Long term effects of drugs on the body vary depending on how and why they are used. Illegal drugs are known to have many long term effects on the body. These include respiratory and digestive problems, damage to the nervous system, heart attacks, inflammation of the liver, and changes to the functioning of the reproductive system. Illegal drugs also cause addiction, substance abuse, and dependence. As with any drug, illegal drugs can have long term effects on the body in general.
When a drug is smoked or injected, it passes through the blood stream and goes to the brain, where it affects the neurons there. The effects of the drug use on the body depend on how and why it is used. Whether intentionally or accidentally, most drugs of abuse cause a neurological condition that results in changes in brain function. These changes, mostly long-term effects of drug use, include damage to the cerebral cortex, which is the main control center for the central nervous system; damage to the midbrain; and damage to the cerebellum, which is the key control center for behavioral functions like speech.
Drug Effects on Society Drug use has been linked to a variety of social and psychological effects on people from all sorts of different backgrounds. In fact, drug use disorders have risen steadily over the past thirty years, with more individuals being diagnosed with a substance use disorder every year. The effects on society range from increased delinquency rates in schools and youth groups to lower levels of productivity and family relationships. Furthermore, drug rehab centers and drug treatment programs now treat drug addiction as a major public health concern.
Drug Effects on Body and Brain The primary effects of illicit drugs are on the body. Overdose is the most common cause of death related to illicit drug use. This results in drug overdose, which can be fatal if not treated promptly. Other effects of overdose include heart failure, respiratory failure, and shock. Overdosing on certain illicit drugs, including cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana, can also result in hallucinations, convulsions, and coma.
Drug Effects on the Brain Most users do not realize that even prescription medications can have damaging effects on the brain, particularly when used over a long period of time. Although the brain’s purpose is to keep track of external stimuli, these drugs increase neurochemistry, causing excitements in brain cells and pathways. Eventually this causes long term permanent changes in how the brain responds to various stimuli. For example, chronic stimulant use (like that found in Ritalin) can cause long-term memory loss due to reduced concentration and focus. Chronic use of alcohol can damage the structure of cerebral blood vessels and increase the risk of stroke and high blood pressure. It is important for abusers of medications to receive professional care and rehabilitation from their condition.
Health Problems Some health problems, such as liver disease and pancreatitis, may be caused by drug abuse. Abstinence from drugs can help reduce these health problems, but continued drug abuse can result in more serious complications and even liver failure. Drugs with stimulants in them (like Ritalin) are particularly common in teenagers who may resort to them in order to feel normal. Long-term drug abuse can also lead to decreased body temperature, edema, and edema of the abdomen due to water retention, kidney damage, or even necrosis of tissue. Other effects of drug abuse may include irritability, insomnia, nervousness, weight gain or loss, and depression.
Psychological Problems The effects of drugs on the body and mind are just the tip of the iceberg. Drug addiction often brings about deeper emotional and psychological issues that are manifested through withdrawal symptoms. People who are trying to kick the habit and regain their health are often experiencing anxiety, depression, paranoia, and other mental disturbances. The mental health problems caused by drug addiction can be treated with therapy and medication.
Although drugs make people feel good, they have harmful effects that should not be ignored. Doctors should be aware of the ways that drugs affect the body and mind in order to prescribe the best course of action for each patient. They should also be familiar with which drugs are most likely to be abused and try to avoid prescribing them if possible. Patients and doctors should work together in order to determine the best course of treatment for an individual’s drug use.