How Addictive Is Cocaine: Impacts On Your Brain & Body

Cocaine is a common recreational drug made from the leaves of the coca plant. It can be snorted in the form of a white powder or smoked as a crystalline rock (known as crack). When under the influence of cocaine, users experience increased energy levels, feelings of happiness and elation, and increased sensitivity to sight, sound, and touch. However, the long-term impact of taking cocaine can be devastating and regular use often leads to serious addiction issues. 

How Addictive Is Cocaine?

When you use cocaine, it impacts you mentally and physically in a number of ways. It is these changes, especially those to your brain, that makes cocaine such an addictive drug in the first place. 

After taking cocaine, there are some immediate effects on the body. These include: 

  • High energy levels and extreme happiness
  • Increased alertness and mental awareness
  • Increased sensitivity to outside stimulus
  • Irritability or paranoia
  • Increased body temperature and blood pressure (leading to an increased risk of heart attack)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Inability to sleep
  • Restlessness

The effects of cocaine can last anywhere from minutes to hours, depending on the strength and whether it has been mixed with other substances and the method of taking the drug. As soon as the effects wear off, the user is left with a craving to take more of the drug. This craving soon develops into an addiction. 

Physical Effects Of Cocaine On The Body

When you consider the physical effects of cocaine on the body, many of them are negative. So, why do people have such a strong craving to take cocaine again in the first place? 

It is the impact that cocaine has on the brain that leads to addiction. When somebody takes cocaine, it affects the neurotransmitters in their brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send messages around the brain and this messaging system determines how you think and feel. Certain chemicals, like dopamine or adrenaline, affect how happy and energetic you feel. Normally, when doing something you enjoy, dopamine is released in the brain and it makes you feel good. Usually, the dopamine is recycled, but when you take cocaine, that doesn’t happen. Instead, it tells your brain to keep storing it so high levels build up and that is where the feeling of extreme happiness comes from. 

After the effect wears off, the brain craves that feeling again, causing people to take more cocaine. Over time, with regular use, you can completely rewire the way that the messaging system in your brain works, so it only releases dopamine when taking cocaine. This is how addiction develops and once addicted, people experience a number of withdrawal symptoms as soon as they stop taking cocaine: 

  • Depression 
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Increased appetite
  • Sleep problems 
  • Restlessness 
  • Poor cognitive function and memory 

Cocaine Dependency

In order to avoid these withdrawal symptoms and feel ‘normal,’ addicts will continue taking cocaine and find it incredibly difficult to stop. The more often somebody uses cocaine, the higher their tolerance to the drug is. This means that they need to take larger amounts to feel any effect, and their addiction continues to grow worse. In many cases, people start using crack cocaine because it is more potent and they are more likely to feel the effects. 

Once somebody is addicted to a drug, they find it impossible to stop taking it, even though they understand the damage it is doing. Long-term physical effects of cocaine addiction include: 

  • Nasal damage from snorting cocaine; loss of smell, trouble swallowing, constant nosebleeds
  • Lung damage, coughing, and asthma from smoking crack cocaine
  • Damage to intestines from oral ingestion
  • Poor nutrition and severe weight loss
  • Increased risk of heart disease

Managing Addictions

Unless cocaine addicts can find a way to manage their addiction, it will drastically shorten their life expectancy and cause a lot of destructive behavior in the meantime. The right treatment programs can help people with cocaine addictions learn to control the cravings that they get when not taking cocaine. Eventually, over time, the dopamine systems in the brain are able to return to normal. So, recovering addicts can begin to find pleasure in things again without relying on cocaine to make them feel normal. 

At Findlay Recovery Center we offer drug addiction rehab programs to help those struggling with cocaine addiction. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, our tailored treatment programs can help you to manage your addiction and move forward with your life. 

If you are interested in the help that we can offer, you can contact us today to learn more about our treatment options.   

Download this article

5 Reasons You Should Detox under Expert Care at an Addiction Treatment Facility

When you decide to break free from addiction, you have to give your body enough time to rid itself of the harmful chemicals and toxins left by the alcohol or substances you were taking. This is referred to as detoxification. The detox process can be challenging and...

Nurturing the Healing Brain: Childhood’s Impact on Addiction Recovery

As our knowledge of the brain expands and grows, researchers have shifted their focus to understanding how childhood impacts addiction recovery. The key to successful treatment lies in tapping into the depths of neuroscience, taking a holistic approach that recognizes...

Finding Balance Through Combining Active and Passive Elements of Addiction Recovery Support

Navigating the process of addiction recovery can be an intimidating and often overwhelming prospect. Many people know they want to get clean, but don't know where to begin or how to stay on track with their progress. At its core, successful recovery requires creating...

Understanding the Relationship Between Healthy Eating Habits and Relapse Prevention in Addiction Treatment

Eating healthy is an integral part of addiction treatment and recovery. In fact, the relationship between healthy eating habits and relapse prevention has been extensively studied and documented in various studies. We will provide an overview on how unhealthy eating...

Do 12-Step Programs Work during Addiction Recovery?

Addiction can have life-altering consequences and, in some cases, may even be deadly. In order to mitigate these effects, it is important for those struggling with addiction to seek out help and find a path to recovery that is right for them. One of the most commonly...

Get In Touch With Us Today

Pick up the phone, fill out a form or chat with us below to get started on your free consultation and treatment assessment.

Complete Pre-Assessment

Once you reach a Findlay Recovery Center treatment coordinator, we will do a simple pre-assessment to make sure we’re a good fit for you.

Plan Travel & Admit

Our caring treatment advisors will help plan travel & anything else you need before you enter our drug rehab program in Ohio!


Get Help Now

Call Now Button