Tag: dangers of cocaine

The Disturbing Physical Side Effects of Cocaine Addiction

These Aren’t For the Faint of Heart

lines of cocaine powder

We’ve all heard the horror stories of what cocaine can do to our bodies. Things like perforated septums, sudden heart attacks, abscesses due to missed injections, and everything associated with smoking crack are common talk about among recovering addicts.

Well it looks like two more topics are about to be added to our conversations. According to two recent articles, palatal perforation and a gruesome heart condition can also be caused by extended cocaine use.

Both stories come from the UK, which has long been a hotbed of cocaine use, abuse, and addiction…certainly no more than the United States though. So, while us U.S. residents may take some small relief in the fact that these are English issues, for now, we can’t celebrate too much.

Read on to learn about the disturbing new physical side effects of long-term cocaine addiction.

A Hole in the Roof of Your Mouth

Palatal perforation is exactly what it sounds like – developing a hole in the roof of your mouth.

While heavy cocaine use has long been associated with contributing to holes in our nasal cavities, palatal perforation is a relatively new phenomenon.

Actually, that’s not 100% true. It may have been around for a long time, but is only coming to our attention now. We don’t know because this condition has a lot of stigma associated with it.

Think about it like this – if you develop a perforated palate due to cocaine abuse, you’re going to have significant trouble drinking, speaking, and eating. That’s fairly embarrassing and probably not something you’re going to be keen to speak about.

hole in mouth from cocaine abuse

How does someone develop a hole in the roof of their mouth? Well, it all has to do with cocaine’s vasoconstriction properties. This is when cocaine actually constricts and shrinks blood vessels, which, ironically, is what makes it an incredibly effective local anesthetic.

When cocaine cuts off the supply of blood to a certain area, say the roof of your mouth, it also deprives that area of oxygen. This, in turn, causes tissue to begin to shrink and die.

Over time, this leads to a hole in the area in question.

Okay, that’s more than a little disturbing. Still, it’s nothing compared to what’s next.

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An Enlarged & Still Beating Heart

What to know what 15 years of heavy cocaine abuse does to your heart? Then watch this video. A quick warning though – it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s as disturbing as anything we’ve ever seen.

heart issues due to cocaine addiction

Okay, recovered yet? Let’s explore just what was going on there.

First, the heart was around three times as large as a normal, healthy heart. That alone is alarming. Doctors are theorizing the increase in size is due to, once again, cocaine’s vasoconstriction properties.

Basically, because cocaine constricts blood vessels, the heart has to work harder than ever to pump and supply the body with blood. This may have led it to grow over many years.

Okay, next is the fact that the heart beats for 25 minutes after being removed from the user’s body. A healthy heart is expected to beat for up to one minute after being removed. This one beat for 25 times that long.

The CEO of MEDspiration, a “non-profit organisation specialising in the art of medicine and science” and the company that produced the video, thinks the prolonged beating may be thanks “to the adaptation the heart cells underwent due to long-term cocaine abuse.”

He goes on to explain,

“It is possible that this heart had become so adapted to myocardial ischemia [reduced blood flow to the heart] over the past 15 years that it became resilient enough to beat without an oxygen supply for 25 minutes!” (Mirror)

That’s some scary stuff!

I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful neither of these happened to me. I’ve been in recovery for a bit over seven years. Before that, I used cocaine frequently.

I could have developed either palatal perforation or done significant damage to my heart. I didn’t. Thank God for that.

What do you think of these two new conditions? Let us know on social media.

What Cocaine Withdrawal is Really Like

Cocaine Side Effects & Withdrawal: The Little White Lie

Any type of drug addiction is dangerous. That much is obvious to addicts, their families, and their loved ones. Cocaine addiction, though, brings with it a unique set of dangers and challenges.

cocaine withdrawal

Some hazardous cocaine side effects are obvious. It makes users paranoid. It makes them stay up for long periods of time. Too much cocaine or crack can lead to cardiac arrest.

Many cocaine side effects, though, are subtler. Not least among these is the myth that cocaine withdrawal doesn’t exist. Because the drug isn’t physically addicting, many addicts think they don’t need help to quit.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! Cocaine withdrawal brings with it unpleasant and nasty symptoms. In fact, after experiencing some of these cocaine withdrawal symptoms, many addicts looking for recovery rethink their plan to quit cold turkey.

Before we address any cocaine withdrawal symptoms, though, let’s look more broadly at cocaine side effects and how they manifest.

Think your child may be using cocaine?

Cocaine Side Effects

Cocaine is a CNS stimulant. This means that, among other things, it speeds up how the body sends and receives information. It accomplishes this by releasing large amounts of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine and then blocking their reabsorption.

That’s enough science for one day. Find common cocaine side effects listed below:

• A Burst of Energy
• Euphoria
• Increased Alertness
• Irritability
• Paranoia
• Insomnia
• Dilated Pupils
• Restlessness

In addition to the above cocaine side effects, the drug also affects many major organs. These include: the heart, brain, sinuses, and kidneys.

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Because it’s a CNS stimulant, cocaine increases blood pressure and heart rate. At the same time, it constricts the arteries and blood vessels supplying the heart with blood. The combination is extremely dangerous and can lead to cardiac arrest. This is especially true of older cocaine users, but can manifest in younger users as well.

Because of how it constricts blood vessels, cocaine can damage the brain. Even recreational cocaine use can constrict and cut off the supply of blood to the brain. In turn, this can lead to a stroke. This is true of older and younger users.

Repeatedly sniffing cocaine is very damaging to the sinuses. This is due to cocaine itself, remember it constricts blood flow, and the filler used by drug dealers. Sniffing potentially harmful chemicals isn’t good for the sinuses. Over time, cocaine use can actually erode and perforate the cartilage between each nostril.

Another unexpected cocaine side effect is how damaging it is to the kidneys. Cocaine can cause rhabdomyolysis, or a breaking down of skeletal muscle tissue. As this tissue is broken down, it’s released into the bloodstream and filtered out by the kidneys. This muscle tissue damages the kidneys and can lead to acute kidney failure.

Having explored some broader cocaine side effects, let’s turn our attention to various cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

Learn true facts about cocaine addiction!

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Just because it doesn’t produce a physical dependence, doesn’t mean that cocaine withdrawal is fictional. In fact, cocaine withdrawal is one of the most often overlooked side effects of long-term cocaine use.

What exactly do cocaine withdrawal symptoms look like, though? How does this sneaky white powder tighten its grip on addicts’ lives? Find a list of common cocaine withdrawal symptoms below:

• Overwhelming Cravings for the Drug
• Extreme Exhaustion (individuals have been known to sleep for up to twenty-four hours)
• Anxiety & Depression
• Cognitive Impairment & Confusion
• Hallucinations
• Suicidal Thoughts

cocaine side effects

And people think cocaine withdrawal doesn’t exist! Sounds like it exists to me. The good news these cocaine withdrawal symptoms offer is directly proportional to their severity. Because detoxing from coke is so unpleasant, there are many cocaine withdrawal and treatment options.

There are cocaine detoxes, inpatient rehabs, outpatient treatment centers, individual counseling, and even an entire twelve-step fellowship devoted to cocaine recovery.

If you or a loved one have experienced any of the above cocaine side effects or withdrawal symptoms, call Lighthouse today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015. We’re here to answer any and all questions you may have and help you or your loved one return to health!

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