Substance Use

Does Cocaine Cause Weight Loss?

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Can Cocaine Use Make You Lose Weight?

Cocaine abuse is prevalent across the United States, with many users initially being drawn to the drug due to the burst of energy it gives them and the weight loss they may experience while using coke.

In this blog post, we’ll answer the main question, “does cocaine cause weight loss?” and other questions you’ll want to know about the drug. Keep reading to learn the “skinny” on cocaine use.

Are you or a loved one struggling to quit cocaine? Zinnia Health can help. Call us at (855) 430-9439 to speak with one of our compassionate and caring intake specialists.

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Will Cocaine Make You Lose Weight?

According to The National Library of Medicine, there is a link between weight loss and cocaine use. This well-known effect has led to cocaine being dubbed “the skinny drug,” particularly among women.

Although you may shed a few pounds quickly on cocaine, the risk is not worth the reward.

Exchanging 20 pounds for a lifelong battle with drug addiction is not worth it.

Many people who think they are harmlessly starting cocaine “just until I lose X pounds” find themselves unable to stop using cocaine when they reach their weight loss goals.

This leads to further health issues, including becoming underweight, malnutrition, and the slew of serious side effects we mentioned above.

Related: Why Do People Eat Cocaine?

Why Does Cocaine Cause Weight Loss?

There are a few reasons why cocaine causes weight loss. Like any stimulant drug, cocaine is an appetite killer.

When someone stops overeating, weight loss is extremely likely. The stimulant nature of cocaine also gives people extra energy, meaning cocaine users often stay up far later than non-cocaine users.

This added activity and calorie burning can also cause weight loss.

How Cocaine Can Cause Weight Loss

Below you will find a list of the reasons cocaine can cause weight loss.

Cocaine Can Suppress AppetiteThe stimulant nature of cocaine can suppress your appetite so you eat less
Cocaine Affects Fat StorageCocaine interferes with your metabolism which is why it causes weight loss
Cocaine Can Create an Eating DisorderCocaine use can lead to the development of anorexia and bulimia

1. Suppresses Appetite

Stimulant use has long been linked to weight loss because the drugs stimulate all areas of the body, including the central nervous system (CNS). This causes it to function faster than it normally would, increasing energy and calories burned.

Stimulants also activate areas of the brain that control satiety and feeling full. As a result, people who use stimulants feel full for longer. This leads to weight loss and a decrease in body fat.

2. Affects Fat Storage

Even though cocaine users may experience weight loss, they also often find their eating habits have changed, and they experience intense cravings for fatty foods and carbs. When their appetite does come back, they are ravenous and often overeat. For years, researchers were puzzled as to why this happened.

New research published in the National Library of Medicine suggests the main reason that cocaine users lose weight is because of how the drug impacts the metabolism and the body’s ability to store fat. The researchers studied cocaine-dependent men and found that even though they consumed fatty foods and carbohydrates, they were still losing weight.

They concluded that the men were not gaining weight with these unhealthy eating habits because of how chronic cocaine abuse interferes with the metabolism. This interference causes an imbalance in fat intake vs. fat storage.

Researchers also found cocaine users had low levels of the hormone leptin, which was directly linked to the duration of their stimulant use. This leptin decrease, coupled with a high-fat diet, would typically result in low energy and weight gain.

This is also why many people will experience weight gain when they go through a cocaine detox program at treatment centers and stop using the drug.

3. An Increased Likelihood of Eating Disorders

New research suggests there’s also a connection between cocaine use and the development of eating disorders, specifically anorexia and bulimia. Researchers found that people who grew used to cocaine abuse for weight loss are at an increased risk of developing anorexia as a result of cocaine’s hunger-numbing effects.

Other people may experience the opposite and go through intense cravings for fatty foods and carbs once they stop using cocaine. This can lead to a cycle of binge eating and purging, as well as weight gain.

The History of Cocaine

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine is a powerful and addictive stimulant drug.

Cocaine comes from coca leaves in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. In the early days of cocaine’s presence in America, it was used as an active ingredient in tonics and elixirs — even Coca-Cola! It was also used to block pain in surgery. But researchers soon discovered that repeated cocaine use was highly addictive and altered brain structure and function.

In 1914, the drug was first federally regulated, and all non-medical use of cocaine was banned, as was the importation of the drug.

In the 1960s, cocaine use started to rise. This caused Congress to classify it as a Schedule II controlled substance. In the 1980s, the United States experienced a full-blown crack cocaine epidemic.

Side Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine’s side effects are different in the short term and long term. Short-term side effects include:

  • Feeling euphoric
  • Experiencing a burst of energy
  • Feeling restless
  • Appetite suppression
  • Malnutrition
  • Become very talkative
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia

In the long term, you can expect the following side effects of cocaine use:

  • Cardiovascular damage, including blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and angina
  • Damage to the sinuses and mouth, including difficulty breathing, holes in the septum, and collapsed nose structure
  • Respiratory issues, including worsened asthma, cough, wheezing, and pain
  • Neurological problems, including brain damage, brain shrinking, seizures, inflammation, and mood changes
  • Coma
  • Overdose
  • Death

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Signs that you or a loved one may be addicted to cocaine include:

  • Depression after a cocaine binge
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Increased energy and reduced need for sleep
  • Lying about drug use
  • Suddenly needing money
  • Spending lots of money on cocaine
  • Spending lots of time getting cocaine
  • Isolation
  • An increase in risky behaviors/acting out of character
  • Bizarre and violent behavior
  • Seeing drug paraphernalia
  • Frequent bloody noses
  • Frequent sniffing
  • Chronic runny nose
  • Lost sense of smell
  • Pupils that are constantly dilated
  • Hoarse voice
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Concerned you may have a cocaine addiction? Zinnia Health can help. Browse our addiction treatment programs here.

Zinnia Health Can Help With Cocaine Addiction

Struggling to quit cocaine? Zinnia Health can help.

Our team of compassionate and caring addiction specialists works to create personalized recovery programs for our clients at our state-of-the-art facilities around the country.

We specialize in several substance use disorders and behavioral health problems. Contact our intake team today for free insurance verification and have a look at our cocaine rehab treatment facilities near you.

Call us
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(855) 430-9439
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