequence of chronic cocaine abuse is serious damage to the liver. Cocaine releases toxins that flood the liver to the degree that it can’t filter them out. This is especially true for those who combine cocaine with alcohol. This combination produces a toxin known as cocaethylene. This compound stresses the heart, damages the liver and increases the probability of death due to acute liver failure.
- Kidney Damage
Long-term cocaine abuse also causes major damage to the kidneys. This can occur due to lack of blood flow to the kidneys as a result of chronic high blood pressure. Additionally, cocaine can create a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. This condition destroys skeletal muscles, and when these muscles die it floods the body with toxins. When these toxins reach the kidneys, they will become damaged and fail.
- Brain Damage
As stated earlier, cocaine use causes blood vessels to constrict in the brain. This significantly decreases the amount of oxygen that the brain needs to properly function. This not only increases the risk of brain damage; it also can increase the risk of an aneurysm. There are also other life-threatening dangers that can occur in the brain including ischemic strokes (mini-strokes), shrinking of the brain, tremors, inflammation of brain vessels (known as cerebral vasculitis) and hyperpyrexia. This condition creates a high fever which requires immediate medical attention.
Long-term cocaine use also causes premature aging of the brain. This can cause prolonged memory loss that can mimic the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. For those who run a risk of developing dementia, long-term cocaine abuse will trigger dementia symptoms much earlier in their lifespan.
- Respiratory Issues
Depending on the route of administration, long-term cocaine addiction causes severe respiratory issues. For those who snort the drug, it causes severe irritation to nasal irritation which increases the risk of developing upper respiratory infections. However, these complications are greatly magnified if users smoke crack cocaine. Because blood vessels in the lungs severely constrict when cocaine is smoked, it increases the risk of pneumonia and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.
Another respiratory condition that can develop with crack cocaine use is “crack lung”. Symptoms associated with this condition include the presence of black mucus, raised body temperature and body pain. While those who snort cocaine may not experience severe respiratory issues, the drug often damages nasal tissues which can die. This will expose nose cartilage which will also die over time, creating a condition known as sepsis and will create a hole in the nasal cavity.
- Increased Risk of Infectious Diseases
For those who abuse cocaine long-term, they run the risk of contracting infectious and communicable diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. While some of the risks can be attributed to sharing dirty needles if cocaine is administered intravenously, most of the risk is associated with impulse and risk-taking behaviors. Because cocaine affects the areas of the brain the regulate decision-making, users often engage in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex. Additionally, cocaine suppresses the immune system, and users can be more susceptible to illness and disease.
Getting Help for Long-Term Cocaine Abuse
If you or a loved one is abusing cocaine long term, it is absolutely critical you get immediate professional help. While you may feel they can quit on their own, the risk for relapse and further health complications run high. By seeking help at a reputable drug treatment facility, you can get the help and support they need to regain your physical and psychological health.
When you are looking for treatment, the facility you are looking at must have medical detox services. When you quit cocaine, you will experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable. In detox, you will receive medication-based therapy and other interventions that will help you regain physical and psychological stability.
The facility you look at must also have drug treatment programs that are effective, proven to work and can be tailored to meet your specific and unique needs. These facilities should also offer options such as inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient or day treatment. Additionally, drug treatment facilities should also offer aftercare and alumni programs to help you stay on track and motivated after formal treatment ends.
Call Pinnacle Recovery Today
The choices you have in treatment can be overwhelming, but Pinnacle Recovery can help. Our dedicated team of professionals will work with you or a loved one in finding the treatment options that will work. Our programs are accredited and proven to work. No matter the severity of your addiction, Pinnacle Recovery can help you find the peace, health, and serenity of long-term recovery. Don’t wait another day to address long-term cocaine abuse; call Pinnacle Recovery toll-free right now.