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How Does Cocaine Affect The Body?

Cocaine is a highly addictive white powder which is snorted, injected, or heated and inhaled.  The different uses have different side effects to the body. Addiction to the drug is very serious and has several uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.  Treatment for the substance is vital for an addict to become abstinent and sustain a long healthy life.


Snorting cocaine through the nose causes harmful side effects to the body.  The drug could be mixed or laced with another substance. The other ingredients could cause different side effects, which heightens the risks of using cocaine.  The powder can irritate tissue in the nasal cavity and throat. Long-term users will suffer from runny, bleeding, and stuffy noses. Tissue erosion will cause nasal septal perforation and inflammatory processes in the air passageways.  Nasal septum perforation is holes in the nasal cavity. Chronic sinus infections are worse when holes are present. Nasal crusting and difficulty swallowing are other side effects from snorting cocaine.


Injecting drugs into the bloodstream increases the risks of any substance.  The addict will dissolve the white powder in water to inject liquid into the veins.  The euphoric feeling produced by the drug will be immediate and also leave the body faster.  Thus, cravings will set in quicker. The skin and blood vessel linings will deteriorate at the injection site.  When the product is laced with another substance, the blood vessels will suffer buildup in passageways. Long-term side effects will be cardiovascular problems from the blockages.  Sharing or using dirty needles for injection raise the risks of HIV/AIDS and other serious diseases.

Smoking Crack

Cocaine can also come in the form of a crystal.  The user will heat the crystal and smoke the substance.  The effects of the high are around 15 to 20 minutes. Cravings will develop shortly after the high.  The crystal is cheaper than the powder and more commonly used due to the fact. Crack pipes are short due to the potency of the smoke wearing off quickly.  The pipe is extremely hot and can burn the hands and lips during use. The respiratory problems include coughing, shortness of breath, lung damage, and bleeding of various airways.  

Damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys can cause severe diseases and illness from long-term use of cocaine.  The side effects greatly outweigh the short-term high. Suffering through detox of the drug can be painful and uncomfortable.  Stuffed and runny nose, agitation, depression, unpleasant dreams, and cravings will pass when the body is clean of the substance.  Once detox is complete, therapy will help the individual overcome the addiction and lead a healthier lifestyle with the freedom from the drug.

We’re cultivating resilience for lasting wellness. Resilient House offers the highest quality behavioral health treatment to help heal addictions. Bringing together spiritual guides and holistic experts with trained clinicians, our programs are changing lives. Call us today for information: 833-change1 (833-242-6431).