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A man sitting distraught thinking about the effects of doing coke.

The moment cocaine enters the body, its effects spread far and wide within a couple of seconds. Of course, all a user usually feels is a rush of energy; unmitigated exhilaration; an inflation of grandiosity.

Cocaine is a dynamic, powerful stimulant that enlivens users for a whirlwind of 15-30 minutes and leaves them fixated and reaching for more. The body, unfortunately, bears the brunt of the intense, negative consequences.

If you use or are addicted to cocaine – or are a loved one of a cocaine addict – and have acknowledged that it’s time to stop abusing and get sober, recovery starts by understanding what your drug of choice is really doing to your health.

Keep reading to learn the effects cocaine has on your entire body and the support that is available to you if you’re serious about quitting your addiction and forging a vibrant, clean future.

Effects of Doing Coke: Does the Ingestion Method Matter?

Let’s first discuss the differences between the three ways cocaine can be consumed: snorting, injecting and smoking. Short-term effects of cocaine on the body can differ, depending on how the drug is ingested. The longer cocaine is used, the ingestion method matters even more. Each route leads to more damage at the administration site on the body.

When individuals snort cocaine, the coveted effects on the body tend to be delayed, but the high can last longer. Snorting, however, almost always causes severe damage to the nose, nasal passages and one’s sense of smell.

Injecting cocaine delivers a more immediate intoxication, but the length of euphoria is usually shorter than the average cocaine high. A cocaine high from injection can range from 5-10 minutes. Collapsed veins, infections and serious reactions are more prevalent when injecting.

Like injecting, smoking cocaine – specifically, crack cocaine – produces a quicker high with a shorter duration. However, the short high comes with more heightened symptoms that can escalate an individual’s cravings for more and more cocaine. This is one of the main reasons why crack cocaine is so addictive.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine on Your Body

Drugs affect every individual differently. Still, this fact typically goes in one ear and out the other of most drug users – especially first-time users.

But when it comes to cocaine and the body systems, a cocaine high doesn’t always produce the coveted effects that other cocaine users talk about. Cocaine can also deliver very serious, undesired effects, too.

Desired Effects of Doing Coke

Most people choose to latch onto only what they hear the amazing effects of cocaine are. They expect to experience:

  • A boost of energy
  • Heightened happiness
  • Increased awareness and self-esteem
  • Feelings of euphoria

Undesired Effects of Doing Coke

It’s not uncommon, though, for individuals to experience undesired effects, such as:

  • Intense anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Vertigo
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased sex drive

When casual and short-term consumption becomes long-term and transforms into an addiction, new and increasingly significant health risks begin to develop.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine on Your Body

Your addiction is a direct result of your tolerance to cocaine. As tolerance levels rise, your mind and body require increasingly greater quantities of cocaine to be consumed for the same high to be experienced.

As an addict, here are the drastic and very real effects of cocaine on your body:

Blood Vessels.
Cocaine arouses the nervous system. Upon stimulation, your blood vessels become tight, raising your blood pressure and impacting the normal flow of blood to vital organs and tissues. High blood pressure and/or a blocked blood flow to the heart can lead to a heart attack. In fact, a heart attack from cocaine use can happen in otherwise healthy individuals, even on the very first hit.

Heart Rate.
When your blood vessels constrict, your heart is placed on overdrive. It must work very hard to perform its normal functions: pumping blood to the rest of your body.

Appetite and Weight.
Cocaine can all but steal your desire to eat, which subsequently leads to malnutrition and extreme weight loss. This effect has been intently studied with lab mice. It was found that, when given the choice, cocaine addicted mice chose cocaine over food until they starved to death.

Nostrils and Nasal Passages.
Snorting cocaine, unlike smoking or injecting, significantly deteriorates the nasal passage by burning nasal hair – one of the body’s first lines of defense against harmful pathogens, such as germs, spores, and fungus – and causing swollen nasal passages. Additionally, snorting cocaine can cause:

  • Dried nasal passages
  • Holes to form in areas of the nose, like the septum, that can’t be healed without treatment
  • A weakened or total loss of the sense of smell
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nasal collapse
  • Problems swallowing

Smoking cocaine not only irritates the lungs upon initial use, but it also causes substantial damage – often referred to as crack lung. Crack cocaine causes the following injuries and issues:

  • Injuries to the airways
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Emphysema
  • Tumors
  • Interstitial lung disease

Cocaine can create dangerous health issues and seriously deteriorate the body. But, as an addict or a loved one to a cocaine addict, you know that addiction, unfortunately, is so much more than just physical.

Cocaine addiction can take a devastating toll on an individual’s emotional, financial, professional and – most importantly – familial well-being.

But there is hope; a cocaine-free life is possible.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills

You can put your cocaine addiction behind you, get your life back on track and live the life you were meant to lead. At Covenant Hills, you can reclaim control over your mind, body and spirit through our faith-based cocaine addiction treatment program. Your recovery journey will be supported by one of the most experienced and acclaimed cocaine treatment teams in the country.

Learn about our faith-based, cocaine treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.


Business Insider. Here’s how different drugs change your brain. Accessed June 1, 2018.