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The effects of cocaine are felt both in the long and short term.

The drug is fast acting and brings (usually short-lived) behavioural effects quickly due to the way it works.

It can be fatal or cause long term damage, even on first use, especially to those with pre-existing heart conditions or high blood pressure. It is even more dangerous if mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

Longer term use and use of high quantities of the drug are most likely to result in long-term effects and symptoms.

Short-term effects of cocaine

Common short-term effects of cocaine include:

  • Raised heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure
  • Excitable and chatty behaviour
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sense of being very alert and confident
  • Decreased appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Heightened sexual desire
  • Risky behaviour
  • Drug addiction

Short-term cocaine side effects can also include:

  • Nausea
  • Odd, erratic, aggressive or violent behaviour
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis (difficulty to know what is real and what is not)
  • Fit or heart attack
  • Death

Long-term effects of cocaine

  • Permanent damage to heart and brain
  • Damage to or loss of the cartilage that divides the nostrils if cocaine is snorted
  • Respiratory problems or failure if cocaine is smoked (such as in the form of crack)
  • Vein damage, ulcers and gangrene (loss of blood supply to body tissue) if cocaine is injected
  • Severe weight loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Sexual problems and infertility
  • Mood swings
  • Ongoing psychosis
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Mental health issues
  • Tolerance and desire to take more of the drug

If you are worried about your own or someone else’s cocaine use our pages on how to stop taking cocaine and cocaine addiction treatment may be of interest.

Do also feel free to contact us – we’re here to help and happy to listen. We specialise in helping people recover from all types of substance and drug abuse.

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