Cocaine Addiction Health Risk Factors

Risk factors that come with cocaine abuse involve both short-term and long-term issues. Learn more in this article.

What Are the Risk Factors for Cocaine Abuse and Addiction?

When it comes to substance abuse disorders, cocaine tends to be one of the substances that people struggle with most. These struggles are not with the addiction, itself, however. Many of the complications come from the associated cocaine addiction health risk factors. If you are concerned about a family member or a loved one and their substance abuse issues, keep reading.

The risk factors for cocaine abuse and addiction involve both short-term and long-term issues. These risk factors are similar to other substances, of course, but cocaine tends to run a rampant course. It affects an individual more quickly than many other illicit substances. 

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Short-Term Issues

In the short term, people have to worry about several risk factors. The first issue has to do with tolerance. Individuals tend to build a tolerance to the substance quickly, pushing them to use more with each session.

As more of the substance enters the body, the body’s dependence upon it grows. Some individuals have reported feeling a dependence on the substance after just one use. 

Long-Term Issues

After enough of the substance has been consumed, there are long-term effects to consider. We’re going to cover all of the life-threatening effects seen in cocaine addiction below. However, it should be noted here that the most significant health risks associated with cocaine are overdose and withdrawal.

Cocaine overdose causes cardiovascular issues, leading ultimately to death. Additionally, withdrawal can be life-threatening.  

A Deeper Look at Cocaine Addiction Risks

cocaine addiction health risk factors

What Are the Short-Term Risks of Using Cocaine?

When an individual uses cocaine, there are some immediate short-term risks. These risks can appear even if a person is using cocaine for the first time, making the substance very dangerous.

The most common short-term risks that occur are cardiovascular. People may experience constricted blood vessels, leading to slowed or blocked blood flow, which can cause blackouts or fainting. In certain cases, heart rate increases, as well as blood pressure, leading to issues with hypertension, which can cause strokes or, in some cases, heart failure.1

Furthermore, short-term risks associated with cocaine lead to a higher body temperature, which can cause users to experience delirium. They may also suffer from muscle spasms or tremors. All of these issues stem from the neurological side of the substance. The body starts sending impulses, which leads it to believe it is suffering from hyperthermia.2 The body does its best to prevent itself from “freezing” to death, even though it is in no such danger. 

What Are the Long-term Risks of Using Cocaine?

Long-term risks of cocaine use tend to lead more towards neurological disorders. Cocaine is a stimulant, meaning it leads the body to long bouts of sleeplessness. A body and a mind without sleep tend to lead to several different neurological disorders. These can be as simple as restlessness, but often they become more severe.

Many individuals with a history of cocaine addiction health risk factors report mood-altering symptoms, like irritability and anxiety, which can lead to panic attacks. However, it may become more sophisticated than that. Some individuals have discussed panic attacks and hallucinations. In extreme cases, psychosis becomes present, making the individual a danger to themselves and others.  

What Are the Risks of Teen Cocaine Use?

cocaine addiction health risk factors

In the year 2020, the National Institute on Drug Abuse published a report that outlined cocaine use in teens in the United States. The study reviewed school-aged teenagers in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade. According to their study, they reported that 0.5% of 8th graders, 1.1% of 10th graders, and 2.9% of 12th graders had used cocaine.3

This cocaine use amongst adolescents is especially dangerous due to the health risks that affect teens when they use cocaine. Cocaine use at a young age is more dangerous than it is for adults. Teenagers’ brains are still developing, and cocaine use can alter the development of the brain itself. It also carries all of the cardiovascular issues that it has for adults.

At a young age, cocaine use also has a social impact. It may inhibit social learning and growth, leading to lifelong social disorders. These disorders will lead to professional risk in most cases, as well, thereby impacting the teen’s whole life. 

What Are the Risk Factors for Cocaine-Related Health Complications?

As discussed earlier, many health complications present themselves following cocaine use. These may be present even after a single use of the substance. However, cocaine abuse over a prolonged time increases the likelihood of these health complications:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Mental health issues
  • Respiratory damage
  • Infectious diseases

Cocaine affects every major system in the body if given enough time. As such, it is essential to know what to do when you or a loved one are suffering from cocaine abuse. 

What to Do When Cocaine Affects Your Health

If your health is affected by cocaine abuse, there are some steps to minimize the complications. Here is a list of the options that you have at your disposal:

  • Seek professional help. cocaine addiction health risk factors is a difficult substance abuse disorder to tackle on your own. There is no shame in asking for assistance.
  • Integrated treatment will help you or a loved one tackle cocaine addiction, as well as all of the dangerous comorbid disorders.
  • Post-treatment counseling will provide an outlet to discuss the struggles with a substance abuse disorder. Without counseling, many tend to feel lost or misunderstood.
  • Support groups hold one another accountable and keep patients in touch with one another. A good support system is essential to recovery.
  • Lifestyle modifications help individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorders avoid any scenarios in which substance use may be present.
  • Preventing relapse is the most important aspect of any substance abuse disorder. Relapsing may present greater health risks and will damage health in a long-term manner more severely.

We are here to help you or a loved one that may be struggling with cocaine addiction. Schedule an appointment with our team at Stillwater Behavioral Health to get started on the road to healing. Together, we can tackle substance abuse disorders, one step at a time.