Every year, hundreds of deaths are linked to cocaine use, but can cocaine kill you directly?

Record amounts of cocaine are being seized by the UK Border Force and UK Police and millions of adults in the UK have admitted to using cocaine in the last year. Here, we explore the effects of cocaine use as well as the dangers of cocaine in more detail and answer the question.

Group clapping in therapy

What is Cocaine and How is it Used?

Cocaine is a Class A drug that’s classified as a stimulant. It’s incredibly powerful and addictive and typically comes in a white powder form that is rubbed on gums or snorted.

When cocaine enters the system, it changes the way the body and brain communicate to each other. It also increases the brain’s natural production of dopamine, which is also known as the brain’s feel good chemical. For this reason, it can lead to individuals feeling excited, happy, panicky and more likely to take risks.

This is one of the biggest reasons why cocaine is so dangerous along with the fact that regular cocaine use has been shown to change the way the brain releases dopamine. Cocaine is commonly cut with sugar, starch and benzocaine (an anaesthetic) which can affect its purity and strength. This, again, makes it very dangerous.

Cocaine is very risky for anyone with high blood pressure or another heart condition. Even those individuals who are seemingly healthy and fit can have a heart attack, stroke or seizure after using cocaine.

Not only that, but if you mix cocaine with drugs or alcohol, you’re also putting yourself at serious risk of potentially fatal health implications.


Short-term Effects of Cocaine Use

A nurse talking to a patient about co occuring disorders.


The effects of cocaine can begin as little as five minutes after ingesting the substance. It’s important to remember that effects can vary from person to person and even from use to use so you never really know how cocaine might affect you. In the short-term, some of the most common side effects include:

  • Faster heart rate
  • Increased temperature
  • Feeling sick
  • Increased urge to go to the toilet
  • Higher blood pressure

Any drug use, including cocaine, can also remove your inhibitions and make you more likely to take risks and say or behave in a way that you wouldn’t usually. This can not only impact your relationships but also mean that you find yourself in troubling situations.


Long-term Effects of Cocaine Use

Similar to other drug use, there are also a number of long-term risks of cocaine use which impact your physical and mental health, finances, career and relationships. Some of the most common long-term effects of cocaine use include:

  • Damaged nose cartilage and misshapen noses
  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pains
  • Teeth and dental concerns
  • Damaged veins and ulcers
  • Mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety and paranoia
  • Addiction and overdose

Cocaine changes the way the brain functions and over time can alter the brain’s structure. This is because cocaine increases the natural production of dopamine, thus, after prolonged use, the brain will struggle to release dopamine itself meaning you require cocaine in order to feel good.

As you frequently take higher doses, you’ll require even more cocaine in order to get the desired feeling. This is known as tolerance and dependence and results in a vicious addiction cycle that can be difficult to break.


Can Cocaine Kill You?

can alcoholics ever drink again?


Any drug use is risky, and cocaine is no compromise. But, using cocaine doesn’t mean you will instantly die. However, there are a number of health conditions caused by cocaine, and indeed overdose, that can lead to death.

Cocaine use causes the heart’s arteries to constrict, reducing blood flow and resulting in chest pain and potential heart attack. Cocaine can also impact the heart’s natural rhythm which can lead to death in severe cases. While heart attacks won’t always result in death, it can permanently damage the heart.

Cocaine use can also lead to seizures because it changes the way the brain functions and can trigger abnormal activity. Seizures can vary from mild to severe and can result in neurological problems and even death. Strokes are another serious and potentially fatal complication of cocaine use. Again, they can be caused by cocaine constricting blood vessels in the brain and reducing blood flow and oxygen. Strokes can also cause long-term neurological damage.

Cocaine overdose, which occurs when someone takes too much of the drug, can also lead to heart failure, respiratory failure, seizures and many other life threatening conditions.


Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction

Women in mental health group therapy session taking about cocaine use


Cocaine use can quickly get out of hand, even if you think you’re in control. If you’re worried about your own cocaine use, there is a way out. From therapy groups to medication-assisted treatment, community support initiatives and even the likes of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) there are various cocaine treatment options available for individuals struggling with cocaine use.

What’s more, at Asana Lodge, we offer cocaine addiction recovery in a safe and supportive space. Our leading treatment centre has helped hundreds of individuals to regain control of their life while overcoming cocaine abuse. Not just that but our team of doctors, mental health experts, nurses and counsellors can help you to overcome cocaine effects and guide you to a happier and healthier life. While here, you’ll be supported through a withdrawal process, a medically-assisted detox and then you’ll take part in group and individual sessions.

Before your programme is up, you’ll also work with trained counsellors on aftercare and relapse prevention advice to help you to stay strong and resilient in the outside world.

You’ll also be provided with a point of contact and free aftercare for the first 12 months. It might feel overwhelming right now but you’ve never been closer to a sober life. Why not pick up the phone today and call us on 01908 489 421 to see how cocaine addiction treatment could help you? We promise you won’t look back.

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