How drug addiction affects health

Estimated read time 5 min read

Drugs change the brain’s reward system, which is responsible for motivation and goal-directed behavior. In other words, of course drugs make you feel good and keep you coming back.


But over time, drugs can change how your brain works, making you more likely to become addicted. As a result, your body craves more powerful drugs that  give you a higher level of effect. 


If you continue to use drugs, these substances can affect your health in the following ways: 


Physical Effects 

Using drugs can change your brain chemistry, which affects how your body works. For example, drugs can increase or decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration (breathing). They also affect blood sugar  and cause changes in body temperature. These changes can cause serious health problems if not treated quickly. 


The following are some of the most common physical effects of drug addiction: 


Withdrawal symptoms occur when you stop using drugs after  addiction treatment at Withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and  stomach or intestinal cramps. Some people experience hallucinations when they withdraw from certain substances, such as benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety. 


Drug overdose: Drugs such as heroin and cocaine are highly addictive and can cause an overdose if too much is taken at once. An overdose occurs when the amount of medicine in your body exceeds what it can handle. Some drugs  slow  or stop breathing altogether, which can be fatal. 


Infections and complications: Some medications make it harder for your body to fight infections. Hepatitis B and C are serious liver diseases that can develop if you share needles with someone who has hepatitis B or C. In addition, some STDs can spread more quickly if you use drugs or alcohol. 


Accidents and Injuries: Drug abuse can impair judgment, coordination, reaction time and memory, which are important for safe driving. So it’s not surprising that people who use drugs have a high risk of motor vehicle accidents and falls from height. They may also  be more likely than others to engage in risky sexual behavior, which increases their chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. 


Weight loss: When people use heroin, the drug affects their brain cells, causing them to release dopamine at the synapse between two neurons. Dopamine is a chemical that, when it enters these synapses, creates feelings of pleasure and happiness in your brain. 


Cardiovascular Problems: Heart attacks and strokes can occur in people who use illegal drugs and prescription drugs such as opioids. In addition, prolonged use of cocaine or methamphetamine can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels. This  can narrow the arteries, limiting the flow of blood throughout the body. If this problem occurs in the arteries of your heart, it can lead to a heart attack. 


Cocaine abuse can also cause high blood pressure or elevated blood pressure, stroke, and seizures due to changes in brain chemistry that occur during addiction. A stroke occurs when an artery becomes blocked or bursts, cutting off  blood flow to the brain. This event causes brain cells to die, resulting in permanent damage or death. 


Cancer: In addition to the risk of cardiovascular disease, cocaine use has been linked to various cancers, including lung and oral cancer. This problem occurs because cocaine can suppress the immune system so that it cannot fight infection or disease. 


Respiratory diseases: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive disease in which the airways and air sacs of the lungs are damaged. Damage can make breathing difficult, cause wheezing and coughing, and worsen health problems such as heart disease. This disease is usually caused by long-term use of illegal drugs. 


Constipation: This condition is often accompanied by abdominal pain, bloating, irritability and restlessness. Thus, cocaine can cause constipation by increasing serotonin levels in the body and slowing down bowel movements. 


Sexual Dysfunction: Cocaine is a common cause of this condition along with excessive alcohol consumption. This problem occurs because cocaine affects the body’s dopamine levels, causing delayed orgasms. Dopamine is responsible for controlling feelings of pleasure and reward  in the brain. Therefore, when someone abuses cocaine, they experience an increase in dopamine levels, which leads to their addiction.


Change in Appearance: Drug users often show signs of premature aging such as sagging skin, muscle tone and hair loss. These changes are due to malnutrition and poor health due to the inability to care for oneself.


Psychological Effects 

The psychological effects of drug addiction are profound and can have a devastating impact on a user’s life, especially if they do not undergo rehabilitation. Drug addiction can cause many different behaviors, including: 


Depression: This serious medical condition is a common symptom in people who have been addicted to drugs for some time. Depression can be caused by a number of reasons, including guilt about past actions while under the influence of drugs and anxiety about future consequences if they continue to use them. Feelings of hopelessness are also common in people suffering from depression caused by drug addiction. 


Inability to control mood: People who use drugs often cannot control their mood or emotions. This problem can be real if they get high or use drugs that make them  feel great, like cocaine or heroin. 


Impulsivity: This tendency can lead to bad decisions that negatively affect you and others. People may act impulsively to buy something they can’t afford, engage in risky sex, act aggressively toward others, or get drunk. Impulsivity makes people more likely to engage in addictive behaviors such as drug addiction and alcohol dependence. These actions can cause serious harm to individuals and society as a whole. 

Intense Pleasure: Drugs can produce extreme pleasure, making them highly addictive. People may feel  they need to take more and more of the drug to get the same effect, leading to a cycle of increasing tolerance and addiction.

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