What are the long and short term effects of cocaine?

Expert Answers
boblawrence eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cocaine is a potent naturally occurring central nervous system stimulant found in the leaves of the South American shrub, Erythroxylon Coca.  It is used medically as a topical anesthetic in ophthalmology, nose and throat surgeries.  For recreational use it is taken by snorting or intravenously, or smoked in the free-base form.

Desired short-term effects of cocaine are anesthesia and euphoria.  Concomitant and mostly undesirable short term effects are increased pulse and heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, anxiety and restlessness, insomnia and fever.

Long-term cocaine use results in escalating exhaustion, chronic insomnia, paranoia, aggressiveness, violence and toxic psychosis.

Patients intoxicated with cocaine may get in violent confrontations with police, and suffer cardiac arrest during restraint, the so-called excited delirium syndrome.

Chronic (long-term) cocaine abusers may experience strokes or heart attacks due to the constrictive action of cocaine on the brain and heart blood vessels, plus a toxic irritable effect on the heart itself.

In addition to the devastating psychological and social consequences of cocaine abuse, addicts who habitually snort cocaine may end up with a destroyed nasal septum.

Among street drugs of abuse, cocaine is one of the most, if not the most addicting.

thewanderlust878 | Student

Cocaine is a drug that eventually effects every single part of the body in one way of another. It is difficult to pinpoint which part it affects the most because in all honesty, it will kill you at a consistent rate from every part of the body. 

Some of the short term effects include:

  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Long term effects include:

  • permanent damage to heart and brain
  • liver, kidney and lung damage
  • severe depression
sid-sarfraz | Student


Cocaine comes from a coca plant. It is an addictive anesthetic used in surgeries. Some people use it daily in order to forget tensions or addiction can also be a main purpose. It directly attacks central nervous system making it easy for a person to be subconscious.


  • Body temperature increases / Fever
  • Eye Pupils dilate
  • Increases heart rate
  • Boosts up blood pressure
  • Risk of cardiac arrest
  • Increases rate of breathing
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Drug craving
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression


  • Addiction
  • Irritability in nature
  • Depression
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels and heart
  • Asthma
  • Weight loss
  • Risk of stroke
  • Damages lungs
  • Hoarse voice and sore throat
  • Bleeding of nose
  • Hallucinations
  • Tooth decay
youknowmyname | Student

 Short term effects of cocaine include: dilated pupils, increased heart rate, restlessness, anxiety, increased temperature, insomnia, loss of appetite, and increased blood pressure. Long term effects include acute respiratory problems including coughing, shortness of breath, and severe chest pains with lung trauma and bleeding.