Understanding Drug Addiction and Its Effects

Drug addiction is a plague that affects many lives. In 2019, more than 70,000 Americans died from a drug-involved overdose, including illicit and prescription drugs.  Those fortunate enough to avoid an overdose suffer long-term and short-term effects.

The specific effect the person suffers depends on the amount of drug used, the type, and the medical history. This article focuses on what drug abuse is and its various effects. At Fayetteville’s Carolina Recovery, we help drug addiction victims overcome their addiction and regain their lives.

What Is Drug Addiction? 

Drug addiction is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior. It leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. As a result, people with addiction continue using drugs even with knowledge of the harm it causes.

Drug addiction often starts with the practical use of a recreational drug in social situations. Then the drug becomes more frequent, leading to addiction. At other times, the addiction starts when a person gets exposed to prescribed medication or receives it from a relative or friend with a prescription.

The risk of an addiction and how fast you get addicted varies by drug. For example, opioid painkillers are easier to get addicted to than other medications. With time, you find yourself needing more doses of the drug to get high. Soon, you might need the medicine to feel good, and it will become increasingly difficult to live without the medication.

You need help from a drug addiction doctor, family, friends, and support groups when it gets to the preceding. You may also need assistance from an organized treatment program like Carolina Recovery to overcome the addiction and stay drug-free.

What Are the Symptoms of Drug Addiction? 

Some common symptoms of addiction are:

  • Behaving out of character
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • Lack of energy when performing daily tasks
  • Strong urges to control the drug or substance use
  • Spending money on the drug even when they cannot afford it
  • Lying about the drug use and becomes defensive when confronted about it
  • Limits time spent with family and friends doing recreational or social events.

What Are the Consequences of Drug Addiction? 

There are several health consequences for abusing and being addicted to drugs. We discuss some of them below.

Cardiovascular Disease

Addiction to drugs like cocaine, heroin, inhalants, marijuana, methamphetamine, and steroids causes cardiovascular disease. The effect can be an abnormal heart rate or heart attack. In addition, injecting any of these drugs can result in collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.

Gastrointestinal Effects

Several drugs cause nausea and vomiting after using them. Cocaine causes abdominal pain and bowel tissue decay. Opioids cause abdominal pain, acid reflux, and severe constipation. Other drugs with gastrointestinal effects are nicotine, kratom, and khat.

Neurological Effects

When you consume addictive drugs, they act on the brain to produce a euphoric effect. Unfortunately, some may cause damages because of seizures, stroke, and other direct toxic effects on brain cells. Common examples of drugs that have neurological effects are cocaine, heroin, salvia, ketamine, ayahuasca, etc.

Mental Health Effects

Mental health and substance use sometimes go hand in hand. Chronic drug use leads to short and long-term behavioral changes in the brain. This, in turn, causes mental health issues like depression, aggression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, etc. Common drugs that cause mental health effects are methamphetamine, marijuana, inhalants, cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide, and ketamine.

Musculoskeletal Disorders 

Those who use steroids during adolescence have a significantly high sex hormone. According to the CDC, drug use is associated with sexual risk behavior, the experience of violence, mental health issues, and suicide risks among youths. In addition, steroid use signals the bones to stop growing earlier than they would, causing small stature. It also results in severe muscle cramping and overall muscle weakness. Examples of drugs that cause these effects are inhalants, psilocybin, phencyclidine (PCP), and synthetic cathinones.

Kidney Damage

Drugs result in kidney damage or failure from dehydration, dangerous increase in body temperature, and muscle breakdown. Drugs that cause kidney damage are heroin, synthetic cannabinoids, steroids, inhalants, and ketamine.


The CDC states that nearly 841,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Today, there are still many deaths attributed to alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drug use. The best way to avoid it is by staying off drugs, getting lean, and staying that way.

Need Help With Addiction Recovery? Carolina Recovery Can Help!

At Carolina Recovery in Fayetteville, we help you overcome your addiction by helping you learn and invest in new life practices. We understand the journey will be challenging, but our support is unwavering. Contact us today for help.