Cocaine is an extremely addictive and powerful central nervous system stimulant drug that is derived from coca leaves. In the early 1900s, the purified chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, was isolated from the plant and was used as a main active ingredient in many elixirs and tonics that were used for medical purposes. Today, cocaine is a schedule II drug. This means that it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. As a street drug, cocaine looks like a white, powdery substance.

Cocaine works by sending high levels of dopamine to the parts of the brain that control pleasure.  High levels of dopamine cause high levels of energy and alertness that creates a high feeling. Cocaine has many short-term and long-term side effects on the body.

Short-term side effects of cocaine addiction include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Nausea
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Erratic behavior
  • Irritability
  • Intense euphoria
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite

The long-term and chronic side effects of cocaine abuse include:

  • Permanent damage to the heart and brain
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Destruction to the nasal cavity
  • Hallucinations
  • Tooth decay
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Disorientation
  • Infertility
  • Irritability and/or mood changes
  • Psychosis
  • Severe depression
  • Malnutrition and weight loss

While weight loss is one of the “side effects” of cocaine abuse, it’s a dangerous health issue and only adds to a list of side effects that severely damage the body over time. It’s not healthy and leads to weight loss that weakens the body. If anyone is contemplating using cocaine as a weight-loss tool, they are playing with fire.

Does Cocaine Abuse Make You Lose Weight?

Cocaine and Weight Loss

There is a general association of weight loss with cocaine use due to its appetite suppressing abilities. It has always been thought that cocaine users to eat less because it is an appetite suppressant, but it can actually change the way the body digests food and stores food for later by changing the way the body metabolizes food.

This causes users to become unnaturally thin and malnourished. Oddly enough, a cocaine user’s body will continue to get thinner and thinner even though they tend to eat diets consisting of higher amounts of high-fat and high-calorie foods. Having a severe and speedy dip in weight can wreak havoc on a person’s heart, liver, and kidneys. According to an article posted by NIH:

The cocaine-dependent men in our study reported increased food intake, specifically in foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, but there was no concomitant increase in body weight. In short, our findings challenge the widely held assumptions that cocaine use leads to weight loss through a global suppression of appetite. Rather, they suggest a profound metabolic alteration that needs to be taken into account if we are to understand fully the deleterious physical consequences of repeated use of this drug.

Eating solid and healthy meals is difficult if you’re using cocaine, and it starts to show on your body rather quickly because you can become malnourished.  Once you’re addicted to this dangerous stimulant, it’s important to reach out for professional help.

Overcome Cocaine Addiction

Consequently, when a person gets sober, a user could experience excessive weight gain once cocaine use has stopped. It is helpful to know that overeating during early sobriety is very common and should level out.

The best and safest option to get off cocaine is by the use of one of the many treatment programs we offer at Recreate Life Counseling. We offer partial care and outpatient treatment programs that provide therapeutic education and guidance for each individual to help them safely reintegrate into society. With the help of our team of therapists, we offer one on one, group therapy, as well as many other specialized options to fit each person’s needs. Addiction treatment requires a multi-layered approach for maximum success. Addiction isn’t an easy thing to face and the health risks are not worth a short high.

You do not have to face getting sober from cocaine on your own. Our admissions counselors and addiction professionals are available around the clock. We are ready to help you or a loved one overcome the disease of addiction. Now is the time to change your life. Let us help you do it!


  • How much weight do people typically lose when using Cocaine?

Published on: 2020-05-08
Updated on: 2024-04-18