A hand holding a bag of cocaine.

How Cocaine Use Affects the Immune System

Struggling with a cocaine addiction can prove particularly debilitating and damaging because of the dichotomy between the concept of cocaine use and the actual reality of using cocaine. To many, the cocaine is thought to encourage exciting social interactions in an almost party-like atmosphere.

This misconception seduces people to the doorway of cocaine addiction and encourages them to walk through. Once they begin abusing cocaine, the reality is much more sinister and threatening, triggering a constant need for more of the drug to maintain their high.

This can lead your loved one down the darkest path they’ve ever known, where they ignore the physical and mental health damage cocaine use can cause. This is why it’s necessary to understand how cocaine impacts your loved one’s immune health and the treatment available to help them recover.

How Does Cocaine Affect the Immune System?

People who abuse cocaine are significantly more likely to suffer from a wide variety of infections and illnesses directly related to their addiction. Most of their increased potential for dealing with serious illnesses is related to the terrible decision making – using dirty needles, eating poorly, ignoring personal hygiene and partaking in unsafe sex – associated with their substance use disorder.

In addition, snorting cocaine has been shown to severely damage the mucous membranes in a person’s nose, throat and lungs – which, in turn, can lead to upper respiratory infections.

All of this can lead your loved one down a road of poor health and increased susceptibility to serious disease tied directly to their addictive behaviors.1

Here’s How Cocaine Affects Immune Health

A recent study found that a person dealing with a cocaine addiction is far more likely to contract an infectious disease than someone with no history of drug addiction.

Researchers added that infectious diseases are the most common and costly health complications of drug addiction, and chronic drug users are at a particularly high risk of contracting infections, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV – even if they are not injecting drugs. In addition, it was noted that rates of other infections – such as tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases – are also high among people who regularly use cocaine.

One reason people are more at risk of diseases when abusing cocaine is because of a protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6). This protein, a key immune system component, responds less effectively in people struggling with an infection or illness while abusing cocaine.

Investigators at McLean Hospital’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center have even found that cocaine itself has a direct biological effect that may decrease a person’s ability to fight off infections.

Smoking crack cocaine is also detrimental to the immune system, even when no needles are involved. Smoking cocaine has been shown to significantly damage a person’s lungs, while also reducing their immune system’s response to lung infections. This puts them at greater risk of pneumonia and bronchitis.2

Cocaine and Immune Health: Facts and Stats

The negative impact that cocaine use can have on your loved one’s physical health and overall wellbeing is no secret. In fact, there is a mountain of evidence and research indicating that both short-term and long-term cocaine abuse can result in a wide variety of physical ailments and negative health issues.

Some of the more significant facts and stats include the following:

  • As recent as 2017, cocaine was associated with 1 out of 5 overdose-related fatalities. In addition to this fact, cocaine addiction can result in organ damage, cause respiratory failure and provoke mental disorders.
  • Cocaine constricts blood vessels and increases heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. This can result in seizures or cardiac arrest.
  • Over 1 in 3 drug-related emergency room visits involve cocaine, accounting for approximately 40 percent of drug-related emergency room crises.3

How to Support Your Loved One Through Cocaine Addiction

Even with all the facts out there indicating the dangers of cocaine addiction, your loved one may be too deep into their substance use disorder to be thinking rationally about their disease. You being there to provide support and guidance when they are ready to face their addiction head on is essential to their long-term sobriety.

If you plan on sit down to talk with your loved one about their substance abuse, do research beforehand on stand-out treatment facilities that are available to aid in your loved one’s recovery. For most people who want to get clean, finding a rehab facility on their own is often so overwhelming that they avoid doing the research themselves and, therefore, don’t get the help they need.

Your actions in this area can help tremendously and proactively prepare them for their rehabilitation.

Life-Changing Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Even through all the pain and anguish that comes with watching a loved one struggle with addiction, being ready to step up and help them transition into treatment when the time is right can be the difference between sustained sobriety and a missed opportunity.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your loved one will be met with an individualized treatment plan and expert medical attention and therapy. Through our non-12-step rehab and holistic cocaine addiction treatment program, your loved one will prepare to forge the drug-free future they desire.

Learn more about our life-changing, holistic cocaine treatment program, or contact us today to get your questions answered.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

Resources:

1 Cambridge Neuroscience. Cocaine use may suppress the immune system. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.neuroscience.cam.ac.uk/news/article.php?permalink=5c5919c722.

2 National Center for Biotechnology Information. Effect of short-term cocaine administration on the immune system of young and old C57BL/6 female mice. Accessed January 20, 2020.                                                                                        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10584210/.

3 Science Direct. [25] Effects of cocaine on the immune response. Accessed January 20, 2020. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043947106801631.