The past few years have seen growing awareness on issues of drug addiction and substance abuse. Governments, politicians, national groups, and international organizations have all come out and recognized this problem.
With data and statistics suggesting that the number of individuals consuming drugs is increasing on a year-on-year basis, it is imperative to address this issue seriously. Many do not understand that regular drug use can lead to serious dangers to the human body.
This has led many medical and rehabilitation experts to term drugs and addictive substances as ‘Silent Killers’. The same was first published on Gallus Detox. Drugs have a detrimental effect on all parts of the human body, including the brain, heart, nervous system, liver, kidneys, etc.
In this resource guide, we are going to look at some of the mental and physical effects of drug use. We are going to look at both temporary and lasting health impacts of drug use on the human body.
Table of Contents
What is Drug Addiction or Substance Abuse Disorder: Meaning and Definition
The first thing that you need to know when defining drug addiction is that it is a progressive disorder. It is a state of being where an individual consumes some substances and cannot seem to stop even when knowing that the same is harmful to them.
Using illegal or even prescription drugs alters the working of the human brain. The changed chemistry starts creating cravings for these substances and results in compulsive attainment. The important thing to note is that consuming drugs can be life-threatening in nature.
Many people are under the false assumption that drug addiction is a moral problem. They feel that individuals with weak willpower tend to abuse drugs. That is not the case if medical experts are to be believed. It is far more complex and sophisticated than that.
Drug addiction is a medical disease, just like Diabetes, Heart Illnesses, or even Cancer. It needs to be addressed as such and treatments for the same need to be carried out in the process-like journey. Unless we can assume such a stance, we will not be able to overcome it.
The following are some of the most commonly used drugs and substances-
- Tobacco or nicotine addiction. This also includes vaping or e-cigarettes
- Cold medicines, prescription drugs, and cough syrups
- Mental stimulants like Meth (Methamphetamine) and Cocaine
- Recreational drugs like Ecstasy, MDMA, Molly, and GHB
- Hallucinogen drugs like LSD, DMT, PCP, and Peyote
- Opioids like Morphine, Codeine, Heroin, and Oxy
- Sprays, Aerosols, Nitrites, and Solvents
- Anti-Anxiety Medications like Sedatives and Steroids
No matter what drug you are using, the same harms your mental and physical well-being.
Long-Term Physical Effects of Drug Addiction on the Human Body
Drug abuse problems and addiction can have dangerous physical effects on the human body. In this section, let us look at some of the serious ones-
Studies have shown that increased use and exposure to substances like cocaine and meth can weaken the muscles and arteries of the heart. This can lead to the onset of severe cardiovascular diseases. Medical experts have pointed out that issues like arrhythmia, coronary artery failures, and heart attacks can become the major fallouts of drug addiction.
Being addicted to tobacco or smoking too much marijuana can weaken your lungs. It can also damage the functioning of your throat, larynx, and other parts of the windpipe. If someone is addicted to opioids, it can severely limit the functioning of respiratory systems, as it starts interfering with receptors. Drugs can induce slow breathing or even make someone snore.
We all know kidneys are responsible for removing toxins and waste from the body. However, several drugs like heroin, cannabinoids, and ketamine are found to build deposits on the kidney, compromising their functioning over a period. Simply put, the filtration aspect of the kidney gets affected, leading to kidney damage after extended abuse.
This is probably one of the most common health effects of alcohol addiction. The liver damages the cells of the liver leading to problems. Addiction to alcohol leads to the inflammation of the liver. It also leads to scarring. This is a common cause of liver cancer and damage. The only solution is to stop and start seeking medical intervention immediately.
Overdose and Death-
Almost all drugs are synthetic formulations with dangerous chemical components at their foundation. Using a combination of drugs might result in their chemical elements triggering drastic fluctuations in our body’s nervous systems and organs. This can lead to heart attacks, and breathing problems and ultimately result in death.
How does Drug Addiction affect an individual’s life apart from their physical state?
Apart from the dangerous health effects mentioned in the last section, there are several other ways they can affect an individual’s life. Let us check some of them out in this section-
- Firstly, drugs can lead to relationship troubles. Someone who is experiencing drug addiction problems loses interest in personal and professional relationships.
- Secondly, drugs impair a person’s cognitive abilities. Lack of concentration, dip in focus and poor performance in academic or professional pursuits takes place.
- Thirdly, individuals that have a substance abuse problem become dangerously impulsive. They seem to take unnecessary risks, even when it can be dangerous.
- Fourthly, people stop taking any interest or paying attention to the way they look. They dress shabbily, do not take note of personal grooming, and stop staying clean.
- Fifthly, drug use can lead to volatile changes in weight. Some individuals gain weight while others lose it drastically. Both can lead to the onset of serious illnesses.
Several behavioural changes take place. Slurred speeches, fidgety behavior, lack of hand-eye coordination, and loss of sleep are some of the obvious fallouts of addiction.
According to rehabilitation experts, engaging with drugs can have both short-term as well as long-term effects on the mental and physical aspects of the human body.
The Bottom Line
Starting a recovery journey is not an easy step or process. It requires an individual to undergo a detoxification process to rid the body of all remnants of the drug. This is usually followed by counselling and therapy from trained and experienced experts.
Individuals affected by drug addiction are also prescribed medications. Finally, sobriety requires regular follow-up sessions, support groups, and long-term counselling. If you have any doubts, you would like us to address. Please let us know in the comments below.