Cocaine is one of the most abused drugs around the world and, in fact, it is now relatively normalized in social settings that have nothing to do with the contexts of marginality in which one usually thinks when we deal with the subject of addictive substances In fact, Spain is currently the European country where we consume the most cocaine.
But despite its popularity, this psychostimulant has very negative effects on both the physical and psychological health of the person. Therefore, it is important to understand the effects this substance has on people’s bodies and mindsand the implications of its continued use for relatively long periods of time.
What are the main long-term effects of cocaine addiction?
For several decades, the consumption of cocaine has been increasing in Western countries and the users are younger and younger, which constitutes a real public health problem which is perpetuated by the social dynamics of normalization and imitation. In fact, in some social circles, the use of this drug has become romanticized, which it comes to be seen as a component of more than one way of life based on sacrifice and the need to give the best of yourself to achieve all the professional goals you set for yourself.
But beyond this self-serving way of looking at the use of a very harmful drug, the reality is that cocaine produces significant problems, some of which are underestimated simply because they develop over a long time scale. term and, therefore, they are not taken into account.
Below, we briefly outline the major long-term effects of continued cocaine use.
Chronic insomnia and sleep disturbances are usually one of the main symptoms which show people who use cocaine continuously for several months or years.
This difficulty in sleeping is linked to the activating effects that the drug has on the body, which develop in the person a continuous feeling of euphoria and nervous hyperactivation.
2. Harmful eating habits
The appetite of people who spend some time using cocaine is expressed in an altered way dominated by impulsivenesssomething that can cause real long-term health problems, usually more related to malnutrition than malnutrition.
3. Cardiovascular changes
For several decades, medical science has studied in detail the effects of prolonged cocaine use on people’s cardiovascular health.
It is well known that there are several cardiovascular diseases associated with the consumption of cocaine and this type of alteration tends to seriously affect the health of the person and even to shorten his longevity due to the wear and tear of the tissues of the blood vessels and from the heart
Some of the most common cardiovascular disorders caused by cocaine are cardiomyopathy, acute coronary syndrome, left ventricular hypertrophy and arrhythmias.
4. Psychotic disorders
The continuous consumption of cocaine can eventually cause the onset of psychotic disorders: schizophrenia, paranoid ideas of persecution or grandeur, auditory hallucinations, etc.
This onset of mental disorders is due to ongoing damage that long-term cocaine use exerts on certain structures of the human brainthe consequences of which are truly devastating, since they completely modify the personality of those who regularly introduce the drug into their organism.
5. Respiratory disorders and damage to the respiratory system
Nasal cocaine use is one of the most common in the world, and this practice has a direct effect on a person’s health and the proper functioning of their body.
Some of the main problems encountered when nasally drinking are loss of smell, nosebleeds, hoarseness, swallowing problems, irritation of the nasal passages and, in more severe cases, perforation of the nasal septum.
Respiratory disorders are also common, especially in case of nasal or inhaled consumption, cases in which the risk of contracting respiratory diseases of all types increases.
The main respiratory disorders associated with long-term cocaine use are pneumonia, generalized cough, asthma and difficulty in breathing normally.
6. Emotional changes
People who use this drug for a long time can suffer from many emotional disorders, since cocaine has a destructive effect on both the person’s psyche and his physical health.
The main psychological or emotional alterations of continued cocaine use are an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, or sudden mood swings.
In addition to this, symptoms such as irritability and even aggression are also common.
7. Menstrual changes
Continuous cocaine use has been shown to cause a wide variety of menstrual disorders in women. Continuous cocaine use in women can lead to hormonal alteration that eventually results in changes in menstrual rhythm.
8. Sexual Alterations
Male sexual impotence is also a classic feature of continued cocaine use, including the occurrence of erectile dysfunction or painful erection.
In addition to this, we can also find symptoms like loss of sexual desire caused by pain or inability to maintain a continuous sexual relationship.
9. Gastrointestinal Disorders
Long-term cocaine use also has a devastating effect on the gastrointestinal system of the person who uses it continuously.
Among the main gastrointestinal effects that affect the health of the individual are digestive bleeding, perforation of the hollow viscera and ischemic colitis.
10. Increased risk of contracting diseases
As with most chemical addictions, continued cocaine use also puts the person at increased risk of contracting certain diseases, because of the way of life to which dependent people are exposed.
Some of the most common diseases are usually HIV or hepatitis (if given intravenously), lung diseases such as pneumonia, or severe allergic reactions.
When is it time to go to therapy?
The time to seek professional help for cocaine use is when cocaine use has become routine. This implies that it is not necessary to wait to realize that an addiction has developed, since in practice this type of disorder begins earlier. If cocaine use is not daily but part of daily life and weekly habits, most likely there is already a problem and that the disease has begun to take hold and affect the biological and psychological dynamics on which the person operates.
Fortunately, thanks to the combination of medical and psychotherapeutic help, it will be possible to help the person to detoxify and to adopt strategies for emotional management and maintenance of healthy lifestyle habits and adequate socialization to keep drugs away.