Long term effects of cocaine addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

A GRAPHIC on the dangers of cocaine addiction and how it begins in the first place. Feel free to LIKE > SHARE > PRINT our work!

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Long term effects of Cocaine addiction

Cocaine is one of the strongest addictive illicit drugs in the U.S., making addiction to cocaine a public health issues. More on the mechanism of action and risks related to cocaine addiction here.

What is addiction?

Addiction = The uncontrollable urge to use cocaine, despite negative consequences to home, work, or social life. Addictive behaviors related to cocaine use often lead to crime. But cocaine addiction is treatable.

Long term effects of cocaine addiction (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Mechanism of Cocaine action

  1. Cocaine interferes with the reabsorption process of catecholamine.
  2. Cocaine blocks dopamine pumping dopamine back into the transmitting neuron.
  3. Nerve synapses flood with dopamine.
  4. Users experience intense euphoria followed by a “crash” when dopamine levels are depleted.

Repeated use leads to tolerance

Chronic use of cocaine in high doses can produce tolerance after approximately one (1) week of frequent use. Tolerance to the reinforcing properties of cocaine depends on dose, duration and frequency of use.

How addictive is cocaine?

The addiction potential of cocaine is HIGH!

In fact, cocaine is a very addictive drug. Both physical dependence and addiction can develop easily after repeated. In fact, cocaine is psychologically addictive thanks to its short duration but high efficacy of effects. As euphoric effects wear off, more cocaine is needed to get high, leading to repeated and increased dosing.

Is damage caused by Cocaine permanent or reversible?

Permanent damage that cocaine can cause

  • atherosclerosis in kidney renal vessels
  • damaged aorta
  • developmental delays in children
  • heart attack
  • kidney damage
  • kidney disease
  • liver damage
  • liver disease
  • perforation of the nasal septum
  • premature and underweight births
  • puncture marks and tissue damage
  • stroke

Potentially reversible damage caused by cocaine use

  • constricted capillaries in the mouth
  • compromised immune system
  • shortness of breath and internal bleeding

Reversible damage that cocaine can cause

  • addiction
  • anti-social behavior
  • hypersensitivity to sound
  • inability to experience pleasure
  • increased blood pressure
  • weight loss

How does cocaine addiction affect you?

Health effects of cocaine

  • brain grey matter atrophy
  • damage to the lungs, kidneys, or liver
  • delusions, paranoia, or hallucinations
  • heart attack or stroke

Work effects of cocaine

  • decreased performance
  • failure to pass drug tests
  • increased number of missed days of work
  • increased risk of getting fired

Self esteem effects of cocaine

  • embarrassment
  • helplessness
  • inability to communicate
  • shame and fear

How cocaine can negatively affect relationships

  • distance from close friends or family
  • enhanced secrecy
  • estrangement
  • lack of trust
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic substance derived from plants native to Central Africa and the Amazon. Though listed as a Schedule I controlled substance in the US, ibogaine is unregulated in many other countries, including Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Brazil.

    In the Central African spiritual tradition of Bwiti, iboga root bark, which naturally contains ibogaine, is used in rituals and medicinal healing. European explorers first encountered the substance in the 19th century, and it was sold in France during the early 20th century as a mental and physical stimulant. Ibogaine also developed a reputation as having anti-addictive properties, and in several clinical studies has demonstrated potential to reduce addiction.

  2. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was a heavy cocaine user for 4 LONG YEARS and I also was an alcoholic for 3 years. All of this took place between 2004 and 2012. I’ve been having a pain in my upper right side and staying very sick. I recently found out my liver is 13 cm larger than what its supposed to be and their isn’t any issues with my galbladder. Could I have damaged my liver permanently?

    1. Hi Misty. It is possible, but you should consider doing more elaborate exams and tests before any diagnosis. Also, consult your doctor about what you can do to help your liver heal and recover.

  3. Hello again Sarah. As you can see, we have corrected the two errors pointed out by you. Thank you once more for letting us know.

  4. Great graphic, love your stuff. Couple of errors in your neuroanatomy that would prevent an addiction scientist or professional from using this: It’s “Ventral Tegmental Area” not “Ventral Segmental Area” and “accumbens” with two C’s. Otherwise it’s a beautifully organized infographic.

    1. Hi Sarah. Those are great remarks! Thank you for noticing and notifying us. We are always working on improving and will correct those typo’s in no time. Thanks again! 🙂

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