Cocaine causes a short-lived, intense high that is immediately followed by the opposite—intense depression, edginess and a craving for more of the drug. People who use it often don’t eat or sleep properly. They can experience greatly increased heart rate, muscle spasms and convulsions. The drug can make people feel paranoid,1 angry, hostile and anxious—even when they aren’t high.
Regardless of how much of the drug is used or how frequently, cocaine increases the risk that the user will experience a heart attack, stroke, seizure or respiratory (breathing) failure, any of which can result in sudden death.
What are the long-term effects of cocaine?
The phrase “dope fiend” was originally coined many years ago to describe the negative side effects of constant cocaine use. As tolerance to the drug increases, it becomes necessary to take greater and greater quantities to get the same high. Prolonged daily use causes sleep deprivation and loss of appetite. A person can become psychotic and begin to experience hallucinations.
As cocaine interferes with the way the brain processes chemicals, one needs more and more of the drug just to feel “normal.” People who become addicted to cocaine (as with most other drugs) lose interest in other areas of life.
Coming down from the drug causes depression so severe that a person will do almost anything to get the drug—even commit murder.
And if he or she can’t get cocaine, the depression can get so intense it can drive the addict to suicide.