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Side Effects Of Cocaine Abuse On Health

Author : Alexandra Burke


Cocaine is extremely addictive central nervous system stimulant. Many people, particularly in the United States are abusing Cocaine and getting destroyed. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009, about 1.6 million Americans above the age of 12 were found to be Cocaine users. Widespread Cocaine abuse in America may be due to ignorance of serious side effects of Cocaine abuse on health. Here are some common side effects of Cocaine abuse:

Cocaine is one among the illicit drugs that have powerful negative effects on the health of the abuser. Dreadful negative effects are observed in brain, heart and many other vital organs causing long-term and life threatening consequences among Cocaine abusers.

• Side effects on brain
Cocaine gives pleasurable experiences such as euphoria, excitement, sociability, and increased energy. However, many side effects including anxiety, dizziness, nausea, psychosis, headache and confusion are observed with Cocaine use. These are the result of alteration of responses of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and others.

Dysphoric mood, fatigue, unpleasant dreams, insomnia or hypersomnia, hallucinations, and depression are also seen in Cocaine abusers. Loss of consciousness and seizures are the most serious side effects of Cocaine abuse.

• Side effects on throat
As cocaine is mostly inhaled, it affects the nasal passages and throat. Nasal irritation, recurrent nosebleeds, and sinusitis are observed due to decreased blood supply. Difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness, cough and constant sore throat are caused by inhalation of cocaine vapors.

• Side effects on lungs
Most lung and breathing complications are the direct effects of smoking Cocaine. Residues of Cocaine in lungs cause chronic bronchitis and chronic cough. The ability of lungs to process the gases is damaged by Cocaine. Continuous cough with black, non-bloody phlegm is observed resulting in shortness of breath and chest pain. Sometimes fluid can enter the lungs causing pulmonary edema which leads to respiratory failure and death.

• Side effects on heart
Cocaine is responsible for stimulation of sympathetic nervous system mostly on hormone called adrenaline. This creates a direct effect on cardiovascular system. Increased heart rate and high blood pressure are caused by Cocaine abuse. Acute use of Cocaine narrows the arteries, which are termed as vasospasm. It decreases blood flow to the heart causing chest pain, heart attack and may even lead to death.

Some other complications of Cocaine in cardiovascular system include abnormal heart rhythms, heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy, and dissection of aortic walls termed aortic rupture. Chronic use of Cocaine accelerates hardening and subsequent narrowing of coronary arteries.

• Side effects on skin
Based on the mode of ingestion, the effects of Cocaine on skin vary. When the drug is consumed by injections, open sores and skin ulcers are caused by rapid destruction of skin tissues. Skin infections like cellulitis or abcesses might rise as a result of open sores in such persons. Smoking Cocaine may cause problems such as deep breath and sharp chest pain. The air from the lungs gets trapped under the skin of neck causing severe pain when touched. This condition is termed as subcutaneous emphysema.

Regardless of the mode of ingestion, Cocaine causes formication and dermatillomania. Long-term Cocaine use leads to a hallucination disorder called formication, where the abuser feels like bugs crawling under the skin. So, the person scratches the skin that leads to lesions, bleeding and infection. Paranoia and obsessive behavior of cocaine abusers leads to a pathological skin picking disorder called as dermatillomania. Skin and moles are picked up by the abused person creating open sores. The immune system of Cocaine abusing person is weakened and this may result in longer time for healing the sores.

Consumption of Cocaine leads to most serious side effects in major parts of the body including brain, heart and lungs. This affects the total health of the abuser. In addition, Cocaine also causes damage to liver, kidneys, and eyes. The effects get worsen by continuous use of Cocaine and hence it is necessary to avoid or stop Cocaine consumption. People should be aware of the harmful effects of cocaine on health to give up or stay away from Cocaine.


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Submitted : 2011-02-10    Word Count : 754    Times Viewed: 303