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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Long Term Cocaine Abuse

09/30/2009

Question:

Hi, I want to know if long term cocaine abuse can cause permanent damage? This habit lasted roughly three years and was approx. a 1-7grams a day habit, I experienced passing out and anger issues. I now have severe depresion,anger,anxiety, and blood preasure complications. I am recieving medical attention for these problems, but just wondered the lasting effects. I am clean from this drug and wish everyone to know that it is evil, I feel as though it has ruined my life. I am now almost 42 yrs old, and have dificulties in most every aspect of my life, this drug took everything good I ever had from me, and now i feel as though it may have created permanent problems. I have also had some permanent brain damage from a sports accident in high school so I am also looking into the posibility of this having permanent effect that I had not prior realized.

Answer:

It is always difficult to say if drugs of abuse can affect the brain in a permanent way. There are factors such as your genetics and prior injury that must be taken into account.

Long-term cocaine use can certainly contribute to the depression, anger, anxiety, and blood pressure problems that you mention. Some individuals will be more severely affected than others. Some individuals will be able to heal almost completely or completely from the effects of cocaine.

What I can say for sure, is that the longer you stay sober from cocaine, the better chance you give yourself for complete healing.

For more information:

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Response by:

Christina M Delos Reyes, MD Christina M Delos Reyes, MD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University