Long-term Effects of Addiction

signs at sunset

Drug addiction takes only a couple of attempts to develop but takes a huge amount of time to cure and turn life sober again. What’s even more horrific is the fact that the addiction might not even completely eradicate from your body and you will always be battling the effects of it. And apart from constantly burning a hole in your pocket since they are expensive, frequent usage of drugs can also have severe consequences on your health.

The ill-effects are not limited to physical ailments but also psychological which comes from the fact that drugs and various other harmful substances have the power to rewire the brain and make it depend on the substance abused. This accounts for the uncontrollable urge most addicts get even if they do not wish to continue. What starts as a just for fun adventure soon turns into a lifelong nightmare.

Here is how addiction can destroy your mental and physical well-being:

Effect on Physical Health

Substance abuse can harm your physical health with some of the damage even lasting for years. There might even be complications that may last forever. The impact on your physical health depends largely on the level of addiction, existing health problems, and how long have you been into substance abuse.

  • Kidney Damage

If drug abuse is habitual and has lasted for a long period, it can create serious damage to the kidneys. Many drugs result in muscle breakdown, dehydration, and high body temperatures. All these factors contribute small damages to the kidneys which over time becomes huge. Complete failure of kidneys is observed in addicts who have abused MDMA, heroin, ketamine, and other similar substances for a long time.

  • Cardiovascular System Damage

Drugs are hard on the heart and pose a potential threat to the cardiovascular system. Stimulants like cocaine cause damage to the heart whenever they are used. Long-term use of drugs can cause irregular heartbeats, spike blood pressure, increase the heart rate, and can even cause a heart attack. Drug users who inject drugs may experience collapsed veins and infection in the blood vessels.

  • Liver Damage

Usually, liver failure is associated with alcohol abuse, however, long-term use of steroids, opioids, or inhalants can also damage the organ. The liver is the most important part of our body as it aids in cleaning toxins from the blood vessels. Frequently misusing substances can increase toxicity in the blood which may cause the liver to overwork. This may lead to tissue necrosis, chronic inflammation, scarring, and even cancer in severe cases. The risk doubles when drug use is combined with alcohol abuse.

  • Respiratory System Damage

Various drugs that are inhaled or smoked can weaken the respiratory system and cause serious damage to the lungs. Drugs such as marijuana and crack cocaine can directly affect the lungs causing diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer.

  • Intestinal Damage

Intestinal damage refers to the decay in the stomach and intestines which is caused by many drugs. This can weaken the function of intestines and result in acid reflux, chronic pain, and an upset stomach.

Physical health problems become worse with time and so, it is important for anyone suffering from addiction to seek immediate medical attention. Diagnosing the disorder sooner can help the patient to minimize these health problems with an added advantage of also stopping the addiction to further spreading in your system.

Effects on Psychological Health

The power of drugs can be understood from the fact that even a dose or two of some of the drugs is all that’s needed to develop an addiction. Frequent and long-term use of drugs restructures the brain and makes it more dependent on the drug. The brain and the body become so used to the substance, that the day you try to skip the drug intake, your body responds with negative effects like withdrawal symptoms. These can be as bad as cramps, stomach ache, bad mood, or even unnecessary anger. According to PCS Revenue Cycle Management, an authority in medical billing and addiction treatment, the following symptoms are very common with drug addiction Arizona:

  • Depression

Various mood disorders including depression are linked with substance abuse. Either the addiction started with preexisting depression or frequent substance abuse can cause it over time. Drugs induce significant changes to the brain which promotes depressive symptoms. Some people who refuse to undergo treatment choose to self-medicate using drugs which makes the condition even worse.

  • Memory Damage

Drugs impact the brain and reduce its power of conceiving information and storing the same for later use. This not only poses difficulty in remembering things but also makes it tough for the addicts to retain new information in the brain.

  • Paranoia

Some drugs such as marijuana and cocaine make the user paranoid and the symptoms keep in severity increasing over time. Also, people who suffer from addiction tend to hide and lie about their addictive behavior from their friends and families, which roots from the fear of being caught. Since most of the abused drugs are either illegal or aren’t intended for abuse, the feeling of paranoia keeps mounting for long-term drug abusers.

  • Brain Structure

Addiction not only restructures the brain but also makes it nearly impossible to leave drug use without facing consequences. When a drug is abused for a long time, our bodies start getting used to the drugs and once it does, it develops a dependence on the drug. This dependence can go on to become so severe that if even the addict wants to leave drug abuse and live a sober and healthy life, the brain and body disapproves.

Feelings of anger, frustration, irritation, anxiousness, restlessness, and sudden mood swings are all a sign of addiction. A long term substance abuse can make the addict lose physical coordination, develop poor hygiene, and an urge to constantly lie.


Addiction is bad. So much so that the moment you’d come to your senses, it would already be inside your systems weakening the organs one by one. Even if you have an addiction and it’s not been so long, you can immediately seek medical attention to reduce the symptoms to save your body’s health.