Drug abuse is among the major concerns in our society. About 1 in 4 people die yearly from reasons related to drug abuse. Although most people are aware of the negative side effects drugs of the body, dealing with addiction has often proved to be problematic. Initial drug use is usually voluntary and most people can easily control their use. However, prolonged use of illicit drugs alters brain functions resulting in compulsive behavior and uncontrollable cravings. It is also important to note that drugs have both short term and long term side effects depending on the type and mode of use. Ingested drugs usually have delayed effects compared to those inhaled or injected directly into the bloodstream. Some changes can also occur later in life following years of drug abuse. Below is a look at some of the negative side effects drug abuse has on your body.

Weakened Immune system

Continued use of illicit drugs may impair your immune system and increase the risk of falling ill. Patients of meth addiction, for instance, may suffer various immune deficient symptoms ranging from blood clots and body lesions to slow-healing wounds and skin infections. Drugs that are injected directly into the bloodstream can also increase the risk of infection, especially when the needles are shared with infected people. What’s more, drug abuse suppresses appetite, resulting in unintentional weight loss and a myriad of immune issues caused by nutrient deficiency.

Heart and cardiovascular diseases

Drug abuse, especially meth, heroin, and cocaine can lead to collapsed veins, blood vessel infections and cardiovascular diseases. Most fatal overdose cases are as a result of heart attacks and abnormal heart rates that ultimately result in heart failure.

Organ damage

From the infamous cigarette-caused lung cancer to alcoholic liver cirrhosis, organ damage is by far the most concerning side effect of drug abuse. Prolonged use of hard drugs eventually interferes with normal body functions and puts a strain on different organs. Drug use can damage your lungs, kidneys, liver, heart, intestines, brain and even skin.

Brain damage

Drugs primarily target the brain and production of the mood/feel neurotransmitter dopamine. Most drugs increase the production of dopamine in the brain, causing the user to experience a “high” that temporarily elevates their moods. When used for a prolonged period of time, drugs may alter brain chemistry and render one dependent and unable to function without their regular dose. The person may also experience changes in their decision-making process. Brain damage symptoms range from coordination difficulties, speech impairment, seizures, stroke and problems with cognitive functions.

Damages to unborn babies

Pregnant mothers who abuse drugs can expose their kids to various growth and development issues. Using alcohol during pregnancy, for instance, has been shown to cause fetal brain damage. Abuse has also resulted in nausea, abdominal pains, reduced appetite, and weight loss all which have negative impacts on unborn babies who grow in wombs deficient of the needed nutrients.

There are several other negative consequences of drug abuse. These are chemicals that alter our brain and body functions including metabolism, hormone production and secretion, neurotransmission, digestion, and nutrient delivery. Continued drug abuse will ultimately result in total body damage from rotten and chipped teeth to saggy aged skin, collapsed veins, bad lungs, liver and kidney, heart problems and brain damage. It is therefore very important to regulate drug use and get a handle on addictions as soon as possible. Most preliminary symptoms can be reversed with treatment if help is sought early enough.


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