The Long-Term Effects of Drug Addiction

Substances like drugs are painted in a negative light for the right reasons. Although the media often depicts those who suffer from a substance abuse disorder as criminals or a threat to society, they are far from what it looks like on camera. In reality, addiction is a disease that causes damage to a person’s life and there are short-term and long-term effects that those who suffer from a substance abuse disorder will go through if they don’t seek help.

The long-term consequences of continued drug abuse are more than just changes in behavior and appearance. Perhaps the worst of the effects is when it starts to damage the body and overall physical health. Addiction is known as a mental health problem, and this can all be addressed by investing time and efforts into relapse prevention during substance abuse treatment. Here are the effects of drug addiction on a person’s life in the long run:

Changes to the Body

Drug abuse can often cause people’s bodies to change. Initially, there will be noticeable differences in an affected individual’s appearance, such as weight changes, skin problems, and hygiene. These signs are the earliest warning signs that someone is developing an addiction to a substance.

If someone continues using drugs without seeking treatment, the ensuing damage may be permanent and can even lead to fatalities. One of the most affected mechanisms is the cardiovascular system, as some stimulant drugs can often be hard on the heart and can cause excessive blood pumping in and out. Overusing substances like cocaine and methamphetamines will damage the heart, often leading to heart failure.

A person’s lungs can also be affected by heavy drug use. Some substances consumed via smoking will strain the respiratory system, as the lungs aren’t meant to have any smoke or particulate matter inside them. Even drugs like marijuana can cause long-term lung damage because of how lungs react to smoke.

The liver and kidneys can also be affected by substance abuse, as drugs can often dehydrate the system and have adverse effects when used in large quantities. Prescription drugs are terrible for these organs as they are typically combined with drinks like alcohol, which doubles the stress load.

Mental Changes

One of the most difficult challenges that a person can go through with long-term drug addiction is changes to their mental state. Drugs can often damage cognitive processes and even cause bad behaviors to develop. Since they have so many chemicals that play with the brain’s chemistry, this can cause sensory overloading and can negatively affect the brain. People who abuse drugs and fail to seek substance abuse treatment can develop impairments in cognitive functions, memory loss, and various discomforts due to withdrawals.

Since drugs toy with brain chemistry, it can destroy the reward system that a person has, making it more challenging to deal with daily life. Memory loss is also an effect of long-term abuse, which can cause lapses in judgment. Withdrawals make people feel uncomfortable sensations like paranoia and hallucinations, which become more prominent.

Treatment centers and rehabilitation can help people discover relapse triggers and avoid them to ensure their cognition and mental processes’ health and vitality. Preventing people from falling back into drugs can help restore their brain processes and keep them healthier than using various substances.

Avoid the Perils of Long-Term Drug Use

Drugs may seem appealing at first, as they offer an escape to everyday life. However, usage over time will develop negative consequences, which will destroy the quality of life because of uncomfortable sensations caused by withdrawals. As substances become the usual way to live life, this can develop deeper problems for a person as they age, leading to many fatal complications.

Work with Relapse Prevention Professionals

Getting help for addiction does not have to be difficult anymore, as substance abuse treatment clinics that treat various drug abuse patients exist today. If you or a loved one is suffering from the perils of addiction, consider visiting American Treatment Network in Havertown, PA, for a complete range of assistance tools. Contact us to get help today.


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