Long-Term Effects Of Drug Abuse: Explained

July 6, 2020 | drugs

long-term effects drug use

Not only can drug addiction ruin people’s lives, but it can also destroy their health. Drug abuse is hard on the body and the mind. The longer addiction lasts, the more dangerous the effects may be. Long-term effects of drug abuse may not only be severe, but permanent as well.

What are the impacts of drugs?

The issues that can arise and the degree of their severity are subjected to a few things. Of course, each person’s physical condition and mental state will be different from another’s. Not only that, but there are various other contributors as well:

  • What drugs were used?
  • How long were they used?
  • How much did the user take?
  • How frequently did the user take drugs?

Drugs enter the body through the digestive system, and bloodstream means long-term drug addiction almost guarantees that the body and mind will be impacted.

What does long-term drug use do to the body?

Drug abuse is dangerous to health in several ways. Prolonged use can have a severe impact on several of the body’s organs and systems. According to the National Institution on Drug Abuse, the kidneys, liver, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and gastrointestinal systems can all be damaged by drug addiction. Which parts are affected is directly related to what drugs were used.

Here are a few notables:

  • Respiratory Damage: Drugs you inhale can cause severe damage to the lungs. Issues such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and even lung cancer can be linked to smoking drugs such as crack cocaine and crystal meth.
  • Cardiovascular Damage: The heart and veins are at risk when stimulants or drugs that enter through the bloodstream are used for prolonged periods. Heroin can cause veins to collapse, and drugs like cocaine can be linked to heart disease, heart failure, and an increased risk of heart attacks.
  • Kidney Damage: Drugs have many effects on the human body. The use of drugs can increase temperature, lead to muscle deterioration, and dehydration. All of these can lead to kidney failure after some time.  
  • Liver Damage:  Opioids, heroin, and alcohol are all capable of causing damage to the liver. Prolonged and frequent uses of any are dangerous alone but are especially dangerous when linked together. Over time, life-threatening liver failure may be a result of the abuse of these drugs.

Does Long Term Drug Abuse Cause Brain Damage? 

The mind is just as vulnerable to the harmful effects of drug use as the body is. Dependency on substances can harm many of the brain’s functions. 

The brain can be conditioned by drug abuse and will search for cues that may trigger cravings to use drugs. Additionally, over time, the brain will release less and less dopamine and glutamate, which are part of the reward system. 

While the extent of the damage is subjective, drug abuse may lead to the following brain-related issues:

  • Memory Loss
  • Impaired Cognitive Function
  • Changes in Brain Function
  • Death of Brain Cells
  • Anxiety and Depression

An individual may show behavioral issues on account of drug addiction. Depression is a serious issue that is directly linked to drug addiction. 

Many times, an individual may begin using drugs as a means to escape their preexisting depression. Once this escape is gone, other impacts associated with the brain may worsen their situation. Depression may also appear in those who are experiencing withdrawal.

Like depression, anxiety is often an issue people use drugs to escape from. Most often, their addiction is to drugs that are meant to help with anxiety. Once they quit, these issues may appear worse than before. Other times, abuse of stimulants can inspire anxiety disorders.

How long is considered long term drug use?

Long-term drug addiction is generally defined as when someone has a drug addiction for several years. This should not imply that the risks associated will only appear after several years of drug abuse. Severe addiction or excessive use of drugs can be just as harmful to the body and brain even if only used over a short period of time.

Concluding Thoughts

Drug addictions of any severity can have severe impacts on the body and mind. They should always be taken seriously as they can result in permanent damage. 

It’s never too late to stop, though. If you are suffering from long term drug addiction, there is still hope. Seeking help is the first step you can take in defending your health against the risks of long-term drug abuse.

DayBreak is NOT just another drug rehab center – it is a treatment solution founded on the core principles of change. Relapse no longer needs to be a part of your story, call us when you are ready for a life rediscovered…(844) 695-0083