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Cocaine is a drug that can quickly pull you into the grips of addiction. For many, professional help is needed to quit using the drug as well as to prevent relapse. Prolonged use of cocaine can harm your body and possibly be fatal. This article reviews the different effects of the drug.

Cocaine Tolerance

As you use cocaine repeatedly, your body builds up a tolerance to the drug. Eventually, increased quantities and increased frequency are needed to gain the same effects. This happens because your brain adapts to the drug, changing its chemical composition and structure in order to compensate for the presence of the drug. This leads to decreased sensitivity to the substance. On the other hand, you may also become more sensitive to the toxic effects, such as high anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis and convulsions.

Respiratory System

Since one of the most common ways to ingest cocaine is to snort it, nose and throat problems as well as lung issues are commonly seen as a result of frequent cocaine usage. Nosebleeds, loss of nasal tissue, throat and nasal inflammations as well as hoarseness and trouble swallowing have been reported.

Digestion and Nutrition

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant. If you use it frequently, it decreases your appetite. Prolonged use of cocaine may result in poor nutrition, weight loss and the accompanying problems this can cause. The drug can also lead to stomach pain from inflammation due to decreased blood flow, which has been known to lead to severe bowel gangrene.

HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis

If you’re a cocaine user who injects the drug, you stand an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis. When cocaine is injected directly into the bloodstream via IV needles, sharing or using unclean needles has been known to transmit diseases. Also, while high, the odds of having unprotected sex rises, increasing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.


Cocaine makes your heart beat faster, sometimes to dangerously high levels, which can lead to a heart attack. Increased heart rates can also lead to high blood pressure and a stroke. All of these conditions can be fatal.

The Good News

Cocaine dependence and addiction is treatable with professional help. The focus of addiction treatment is on helping you to abstain and then learning to avoid relapse. There is research being done to develop medications for cocaine dependence to help in both these areas. At present, there are medicines that can help with cravings and prevent relapse, such as baclofen, tiagabine and topiramate.

Since the cravings for cocaine will be strong, it’s important to seek professional help to get the medications and treatment you’ll need to help you achieve and maintain recovery. Other therapies, like counseling and 12-step meetings, will help you to discover and heal the psychological roots of the initial substance abuse.

People can and do recover from cocaine addiction, and it’s important to seek help before any permanent damage is done to your body.

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How Does Cocaine Addiction Affect My Body?
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