Not only can drug use cause serious problems in your life, it can also severely hurt your loved ones and the people closest to you. The effects of drug addiction and substance use are far-reaching, although it can be difficult to fully comprehend how much you’re hurting yourself and others while you’re experiencing it.
In the short term, substance abuse causes unpleasant side effects, and in the long term, they can be extremely detrimental to your physical and mental health. In many cases, people with mental illness are more susceptible to developing addiction and substance use disorders, which then further compounds their pre-existing conditions. Read on to learn more about how different prescription drugs and illegal drugs affect your body and mind.
Side Effects of Drug Addiction
Heroin use is highly dangerous, and yet it can be incredibly appealing to some people. It causes an intense rush, numbs pain and makes the limbs feel heavy. Drowsiness, vomiting, nausea and itching can also occur. It’s long-lasting and highly addictive, which usually leads to the disruption of a person’s entire existence. Overdose can lead to respiratory depression, coma and death.
These types of medication are used to treat severe pain, but they are popular substances of abuse because of the intense relaxation and pain relief they offer. Many of these substances, like heroin, are converted to morphine in the liver and share similar side effects. Liver damage is often a long term effect of chronic opiate usage.
Benzodiazepines cause drowsiness, memory loss, confusion, blurred vision, slowed breathing and muscle weakness. They can help with anxiety but are highly addictive when used for more than a few weeks.
Stimulants such as cocaine cause a spike in dopamine that leads to increased confidence, euphoria and hypersensitivity to sight, touch and sound. It increases the body temperature, dilates the pupils and increase heart rate while causing your blood vessels to constrict. This can lead to heart attack, overdose and death.
Long-Term Negative Effects of Drug Abuse
Chronic use of heroin can cause structural brain damage, creating long-term imbalances in vital hormones and neurotransmitters. White matter diminishes, meaning you’ll struggle with decision making and responding to stressful situations and have less control over mental and physical functions.
Long-term use of these drugs leads to an increased risk factor for developing osteoporosis, as well as causing brain changes and functioning. Anxiety and depression are common in chronic, long-term users of opioids.
In the long term, these drugs can cause impaired vision, disinhibition, sexual dysfunction and memory problems. While they can be used short term to treat the symptoms of anxiety or depression, they don’t address the cause of these issues and end up making them worse in the long run.
Long-term cocaine use can cause the reward pathways to become less sensitive to natural stimuli, making it difficult to experience feelings of pleasure from things you once enjoyed. It also makes you more vulnerable to stress, leading to irritability and mood swings when you don’t have access to the drug.
Get Help for Drug Addiction Today
Psychoactive substances take a direct impact on the vital neural pathways that cause you to function, so there is no such thing as a safe drug. Repeated use over time leads to further physical and mental health problems, while trying to discontinue use can cause potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. If you’ve been using drugs and you’re worried about the health effects they’re having on you, call New Day Recovery today at (330) 886-4744 to speak to an expert about addiction treatment or entering a treatment program.