Long-Term Effects of Cocaine: Nosebleeds, Bloodshot Eyes, Weight Loss

Cocaine is a powerful and potentially addictive stimulant drug. Like many other drugs, cocaine use poses serious risks to a person’s health.

Read on to learn more about the short and long-term side effects associated with cocaine and treatment options, if you or a loved one has lost control of their cocaine use.

Short & Long-Term Side Effects of Cocaine Use

Snorting, smoking, or injecting cocaine is dangerous, and there are a number of short- and long-term side effects of cocaine use. These effects include an increased risk of:

  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Cognitive difficulties.
  • Developing an addiction.

Using cocaine with other substances can worsen these effects. This includes combining cocaine and alcohol or cocaine and heroin.

Nosebleeds from Cocaine Use

Very often, individuals who snort cocaine suffer effects to their nasal passages. Research shows that:

  • Snorting cocaine results in an increase in nasal congestion and discharge that appears similar to the common cold or an allergy.
  • The snorting or sniffing of cocaine irritates the very sensitive lining in the nasal passages, and this can cause them to rupture and bleed, leading to frequent nosebleeds (epistaxis).
  • As a result of the irritation, individuals may develop chronic infections that can lead to further issues with nosebleeds.
  • Snorting cocaine can lead to even more serious injuries to the nasal passages, such as a hole or perforation in the septum.
  • The hole may be prone to infections and increase in size over time, even if the individual stops using cocaine. This can result in the nose becoming misshapen (often referred to as saddle nose).

A perforated septum caused by cocaine use will most likely need medical treatment to get better, and nosebleeds may continue until then.

Snorting cocaine on a long-term basis can lead to other issues, such as loss of smell, and a perforated septum can also cause issues with the voice.

The surest way to eliminate nosebleeds and other nasal issues associated with cocaine use is to quit the practice altogether.

Weight Loss from Cocaine Use

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), chronic use of stimulant drugs, like cocaine, can to lead to decreased appetite and may result in weight loss in some individuals.

However, recent evidence indicates that weight loss associated with cocaine use (and other stimulants) may be more complicated. For instance, research articles published in the journals Appetite and The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse suggest that:

  • Some people who chronically use cocaine exert less restraint over their diet and often eat uncontrollably or binge.
  • Individuals with cocaine or stimulant use disorders have significantly lower body fat content than individuals without addiction to these drugs.
  • Regular cocaine use somehow interferes with an individual’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.
  • Many individuals in recovery from cocaine addiction experience significant weight gain.

Before readers get the notion that using cocaine may be a great diet aid, it should be noted that, while some individuals who chronically use cocaine do lose weight, there is almost an inevitable rebound effect once they stop using. And frequently, these individuals gain significantly more weight than they lost.

In other words, using cocaine is not a safe or sound strategy for weight loss.

Dry Mouth from Cocaine Use

A very common symptom of any drug use or misuse is the experience of dry mouth (xerostomia). Different types of drugs produce this effect through different mechanisms.

Stimulant drugs can decrease salivation in individuals. Chronic issues with dry mouth from drug use can lead to serious dental issues, as saliva helps protect the mouth and teeth from infections.

Bloodshot Eyes from Cocaine Use

Another common effect of drug or alcohol use is reddening of the eyes or the appearance of bloodshot eyes. Use of cocaine and other stimulants, as well as marijuana and certain types of hallucinogenic drugs, like mescaline, can cause the pupils to have a delayed reaction to light. This results in dilated pupils.

In addition, cocaine use activates the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to a constriction of blood vessels and increased blood pressure. This can cause bloodshot eyes and also lead to significant damage to the cornea.

Symptoms can often last longer than the actual effects of cocaine, and individuals may experience sensitivity to light, reddened eyes, and other issues for hours or even days after the psychoactive effects of cocaine have dissipated.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

One way to avoid these troublesome side effects of cocaine use is to get into a recovery program and stop using the drug. Addiction is a progressive disease. If left untreated, it can worsen over time, along with its associated side effects.

At Sunrise House Treatment Center, we offer different levels of addiction care and tailor treatment plans to meet the individual needs of each patient.

Our inpatient rehab facility in New Jersey uses a combination of evidence-based and alternative therapies to address the many issues underlying addiction and teach patients more positive ways to cope.

For more information about our programs, ways to pay for rehab, or using insurance to pay for rehab, call us at . Our admissions navigators are available around the clock to answer your questions and start the admissions process.

You can also quickly and securely check your insurance coverage by filling out this .

If you or a loved one is ready to get help, don’t hesitate. Contact us today.

Still not convinced about treatment? Jordan, featured in the video below, had a winding journey to recovery, but believes it’s worth it.

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