What is Drug Addiction?
Drugs are chemicals that can potentially over a period of time cause major damage to the body and the brain. When someone states that someone is suffering from Illicit drug abuse and addiction, one should also consider the long-term harm it causes to your body.
Users can take drugs through inhalation (smoking), ingestion (eating), and injection (through needle). The effects depending on the method can take minutes or hours to affect the user. Injection, for example, is a method that gives the user an immediate effect, since the drug is injected immediately into their bloodstream. Ingestion can take a few hours because the drug has to be digested, as they find their way to your bloodstream.
Over 7 million users risk dying from Illicit drugs, due to the fact that 700,000 deaths per year occur from drug abuse. What does that mean? This means that illegal drug use kills more people than those that suffer from heart attacks (655,000), cancer (599,000), or any other cause of death.
From these outrageous numbers of deaths, over 550,000 of those deaths come from increased risk of disease or injury and another 160,000 come from drug overdoses.
Substance Abuse Disorder
The clinical term for substance abuse is ‘Substance abuse disorder’, and describes a compulsive, addictive use of drugs. Users consume alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogens and opioids. There are various short term and long-term health effects to drug addiction, but regardless of the consequences, addicted users will keep using these addictive substances.
Negative Health Effects of Drug Addiction
- Weakened immune system leading to illness and infection
- Heart conditions which could lead to heart attacks or disease
- Nausea and stomach pain resulting in unhealthy weight loss
- Live strain and liver damage, leading to liver failure
- Stroke, seizure and brain damage
- Lung diseases
- Regular living is harder with memory, attention, and decision making declining
- Full body effects such as body temperature, heart rate,
- Deaths, with the leading drug being opioids and heroin
Effects Drugs Have on The Brain
There are many drugs that can contain components that affect the brain, whether it’s alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, or any other substance. Drugs can interrupt the users’ mental processes such as their regular thought patterns, emotions, physical, or behavioral symptoms can appear.
In regards to short term effects, these can include hallucinations, paranoia, and impaired judgement. However, long term effects can be more severe which may include a loss of self-control, increased impulsiveness, and increased levels of addiction.
These addictive substances affect a part of the brain called the limbic system. This regulates the reward mechanism and handles behavioral and emotional responses to our deepest survival instincts. This part of the brain also connects to our fight-or-flight responses, which is why some drug symptoms include paranoia, aggressiveness, and impulsive behavior.
Drug Affects on Instinct and Mood
Chronic drug abuse can lead to short and long-term effects on the brain. This can lead to negative moods like depression and anxiety. Drug users average out to be twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders as the general population. While it’s not clear that drug abuse is causing the anxiety, the overall issue is that leads to both disorders occurring.
As one continues to abuse drugs, these substances have shown the potential to cause extreme effects on one’s instincts and mood. Over a long-term period, drug use can slow down one’s learning process, judgement ability, decision making and damaged memory. The addictive nature of these substances makes the user want to keep using, even though there are visible negative effects on one’s lives.
Behavioral Effects from Drug Addiction
There are many adversarial effects from drug abuse, ranging from drunk driving which can kill innocent bystanders to domestic violence and punishable offenses, which will ultimately result in jail time. The daily effects on some casual users can include lack of focus, increased aggression and frustration, a loss of self-control, and more addictive behavior patterns.
Drug addiction can start slow, but because of its addictive nature and chronic habits, it can lead to excessive use that will cause harm to the individual or society. The process of addiction may come from other mental health issues that already existed. While the nature of substances is that they are addictive on their own, they will act as a crutch and get harder to stop.
Pregnancy and Drug Abuse
Unborn babies get all their nutrition, oxygen, and other substances from the mother, so if she is using drugs, she’ll pass them down to the baby. This can lead to premature births, low birth weight, and can even cause withdrawal symptoms for the newborn child. Moreover, the impurities from drugs are so harmful to the baby, they can cause long-term birth defects. Some of these affects which may include learning or behavioral issues, or other problems later in life.
Can Drug Abuse Be Treated?
Short answer, yes. There is effective treatment for drug abuse and those that choose to do it, and stick with it, can end their addiction for good. The treatment process can take a long time, and it’s harder depending on the drugs taken and level of addiction. Treatment involves stopping using, learning new mental frameworks, ways to control emotions, and dealing with problems head on so you can improve.
If you’re looking for treatment plans, then you’re a part of the improving minority. Drug use is on the rise, and we’re helping to increase the rise of treatment as well. Reach out to us if you or someone you know would have suffered from any level of drug use and speak to one of our treatment experts and we’ll see how we can help.
Drug Rehab in Atlanta, Georgia
Buckhead Behavioral Health is a luxury addiction treatment facility and drug rehab in Atlanta, Georgia. Offering individualized treatment, the multidisciplinary staff at Buckhead Behavioral Health offers evidenced-based practices to help individuals recover from addiction in a safe and structured setting free from distractions. Learn more about our admissions process and begin the road to recovery now.