How bad is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is regarded as a chronic need to take addictive substances despite their detrimental effects. Such substances include drugs like hallucinogens, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, nicotine, cocaine, and heroin. In 2018, the United States (US) recognized drug addiction as an epidemic that necessitated immediate attention. Research indicates that more than 66% of deaths due to overdose as of 2018 were opioids related. Addiction is an ailment that requires medical intervention since it affects the normal functioning of your body, behavior, and brain. Moreover, drug addiction has far-reaching implications in the long term aside from typical acute effects.

1. Effect on the Overall Health

Substance use disorder, better known as drug addiction, cause a variety of long-term and short-term health effects on the body. Such consequences are subject to the type of addictive substance used, frequency of use, duration of use, and the dose. In addition, your health condition at the time of using the drug plays an indispensable role in dictating the possible implications of the substance. Although most substance abuse and dependence effects are short-term, they can have far-reaching consequences on all organs inside your body.

Some of the side effects of drug addiction include weakening the immune system, which increases the chances of contracting a disease. Additionally, drug abuse increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks. Drug dependence can cause lung diseases, stroke, brain damage, weight loss, appetite loss, and liver and kidney damage. Besides, you can have trouble making decisions, maintaining attention, or have poor memory retention. Such effects lead to difficulty in performing routine daily tasks. Thus, it would be best to receive treatment and help as early as possible to return to normalcy.

2. Effects on the Brain

Most of the drugs implicated in substance abuse, such as marijuana and cocaine, affect the limbic system of the central nervous system. As a result, the substances modulate the “reward circuit” present in the limbic system to cause the release of high concentrations of dopamine. The over secretion of the neurotransmitter dopamine interferes with feelings, pleasure, and emotions, causing you to feel a kind of “high.” Furthermore, research indicates that voluntary substance abuse in the initial stages appears to be voluntary but detrimental. It has been established that the alteration of brain chemistry begins early in individuals engaged in substance abuse and dependence.

Drug addiction causes changes in brain performance, including the ability to make decisions or choices. Additionally, it leads to an increase in drug cravings and compulsive use. For instance, alcohol use has documented long-term and short-term effects on the central nervous system and brain. It causes interference in communication pathways in the central nervous system, which results in alteration of behavior, mood, and cognitive functions. Furthermore, alcohol can cause nutrition deficiencies, liver disease, and seizures.

3. Effects on Behavior

Drug addiction can cause multiple behavioral challenges, either in the long run or in short-term use. Aside from addiction, substance abuse disorders can cause paranoia, aggressiveness, hallucinations, and loss of self-control. In addition, you might experience impaired judgment if you engage in drug abuse. Furthermore, substance abuse can cause you to adopt impulsive behavior that increases your risk of using other drugs and engage in risky behavior and violence. The shift in behavior due to drug addiction might expose you to consequences like accidents, injuries, punishable offenses, and missed work. Research indicates that nearly 80% of punishable offenses leading to serving jail time in the United States are related to substance abuse and dependence. It predisposes you to commit crimes like domestic violence, damaging property, or driving while under the influence.

4. Effects on Fetus

Drug addiction can make you adopt risky behaviors that cause harm to the fetus. Additionally, it can deny your child of proper nutrition necessary for growth and development. Drug abuse can pose severe risks to a mother and their child. If you are an expectant mother, the consumption of illicit drugs can expose your unborn child to impurities that cross the placenta. Effects on your unborn child can range from poor nutrition, low birth weight to withdrawal symptoms, where the latter appears in the form of abstinence syndrome. Furthermore, your baby can have congenital disabilities and behavioral or learning difficulties as they get older.

For instance, pregnant women that drink alcohol expose their fetus to the detrimental effects of the substance. Alcohol has a significant impact on the brains of unborn children, such as a large spectrum of alcohol-induced syndromes. Such syndrome includes congenital malformations that can cause childhood disability. If you or your cherished one is struggling with drug addiction and abuse, feel free to contact our team for needed help. Our team is made of certified and specialized counselors ready to get you started on your treatment. You can call us at 954-523-1167.