How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain ?

How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain ?

If you have ever had one too many drinks of alcohol or taken a hit of marijuana, you have experienced firsthand exactly what drugs can do to your brain. While those drugs may seem harmless in small amounts, what about harder drugs?

In 2014, an estimated 1.5 million Americans used cocaine in the last month.1 Although some people may do cocaine once just to try it, this white power could be causing major damage to your brain.

Cocaine and The Brain

This illicit substance can be extremely damaging to a person’s health including their body, heart, mental health, and brain. Cocaine affects the brain in many different ways and our luxury rehab in West Palm is here to explain exactly what is going in your head after your brain is exposed to cocaine.

The Initial Rush

When a person first takes cocaine, their brain will experience a rush of dopamine, the chemical messenger that makes you feel happy. The result is typically feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and greater mental awareness.


Like many other drugs, cocaine is highly addictive. Addiction is a result of alterations in brain chemistry that trick you into thinking that you need the drug. At first, cocaine will increase the amount of dopamine. Not only does this rush of happy feelings reinforce taking the drug, but it will also lead to dependence and addiction. With this constant excess of dopamine from frequent cocaine use, a cocaine brain will become accustomed to that much dopamine and be less sensitive to it. The result is that the user needs to take more cocaine to feel the same high and to avoid withdrawal feelings when dopamine levels begin to drop.

Because your brain and your body actually become dependent on cocaine, it can be difficult to stop on your own and complications can occur. Our drug detox program in West Palm is designed to help you do so safely.

Long-Term Brain Damage

Over time, frequent use of cocaine affects the brain in many harmful ways. Besides changes in brain chemistry leading to tolerance and dependence on this substance, cocaine can actually start to kill your brain cells. As these brain cells begin to die, it can lead to many impaired cognitive functions such as problems with attention, memory, impulse control, and decision making.2 Much of this damage is not reversible.

If that isn’t bad enough, there have also been studies that show bleeding within the brain after long-term cocaine use.3 This can cause even more damage to brain cells and can be life-threatening.

Do not let this happen to you or a loved one. Our luxury residential rehab program in South Florida provides patients with the tools they need to overcome their addiction for good. To learn more about how we may be able to help you or a loved one with a substance abuse problem, reach out to us today at 561-677-9374.



National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?

NCBI – Characterizing the cognitive effects of cocaine: a comprehensive review.

NCBI – Side effects of cocaine abuse: multiorgan toxicity and pathological consequences.

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