Addiction Treatment: 6 Home Exercises to Get You Through the Winter

Relapse is a condition you don’t want to fall into while you are recovering. However, even we though we don’t want it, this situation occurs frequently, especially during winter. Hence, the need for home exercises to get you through winter.

Nobody wants to undergo a relapse. However, there’s something about the winter season that makes it extra challenging for those in addiction recovery. The conditions of the season and other peculiarities make it so. 

For one it’s terribly cold. Furthermore, winter can be pretty lonely and drab. In Canada, the snow makes it extra hard to get out and try some activities. Thankfully, there’s a pretty handy tool that can be useful for your addiction recovery during this period — exercises. 

Numerous winter exercises can boost addiction recovery. The best part is they can be done at home. In this article, we will take a closer look at these exercises. However, we need to take a first look at what causes addiction relapse during winter.

What Causes Addiction Relapse in Winter?

If you were struggling with drugs and are now on your way to recovery, you need to prepare for seasonal changes. For instance, when summer draws to a close, you tend to experience mood changes. In this case, winter is fizzling in, and the days become shorter and colder.

The reduction in the degree of sunlight makes everything somewhat moody. The cold outside also makes it challenging to hang out. Hence, it’s easy to fall into depression, exhaustion, and irritation in the home. If you don’t take care, these can lead to relapse, with most people turning to substance abuse to release doses of dopamine for them.

While the latter part of this article explains how to combat relapse in this period, we’ll take a brief look at the conditions that can cause this relapse. One of the common conditions here is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is the form of depression that comes with seasonal changes. You may have also heard of holiday blues, but we’ll come to that later.

SAD is one of the many reasons you need to master home exercises to get you through winter. It is more common as the environment transits to winter. SAD also occurs during spring and early summer, but it is not as prominent in these seasons as it is in winter.

At first, the symptoms of SAD are all mild. As the season progresses, it worsens. Depression hits, in this season, almost every day. You’ll notice a low energy level, coupled with an inability to concentrate. You’ll also see changes in your appetite. You may even lose interest in the activities that once made you gleeful.

More than ever, in this period, you need exercises to help with your addiction recovery. Exercises are vital to maintaining your recovery streak. 

Holiday blues, as mentioned above, is also a common cause of relapse during winter. This condition is not yet scientifically adopted as a cause of relapse. However, it’s worth noting. From the name, you can tell it relates to the holidays.

The holidays towards the end of the year all fall to winter. In this season, most offices are closed, and families are expected to gather. You may not know, but this status quo leads many people to what is called the holiday blues.

It happens when you spend the holidays reflecting, sad, lonely, anxious, and depressed. Most people feel these effects because they can’t spend the time with family, rejoicing and celebrating. Most times, this may be beyond your control. You probably can’t help but feel the pressure that comes with expectations.

The season is one of high emotions and demand. This can leave you stressed out in no time. In a bid to find some relief, you may find yourself back in your addiction. Holiday blues are not as intense as clinical depression, but if it persists for too long, it’s headed there. 

However, even at its lowest intensity, it can disrupt recovery by causing a relapse. If you ever reach this point, then it becomes imperative to reach out to professionals for addiction treatment in Vancouver

Great Exercises to Get you Through the Cold Winter

Since you can’t go to the gym, home exercises to get you through winter are the next best thing . As of now, these are the best exercises for the holiday season.

Strolling

Staying indoors all through the winter season can make you depressed faster than you think. This is especially true if you are the type that likes going out. If you are undergoing recovery from a long-term addiction, you need to go out. It will help if you take strolls that will distract your mind.

You should also take these strolls to public places. You don’t have to come in contact with anyone. You can go to the park. As far as it’s a place where you don’t get to be ‘alone.’ You can also take a stroll with a family member. Taking a walk around the neighborhood will help you relax and decompress.

Hiking

This is one of the best exercises for the holiday season. The level of alertness and consciousness this activity offers will take your mind off any temptations and possible relapse triggers. Hence, you can always count on it. Go hiking as frequently as you can.

Also, time spent with the different elements of nature will leave you in a good mood. The mountains, the trees, the breeze, they will all leave you happy and motivated.

Yoga

You don’t need to get out of your home to reap the benefits of yoga. While it works on your body, it also helps your mind meditate. There are different yoga types. However, you should go for the more relaxing ones.

Dancing

An exercise that doesn’t feel like one? Dancing is your best bet. If you have your family and friends around to do it with, it’s the best feeling ever. You can also invite your friends for a dance session. 

Team Sports

If you have a large space in your home and a large family, you should suggest team sports. Getting people together for a game, laughing, and catching fun is a great way to take your mind off any temptations. It is also a chance to meet new people if you are inviting your friends’ friends. You can try out basketball, football, tennis and other indoor games.

Drug Treatment Rehab

Final Take

Irrespective of your chosen home exercises to get you through winter, you’ll be able to achieve the goal — sobriety through the holidays. Exercises can help you stay in check when your therapist or dedicated support group isn’t there. 

Strolling is a great way to release dopamine and put you in a better mood. In the same vein, indoor team sports can help put you in a better overall mood.

 

Holiday Depression: How to Overcome The Holiday Blues

The doubleheader holiday is drawing near, and maybe you can’t help but feel depressed. Everyone is excited, but you don’t know how to overcome the holiday blues. Although “winter blues” isn’t a clinically recognized disorder, the holiday period has many potential depression triggers.

There’s an insane array of activities — shopping, family dinners, cooking, travelling, and so many more. Due to reasons like financial constraints and loneliness, even with all of the activities, you may feel depressed. Eventually, you’re likely not to make it to the festivals. It may surprise you to know there are others like you.

Several people struggle with anxiety during the festive period. If you’re getting addiction treatment or in the middle of recovery, this anxiety and depressive feelings can start you on a fast track to relapse. 

However, there’s no reason you have to tow this path. In this article, we’ll walk you through ways to avoid the holiday blues that can probably lead to addiction relapse. First, we will take a look at the causative factors behind the holiday blues.

Causes of Holiday Blues 

Several factors can trigger depression during the festive period. To avoid holiday blues, you need to know the possible roots of the problem. This will allow you to quickly take preventive actions if need be.

Loss of a loved one 

Suppose you’ve just recently lost someone close or a family member. Sometimes, this grief can spill over into depressive thoughts and feelings. 

Loneliness 

If your family or partner lives far away, it can be challenging to prevent addiction relapse during the holidays, especially when you’re going through a rough time. At the same time, yearning for company, lonely individuals may isolate themselves and get more anxious in the process.

Financial issues

Overcome The Holiday Blues

Money is a big part of the festive period. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you’ll lose interest in the holidays. Plus, the buzz from never-ending parties and family obligations can lead to stress and negative feelings.

Missing past experiences 

Memories are a significant part of our lives. If your current living conditions aren’t favourable, you may be stuck hoping for the joyful moments in your past life. 

How to Overcome the Holiday Blues 

You can enjoy the festive season more than you anticipated. The good thing is, there are several tips you can follow on how to overcome the holiday blues. Indeed, if you follow these tips, you won’t have to be feeling blue when everyone is dressed in red and green. 

Reach out to people 

Isolation is a significant risk basis for sadness. The thing is, when we’re sad, we tend to hide at home. It can be worse when you’re apart from your family for a holiday. Undoubtedly, you’ll find it hard to connect with anyone physically and socially. 

Seek out friends and colleagues who can offer companionship. Besides, you can host a holiday party for your friends and neighbours at your place. Volunteering for things you are interested in may also raise your mood and connect you to new people.

Just ensure you’re not holed up if you’re lonely. For those getting drug rehab treatment in Vancouver, there are many viable options for company. 

For instance, you can invite a friend over, join a support group, call people you’re missing, or even visit a counsellor. These positive activities can take over your time, distracting you from negativity.

Exercise regularly 

Overcome The Holiday Blues

Constant exercise is a great tip for how to overcome the holiday blues. Researchers have found that exercise plays a significant role in reducing depression and preventing relapse. 

So, grab a bottle of water and hit the gym. A quick 15-minute physical activity will increase your heart rate and release feel-good hormones (dopamine). Moreover, you don’t have to overwork yourself on the treadmill to realize the benefits. A simple activity like strolling can trigger enough dopamine release to keep the holiday blues away. 

Be realistic 

It’s normal to be excited about the numerous holiday activities you have planned out. However, to avoid holiday blues, it’s better to set feasible goals. Your holiday season doesn’t have to be excellent. Over time, people and traditions change. So don’t get sad when your holiday doesn’t turn out like last year’s.

The goal is to enjoy the present festive season and create new memories. Don’t dwell on what you should be doing. Instead, relish the experience of the holiday. If your family can’t make it for the festive period, find new ways to enjoy it together. For instance, you can connect virtually and send pictures. 

Keep healthy habits

You can’t overcome the holiday blues if you’re overindulgent. For people struggling with self-esteem, a bad health habit will only add to your depression. 

We know the holiday period comes with larger portions of food, tasty desserts and a lot of free alcohol. However, you must take care to indulge moderately. 

Here are some ways you can manage your habits:

  • Eat a balanced diet with tons of fruits.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Avoid excessive use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Eat vegetables.
  • Don’t eat many sweet foods.

Set limits 

Overcome The Holiday Blues

This method on how to prevent holiday depression is often ignored. The festive season means there are more individuals making demands and asking for help. You shouldn’t lose yourself by trying to meet up with the favours of others — set limits for yourself. 

We’re not saying you should turn down every request but ensure you have time to enjoy the holiday. Attend a few parties and help some people. Most importantly, avoid overscheduling. Performing several activities will stress you, adding to the pressure that comes with addiction recovery. 

Try new activities 

Do you celebrate the festive period differently at your family home? You may be homesick, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try new traditions. 

You can go on a tour and experience the beauty of the country you live in. There are no hard and fast rules for how the season should be enjoyed. So, don’t be scared to try new activities aside from your regular ones. 

Seek expert help

Even after practicing the tips on how to overcome the holiday blues, you may notice you’re feeling sad. If this is the case, then it’s time to take a bold step. Seek professional help and get addiction treatment in Vancouver. 

You may be experiencing something more than the holiday blues. Probably, a depressive disorder. Addiction treatment experts and counsellors can guide you through the process of exploring treatment alternatives. 

How Holiday Blues Affect Addiction Treatment

Mental and substance abuse are closely associated with each other. You should know that the holiday blues can lead to full-blown depression. Besides, if the symptoms are severe, it can include a depressive disorder diagnosis. 

To avoid further problems, you must know how to prevent the holiday blues. If you’re receiving addiction treatment, here’s how it can affect your medication.

Anxiety and stress

Anxiety and stress is a major cause of holiday blues. They make you anxious and leave you restless during the season. For someone recovering from addiction, it can weaken your resolve, resulting in a lapse. 

Unhealthy habits

When you’re always sad, you’ll tend to seek solace in unhealthy habits like overeating, binge drinking and oversleeping. All these habits will impede your addiction treatment. More importantly, if controlled poorly, unhealthy habits can quickly spiral into another addiction.

Isolation 

It’s one thing to be isolated to recover from your addiction. It’s another to be isolated and depressed. If you’re isolated during your addiction treatment, you’ll likely be tempted to return to your addiction. If you give in, your addiction may become worse than before. 

Survive the Holiday Blues today!

Ultimately, how you overcome the holiday blues solely depends on you. It can turn your holiday into a period of despair, but with effort on your part, your holiday can be memorable. With the tips above, you can curb the holiday blues, ensuring your addiction recovery is on track.

 

Does The Cold Weather Affect Addiction Recovery?

Welcome again to that time of the year when things become cold, slow, icy, and there are many festivities. The time when you hope the cold weather will not affect your addiction recovery. Understandably, you have these worries and you’re afraid that you won’t last the winter without relapsing. 

To help deal with these worries it’s imperative for you to understand how cold weather can affect your addiction recovery. When the weather gets cold, it affects not just your body but also your mind. 

The way the cold affects your mind is not direct, but it can have a lasting impact on your mind. Remember, the mind is a key part of addiction recovery. In a nutshell, the cold weather can affect addiction recovery. 

Winter days are typically short and dull, giving you fewer reasons and opportunities to be outdoors. Also, stress may set in as you try to combine holiday festivities with your everyday life. 

This makes it easy for you to fall into the winter slump and experience winter blues. And when the blues get bad, addiction relapse may come knocking.

How Does Winter Affect Addiction Recovery?

Does The Cold Weather Affect Addiction Recovery

The cold weather affects addiction recovery in a lot of ways. While the effects aren’t usually direct, they create situations that can trigger an addiction relapse. These are the situations you need to watch out for.

Relapse triggers caused by the cold weather

Here’s are the important ones:

Seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.)

According to the Canadian mental health association, about 20% of Canadians suffer from the seasonal affective disorder. A lot of these people have a history with addiction, with some people still in recovery. S.A.D affects most people in winter when the weather gets dull and cold. You can refer to it as seasonal depression.

S.A.D causes people to become irritable, sluggish and unmotivated. You will find people suffering from S.A.D sleeping and eating a lot. Also, they will consume a lot of sweets and carbs while feeling sorry for themselves. If you find yourself exhibiting any of these symptoms at certain times of the year, you may be suffering from S.A.D. 

Most of the symptoms of S.A.D are factors that trigger relapse in former addicts and people still recovering from addiction. It’s associated feelings of sluggishness, irritability, and cravings can trigger your addiction urges. This can lead to a relapse if you do not check these urges in the early stages.

Social Isolation

Addiction Recovery

Addicts tend to isolate themselves from people; they keep to themselves a lot and usually avoid going out. You probably keep to yourself because you feel shame for your addiction and don’t want people to know. This is a major symptom of addiction and a major trigger for relapse.

During the cold winter, people usually have fewer reasons to go out. There are numerous holidays, the days are cold and dull, and you want to sleep in all day. Sleeping in all day by yourself means you will spend a lot of time alone. When you spend too much time alone, you have more time to entertain negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts give birth to negative habits, or in the case of addicts, bring the negative habits back to life. The cold weather can affect your addiction recovery when it forces you to spend too much time alone indoors. And, too many negative thoughts can trigger an addiction relapse.

Stress

This is not very common, and you may be wondering how can I even get stressed in winter? The thing is, there are a lot of holidays and fun activities during winter. 

However, it is difficult to do these things because of the cold, the ice and the snow. By the end of the usually short winter days, you will feel like you had a long day.

Winter days are typically short, but it is harder to get things done on winter days. And you usually have a lot to do on these short days. Unless you decide to be lazy, it is hard to escape that stress. 

Stress is a common trigger for relapse. You’re more vulnerable to indulging in your old habits when you’re tired.

Low energy

Yes, winter blues are a thing, and they’re pretty common among people recovering from addiction. Cold days are dull days; what do you get when you add cold and dullness? Low energy! This is just you resonating with the dull energy in your environment; it is normal. 

You’re not depressed, you’re just feeling lazy, tired, and everything feels like a drag. If this is a constant feeling for you, you should seek addiction treatment in Vancouver to prevent it from triggering your addiction.

On days when you lack energy, you generally want to spice things up to get back in your groove. That’s when the thoughts of going back to your addictions pop up. You start remembering how fun your addiction was, and this triggers the relapse cycle.  

Lack of exercise

Lack of exercise

Unless you’re a fitness buff or have specific body goals, the cold is enough to prevent you from exercising. It is even enough to keep you from walking the usual distances you walk. You’re less likely to go for a walk, try to run or even leave the house at all.

We understand it’s freezing outside, and you don’t want to wade through the snow or brave the cold. Not when you have your warm, comfortable and fuzzy little corner in your apartment. As a result, it’s easy to start indulging yourself in some laziness and stop exercising because of the cold. But do you know what’s also easy?

Falling back into the addiction you’re recovering from! Regular exercises help to keep your mind off your addiction and ignore your urges. But what happens when you stop exercising? There’s nothing to distract you from your addiction while you recover. 

Since nothing is distracting you anymore, the urges weigh heavily on your mind. Before you know what’s happening, you’re in the emotional relapse stage, and you’re falling back into addiction.

Boredom

You don’t have to worry about boredom if the cold doesn’t stop you from participating in the usual fun activities you do. However, most people tend to sleep and do nothing on cold days. By the end of the day, you wake up feeling bored and hungry.

When you’re bored, you’re receptive to a lot of ideas —anything that will help get the mood up. This is when the idea of indulging in your previous addiction comes in. You may be able to dismiss it the first time, but it will get harder as you repeat the same cycle for days.

The cold weather will most probably not make you start having your urges or directly cause you to relapse. However, the cold weather can affect your addiction recovery in other ways. It can cause you to experience these triggers, and you will find yourself indulging in your old habits again.

Addiction Recovery in the Winter Holidays

You already know how cold weather can affect addiction treatment and recovery, so you need to take extra care. Try to spend time outside and around the people that make you happy. Exercise, stay active, walk your pet, make sure you do things that will aid your addiction recovery.

Conclusion

Do not underestimate the impact of the cold weather on addiction recovery. The cold weather affects your addiction recovery in many ways (most of them are indirect). Take care to watch out for any of the triggers mentioned above during the winter holidays. 

7 Sober Activities to Help You Beat The Winter Chills

Winter is here, and it’s the season to be melancholy, right? No, it doesn’t have to be. A few sober activities are all the help you need to beat the winter chills. The season can and will be jolly if you take steps to prevent the winter blues from getting to you.

For those in addiction recovery, it is normal to find the winter slash holiday season more challenging than other people. We understand that you are putting your all into your recovery, and you’re trying your best to avoid relapsing.

If you can drag yourself out to do some exercise and get some sunlight, that’s good. It may be all you need to beat the winter chills, or you may need more than that. 

In this article, we will take a closer look at what the winter blues are. More importantly, we will provide you with actionable information about the best winter activities for those in addiction recovery. 

Are the Winter Blues real? What Are They?

Mother nature doesn’t understand that we have things to do, even in winter. She probably wants us to take time, chill out, and do nothing all day. So through winter, she put in place a system that makes us want to do nothing but sleep in all day. This system includes the snow, the cold, the ice, and everything that makes winter dull.

The winter blues are the effects of the system. They are the things you feel when you don’t follow mother nature’s system. They’re not bad, but they’re not productive either. And if you’re trying to avoid a relapse in winter, you want to avoid the winter blues. 

Some of these effects are: 

  • A varying mixture of poor moods
  • Unexplainable fatigue (you feel tired, you don’t know why)
  • Persistent drowsiness (can’t keep your eyes open)
  • Social isolation (You want to be alone)
  • Irritability 

Preventing Addiction Relapse: How to Beat the Winter Blues

We believe your addiction recovery is going fine, and you’re getting healthier each day. However, you cannot afford to get complacent. 

The winter season can be trying for you, and you may find yourself staring at relapse in the face. You need to learn how to maintain sobriety during the holiday season if you want to beat the chills.

To that end, here are some sober activities to beat the winter chills: 

Get some sun

7 Sober Activities to Help You Beat The Winter Chills

Sunlight gives life to plants through photosynthesis, and it also gives humans an abundance of Vitamin D. That’s not all; ever notice how happy most people are on sunny days? Sunlight often raises the mood and creates the perfect atmosphere for some fun.

During winter, there’s usually not enough sunlight to penetrate your apartment. You need to make deliberate efforts and step out to get it. But we promise you it will be worth it. When you make the effort, you’ll be getting a dose of sunlight plus some outdoor time as well.

You don’t have to do much, dress up, go out into the sun and spend some time in it. By the time you step back into your apartment, you’ll feel much better, and any cravings you have will most likely be gone. This is a sober and non-strenuous activity that can help you to beat the winter chills. Make sure you try it.

Read or listen to motivational books

Motivational books will spur you towards achieving your goals. We call them motivational books because they encourage you to not give up on your goals. Do not underestimate how far these books can push you towards achieving your goals.

Your main goal now is to beat the winter chills and make through the cold without relapsing. With that in mind, find a motivational book that fits your goal and bury yourself in it. Don’t just read — try to practice the things you learn from the book.

If you’re too busy to read words, listen to audiobooks. Reading motivational books is a sober activity that can help you beat the winter chills. It can also become a hobby that will help you in other areas of your life. Read books, not just as a sober activity for the winter but also as a hobby for life.

7 Sober Activities

Do light exercise

During your treatment for your addiction, your therapist will encourage you to exercise regularly. Exercise is vital for any recovery journey. Regular exercise will help you feel good — when you feel good, it’ll be easier to get over your addiction.

When you exercise, you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Mood improvement
  • Less fatigue
  • You feel awake and alive.
  • You also want to spend more time around people.

The exercise doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Do something light that will get your motor running and your mood happy.

Spend more time around loved ones

There’s a reason you call them your loved ones. You love them, and they also love you back. It shouldn’t be that hard to hang out and spend quality time with them. Spending time around these people should make you happy and improve your mood.

Life without loved ones will be lonely and loneliness is a significant trigger of addiction relapse. Avoid it as much as possible by moving closer to and spending time with your loved ones.

Meditation

When you meditate, you feed, exercise, and strengthen your mind. Your mind is an integral part of your being, and it has the most influence on everything you do. Therefore, a strong mind creates a strong character. With a strong mind and a strong character, you will beat the winter blues.

Keep a diary/journal and write in it daily

It works for everyone, and it will work for you if you’re diligent. It’s straightforward, pick a new book and in big, bold letters, write “MY DAILY ACHIEVEMENTS LOG”. Then input a summary of your daily activities, including how you beat the winter chills that day. 

Knowing that you have to write a report of your activities keeps you accountable to yourself. It also gives you a sense of victory at the end of the day as you input your achievements for the day.

Sober Activities to Help You Beat The Winter Chills

Learn to cook and eat healthy food

Winter is not the time of the year to consume junk and other unhealthy food choices. There’s no time of the year that’s appropriate for the consumption of unhealthy food. However, all of the parties and festivities mean that junk food is readily available. 

Take extra care and watch your diet in winter. That’s if you want to stand a chance against the chills. Different food items will have different effects on your brain. In fact, the food you eat can have specific effects on your mood, how you feel, and your strength levels. That’s why you need to eat good food.

Cooking is also an interesting sober activity for the winter. You will learn how to combine various recipes and prepare new dishes. More importantly, you will also have fun doing it.

Conclusion

You wanted to know how to avoid relapse in winter. This is the answer — you need some sober activities to help you beat the winter chills. With the activities we describe above, you should be able to make it through winter without a problem.

The winter blues are sneaky, and they’ll try to get you when you’re not suspecting. You have to be ready for them at all times. Try to incorporate these sober activities into your schedule for this winter.

If you need more support during the holiday season, Inspire Addiction Rehab center in Vancouver is here for you. Our experienced counsellors and therapists can help you form an effective structure to avoid addiction relapse during the holiday season.

What Are The Long Term Effects Of Cocaine Addiction?

The long term effects of cocaine addiction can be life-threatening if you do not manage them properly. You see, prolonged cocaine abuse comes with a detrimental effect on vital organs. Vital organs like the brain, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, liver, the heart and even the immune system may suffer some damage. 

People addicted to cocaine do not only suffer physical but also emotional and mental damages. Hence, it is of high importance that you understand the dangers associated with cocaine addiction. More importantly, you should know how to treat the long term effects of cocaine addiction.

In this article, we discuss the effects of cocaine addiction on the major organs of your body. Furthermore, we discuss the physical effects of cocaine abuse and why you need cocaine addiction treatments.  Before we delve into that, here is what to know about cocaine addiction.

What is Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug found in coca leaves. Until recently, coca leaves were chewed by people of South America. It is said to have incentive effects. Owing to medical advancements, extracts of cocaine from the leaves can be purified and used medically. 

This purified cocaine is an active ingredient in tonics and it is used to treat a variety of diseases. Cocaine has a way of blocking pain impulses to the brain. Hence, making it important for surgeries.

Neurons secrete dopamine into synapses, acting as chemical messengers, carrying signals from one neuron to another. Dopamine is responsible for your feelings, excitation and your ability to make decisions. Another protein takes dopamine out of the synapses to avoid accumulation. When cocaine addicts use the drug, it enters your bloodstream binding with dopamine in the synapses and encouraging its accumulation. This produces an amplifying effect.

This is the reason for the euphoria you will experience after taking the drug. To continue experiencing that same euphoria, most people keep on abusing the drug. Their bodies begin to depend on the substance. So much so that a reduction in the amount of substance use can cause a malfunction of your body system. At this point, cocaine addiction has set in.

Physical effects of cocaine abuse will include weight loss, tired looks, violent behaviour, restlessness and panicking. If you experience any of these, seek cocaine addiction treatment in Vancouver.

Long Term Effects of Cocaine Addiction 

Long Term Effects of Cocaine Addiction 

You may start experiencing the effects of cocaine almost immediately after a dose. These effects can last for a few minutes to as many as three hours. These are the short term effects. They include: 

  • Mental alertness
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increased body temperature
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Touch and sound
  • Hypersensitivity

However, with prolonged abuse of cocaine, your brain begins to depend on the substance. A dependence on the substance increases your body’s tolerance to the drug. As a result, higher doses of cocaine will be needed to reach initial levels of excitement.

With repeated higher doses of cocaine, you may begin to experience the long term effects of cocaine abuse. The long term effects of cocaine addiction affect vital organs directly or indirectly. These effects can be severe, and sometimes irreversible.

Below, we discuss the long term effects of cocaine addiction on some vital organs of your body.

Effects on the cardiovascular system 

Effects on the cardiovascular system 

The cardiovascular system refers to the heart and blood vessels. With cocaine usage, there is an elevation in your heart rate and blood pressure. This comes with high energy, stress and anxiety.

However, with regular repeated doses, you increase your risk of:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Chest pain
  • Tachycardia
  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart attacks
  • Heart muscle dysfunction
  • Sudden death

The heart is the major organ affected when you abuse cocaine. Cocaine overworks your heart and makes it age faster. The end result of cocaine addiction on your cardiovascular system is death.

Effects on the immune system 

Another major long-term effect of cocaine addiction is the impairment of immune cell function. After intoxication, your decision-making ability will be compromised. 

Due to intense cravings, some addicts are most likely to trade sex for drugs. They even go ahead to share needles for intravascular administration of cocaine. Sharing needles, as it is known, is a potential mode of transmission of HIV.

Additionally, cocaine users have increased viral load and risk of a co-infection, HCV (Hepatitis C Virus). This increased overload is tied to the fact that cocaine enhances the replication of both HIV and HCV. HCV causes liver complications and increases the risk of liver cancer.

Effects on the gastrointestinal tract 

Cocaine causes a reduction in blood flow. As a result, other organs are affected indirectly. The stomach and intestines are not excluded from these side effects. Long-term effects of cocaine addiction on the gastrointestinal tract include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

However, with time, these side effects can get worse. Then, you may start experiencing ulcer pains and the death of important tissues in your gastrointestinal tract. In very severe cases, there can be injuries and inflammation of the large intestine. This is termed Ischemic Colitis.

Effects on the gastrointestinal tract 

Effects on the brain

During cocaine intoxication, there is a constant production of dopamine in the brain. Over time, your brain will adapt to not having to produce this neurotransmitter naturally. Due to this decline in production, as a long-term effect of cocaine addiction, you will begin to experience depression, restlessness and psychosis.

In reducing blood flow to the body, cocaine reduces blood flow to the brain. Thereby, reducing the amount of oxygen the brain receives. Other possible long-term effects of cocaine abuse on the brain include:

  • Brain shrinking
  • Seizures
  • Aneurysm, a rupturing of vascular walls feeding the brain
  • Cerebral vasculitis, an inflammation of blood vessels in the brain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mood disorders

Furthermore, cocaine causes ageing of the brain increasing your risk of dementia. For others, who have risks of developing dementia, cocaine may hasten the process.

Effects on the respiratory system

Snorting cocaine is one method of using the substance. The average addict snorts cocaine through the nose where it is absorbed via nasal tissues. Under prolonged exposure, cocaine ruptures the nasal septum and causes bleeding. 

But that is not the only route of administration. Cocaine can also be smoked. In smoking cocaine, it can be absorbed via the lungs directly into the bloodstream. But this can destroy the alveoli and carbon-oxygen exchange is affected.

Additionally, cocaine addicts develop eosinophilic pneumonitis also known as “crack lung”. Symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Black sputum
  • Pain
  • Raised body temperature
  • Increased presence of white blood cells

Cocaine Addiction Treatments

Cocaine Addiction Treatments

Cocaine addiction treatment programs recognize that cocaine addiction is complex. So they focus on treating changes in the brain under close supervision.

There are multipl cocaine addiction treatment services in Vancouver where you can make enquiries. Depending on your unique situation, professional treatment will include any of the following treatment options:

  • Counselling sessions
  • Detox treatments 
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 
  • Holistic therapies 

To Wrap It Up

In this article, we discuss how cocaine binds with neurotransmitters in our brain to prevent clearance. Furthermore, we have been able to highlight the physical effects of cocaine abuse on vital organs like the brain, the stomach, the heart and the immune system. 

We have also discussed the long-term symptoms of cocaine addiction. Finally, cocaine abuse also affects your mental and emotional wellbeing. This is why we emphasize the need for professional cocaine addiction treatment. 

If you’re not sure how to go about it, speak to an experienced cocaine addiction therapist today — free of charge. Contact Inspire Addiction Rehab center in Vancouver today!