effects of cocaine
Updated on February 27, 2020

There are an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States that have used cocaine in the past month.1

Not only is cocaine highly addictive, but there are several negative effects of cocaine on the body and the brain. With time, these problems can get worse and more serious. While addicts use the drug for its euphoric effects, they often do not realize the damage they are doing to their body and the detrimental effects of cocaine use both in the short and long run.

What Does Cocaine Do to Your Body?

Cocaine can have different short-term and long-term effects on the human body. The exact side effects will depend on a variety of factors such as the frequency of abuse, dosage, combination with other substances, and the user’s overall health. While some people may experience more serious side effects than others, cocaine use will cause the user’s body to react in some way, shape, or form. As a  drug rehab in Naperville, we work with people in various stages of cocaine addiction and see the effects of cocaine on the body in both the long- and short-term.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Most people will take cocaine because of the euphoric high that the substance provides. Almost immediately after consumption, the user will begin to experience the psychological and physical effects from this drug.

If you suspect that your loved one could be using, you should look out for these short-term effects of cocaine use including:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased levels of dopamine causing a high and making the user feel more alert and energetic
  • Possible tremors or muscle twitches
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli
  • Possible headaches
  • Possible psychosis or agitated mental health issues2,3

If your loved one is exhibiting many of these signs, they probably need professional help. Our  partial hospitalization program in Chicago is available to assist before the negative effects of cocaine use turn into more severe long-term issues.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

While the immediate effects of cocaine use typically dissipate after an hour or so, the effects of cocaine abuse on the body are long-lasting. The longer a person regularly uses cocaine, the greater the negative effects on the body and the brain. Without proper cocaine treatment to help the addict stop using the drug, the long-term effects can be devastating and overwhelming. Some of the most common long-term effects of cocaine on the body include:

  • Changes in brain chemistry, which cause the addict to crave the drug when exposed to triggers
  • Nasal issues from snorting cocaine – loss of smell, holes in the septum, runny noses, and swallowing problems
  • Significant increased risk of heart attacks
  • Changes to metabolism and problems storing fat
  • Neurological problems that could lead to seizures, strokes, and even coma
  • Weight loss and malnourishment from decreased appetite
  • Lung problems from smoking including pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and tumors4

At Banyan Chicago, we want to help you avoid these long-term effects. If you or your loved one is struggling with cocaine abuse or another drug addiction, do not wait to find support. Contact us today at 888-280-4763 to begin your physical, mental, and emotional recovery from cocaine addiction.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?
  2. NCBI – Drug abuse and stroke
  3. Science Direct – Cocaine: History, Social Implications, and Toxicity—A Review
  4. NCBI – Respiratory complications of cocaine abuse

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.