Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that has affected humanity since the 19th century. Due to its highly addictive nature, cocaine has a host of short term and long term effects on the human body and mind. Ingesting cocaine gives a short term high so intense the effects are immediate. Some describe this high as a hyper sensation that makes one feel as though they are on top of the world. Below I will break down the side effects of cocaine into psychological and physical effects.
Short Term Side Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine side effects affect individuals differently; these effects vary from person to person due to circumstances such as the dose and tolerance of the user in question. The drug affects the brain directly and alters function, this leads to addiction which causes a host of psychological issues. These can be broken down into positive and negative. The positive aspects are as follow, cocaine increases levels of alertness, an increase in athletic performance and endurance, levels of energy increase, less susceptibility to fatigue, concentration levels are heightened, some claim to gives clearer thinking as well as a feeling of euphoria. The negative psychological effects are as follows, users are prone to be very irritable, lack of sleep and insomnia, restlessness, patterns of psychosis, confusion is prevalent as well as disorganised behaviour and thought process, fear, hallucinations, depression, paranoia, nausea, disturbed sleep patterns, instant drug craving, convulsions which often lead to seizures and death when taken in high doses and aggression which lead to antisocial practices.
Long Term Effects
Constant and consistent long term use of cocaine results in the manifestation of long term psychological side effects. Unlike the short term effects these tend to have far reaching consequences’ that can adversely affect a person’s life in the long term. The most notable effect is the increase in uptake quantities. Not only does this lead to a strong hold of addiction but it takes a lot of financial resources to maintain this habit. Prolonged use of cocaine results to loss of appetite and sleep deprivation. At this stage psychosis begins to manifest in the individual and they will experience hallucinations. Absence of the drug in the persons system causes severe depression such that they are prone to tendencies that are out of character due to depression. Suicide and murder are common in long term addicts. Long term users suffer from sexual problems such as infertility due to reproductive damage. Strokes and heart attacks are prevalent in long term users due to the permanent damage to their blood vessels in the brain and heart. The way the drug is administered into the body also has unique ways in which it affects the individual, for instance those who sniff or inhale it will suffer from destruction of nasal tissue, smokers who smoke the substance will suffer from respiratory failure and those who inject it will most likely acquire infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Long term addicts tend to neglect their bodies in such a way that they suffer from malnutrition and weight loss, tooth decay as well as complications of the liver, lungs and kidneys. These all contribute to disorientation, mood disturbances as well as risky behaviour. Such is the vice grip cocaine has on individuals that it alters lives completely. Ladies are prone to engage in life changed practices like prostitution just to sustain the habit whilst men take to crime so as to sustain their drug habit.