Can Drug Abuse Lead To Heart Failure?

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In December of 2016 the world lost a beloved actress, franchise star, and advocate for mental health. Carrie Fisher, most prominently known for her recurring role as Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise, died of a heart attack. The actress was outspoken about her drug addictions and lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. Fisher had been clean and sober for quite some time and in ongoing recovery for her mental illnesses.

Weakened Heart

A weakened heart is a side effect for the abuse of many kinds of drugs. For example, opioid abuse often results in overdose due to the heart slowing down to a stop. Cocaine, for example, can speed the heart up so frantically that it stops working. Many years of drug abuse, or even a few years of heavy drug abuse, weakens the body. Fisher has spoken about suffering from eating disorders in order to maintain her famous figure as Leia. Eating disorders, a form of abuse toward the body, is known to cause long term heart damage as well.


Fisher’s admitted drug of choice for a long time was cocaine. According to Medical Daily, cocaine sharply increases the heart rate but constricts the vessels. “This means the organ is receiving less blood flow and oxygen in spite of the increased ‘physical workload’ which can also result in an enlarged heart.”  

Recovery and Restoration

Recovery is restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. Day by day, the body regains the strength it lost. Through sobriety, diet, and exercise, the immune system returns, muscles regain strength, veins can appear, and more. Unfortunately, there are long lasting side effects which cannot be conceived at the time. Does drug abuse in the past predict heart failure in the future? Longitudinal studies are few and far between to prove that the answer is yes. The heart is a sensitive organ which can be made vulnerable through a large number of circumstances. Drug abuse is certainly one of those circumstances.
Maintaining a balance of health is critical for successful recovery. Not drinking or picking up more drugs simply is not enough to remedy the damage done by drug abuse. Recovering takes work, but that work never has to be done alone. Harmony Place believes in using scientific support for holistic healing. From our clinical treatment to balancing a healthy lifestyle, we provide beyond exceptional care. Call us today for a private consultation or more information on our residential treatment programs, 1-855-627-1417.