Most people understand that illicit drug use can have a negative impact on a person’s life, but less commonly known is the fact that using drugs can have long-term and sometimes even permanent side effects. There are many ways that drug use can affect the body, brain, and emotions over time, some of which can lessen over time. Other side effects can, unfortunately, be permanent. It can be a source of motivation and empowerment to learn more about these side effects of illicit drug use, especially for someone considering seeking drug detox help.
Early Signs of Drug-Related Side Effects
Common signs of drug use and addiction can give clues to some of the long-term side effects if a person continues using. Though some of these signs may not seem serious in the beginning, if left alone, they can become major problems. Some of these early signs are:
- Forgetfulness, stumbling over words, and mild confusion – many drugs produce these effects as part of the “high,” but, over time, the brain’s ability to think and speak can be damaged as brain cells are killed by the drug’s toxins.
- Lack of interest in school, work, and hobbies – as the person becomes more and more interested in drugs and less interested in other aspects of life, they place themselves at risk of negative interactions with the law or dangerous situations related to drug use.
- Disinterest in proper nutrition, fitness, and appearance – using illicit drugs can lead to neglect of a person’s overall health. Some people might even avoid seeing a doctor when hurt or ill for fear of being judged or arrested for their drug use. This places a person at serious risk for health problems later on down the road.
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Drug Use?
As a person uses drugs over time and becomes addicted, their body becomes habituated to the presence of the drug and changes the way it operates. Drugs manipulate the areas of the brain that feel good when an action is performed – sometimes called the “reward centers” – and, over time, the person is conditioned to crave the drug more and more. This has the long-term effect of blunting other kinds of pleasure, making drugs more attractive as a source of pleasure than anything else.
People who use stimulants or intravenous drugs are at risk of cardiac problems over time. Stimulant users essentially ‘overclock’ their system, stressing their heart and risking a heart attack or stroke. Intravenous drug users constantly put themselves in danger of infection by introducing potentially contaminated needles into their bloodstream. Infections that travel to the heart can be extremely serious and even fatal.
Is There Help Out There For People Suffering the Long-Term Effects of Drug Use?
There certainly is help out there, no matter how long someone has been using drugs or what side effects they are experiencing. If you or a loved one is concerned about quitting drugs after using them for a long time, it is crucial to reach out to a licensed professional substance abuse counselor or a drug treatment program staff member. Attending a drug detox program is one of the best things a person can do to benefit their overall health and reduce the impact of long-term side effects from drug use. Recovery is possible with the right support and treatment.
Liberty Health Services Can Help
At Liberty Health Services in Derry, New Hampshire, we are committed to helping our clients, and their families heal from addiction and achieve lasting recovery. Contact our caring and compassionate staff today at 855.959.4521 and tell us what we can do to help.