Your Recovery
Starts Here.

What Are Some Effects of Drug Abuse?


What Are Some Effects of Drug Abuse?

The effects of drug abuse can be seen on the faces of the individuals that use them, but sometimes not at all.

Different drugs affect different people differently, but overall they have long-last and permanent damages.

These can continue after you have stopped taking the substance.

More than 7 million people suffer from an illicit drug disorder, and one in four deaths results from illicit drug use.

The effects of drug abuse mean that you will have a higher risk of unintentional injuries, accidents, and domestic violence incidents.

There are many ways that you can take drugs.

This might include injection, inhaling, smoking or ingesting.

Because of this, the effects of drug abuse can also depend on how the drug is delivered.

This might include the drugs going directly into the bloodstream, or with a delayed effect through ingestion.

The dangers of drug abuse are huge.

Immediate Placement in Rehab

Effects of Substance Abuse

When you take drugs, they cause large amounts of dopamine to flood your brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our emotions, motivation, and feelings of pleasure.

With drugs, dopamine floods the brain and produces a “high.”

When drugs make it into your system, they can change how the brain works.

It also can interfere with your ability to make choices, which leads to intense cravings and compulsive drug use.

Over time the effects of drug abuse mean that you will become addicted.

This behavior can turn into a substance dependency or drug addiction.

Learn More About Rehab

Effects of Drug Abuse

Substance use disorders are associated with many different effects of drug abuse. These include a wide range of short- and long-term health effects. They can vary depending on the type of drug, as well as how often you abuse it, and how much is used.

Overall, the effects of drug abuse can be far-reaching. The effects of drug abuse can reach every organ in the human body, in physical, behavioral, and psychological forms.

Physical Effects of Drug Abuse

  • Weakened immune system
  • Increased risk of illness and infection
  • Abnormal heart rates
  • Risk of heart attack
  • Collapsed veins and blood vessel infections
  • Nausea and abdominal pain
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased strain on the liver
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Mental confusion
  • Brain damage
  • Lung disease
  • Problems with memory
  • Problems with decision-making
  • Death

Effects of Drug Abuse on the Brain

All drugs affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system. Because drugs target this system, you become addicted. Although initial drug use may be voluntary, drugs will eventually move to alter brain chemistry. This can change how the brain performs and interfere with your ability to make good choices. It will also lead to cravings, compulsive drug use, and eventually become an addiction.

Behavioral Effects of Drug Abuse

Substance use disorders can lead to behavioral problems in the short and long term. This might include:

  • Paranoia
  • Being aggressive
  • Hallucinations
  • Addiction
  • Poor judgment
  • Impulsiveness
  • Loss of self-control
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Complications with the law

The effects of drug abuse are to blame for 80 percent of legal offenses in the United States. This includes domestic violence, driving while intoxicated and damaged property.

Mental Illness and the Effects of Drug Abuse

When you struggle with both a substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. These mental health disorders might include depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety.

Dealing with substance abuse problems is not easy on its own, nor are the effects of drug abuse that come along with it. It can compound and make it even more difficult when you are also struggling with mental health problems.

Immediate Placement in Rehab

Taking Care of Your Dual Diagnosis

With a dual diagnosis, it is essential that you take care of both your mental health issues along with your addiction. This is because they both have their own unique symptoms that may get in the way of your ability to function. Whether this disrupts your life at work or school, prevents you from maintaining a stable home life, or handling life’s difficulties, it is a huge impact.

Co-occurring disorders can also affect each other. When a mental health problem goes untreated, your substance abuse problem usually gets worse. Over half of all individuals with a substance use disorder also suffer from a mental health condition. When your substance abuse increases, your mental health problems will typically increase too.

Treatment for the Effects of Drug Abuse


Known more commonly as detox, this is the first step in treatment. It involves clearing a substance from the body and limiting your withdrawal reactions. In 80 percent of cases, you will use medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

If you suffer from addiction to multiple substances, then you may need to use medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms for each. This is known as MAT, medication-assisted treatment.

Counseling and Behavioral Therapies

Proven to be extremely successful, counseling and behavioral therapy is the most common form of treatment used after a detox. It may include one on one therapy, group, or family counseling. Typically it begins as a more intense form of therapy, then reduces in the number of sessions needed as symptoms improve. Counseling for addiction works to help people change behaviors and attitudes around using a substance. It can also strengthen life skills.

Different types of behavioral therapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Known as CBT, this form of therapy helps people recognize and change their ways of thinking in relation to substance use.
  • Multidimensional family therapy: This is designed to help improve family function. Especially in the case of an adolescent or teen substance-related disorder.
  • Motivational interviewing: Known to maximize your willingness to change, motivational interviewing works to make adjustments to behaviors.
  • Motivational incentives: Used to encourage abstinence through positive reinforcement.

Rehabilitation programs

If you are struggling with a serious addiction, then longer-term treatment programs for substance-related and addictive disorders can be highly effective. These typically focus on remaining drug-free and resuming function within social, professional, and family responsibilities.

There are many different types of rehab facilities. These operate on a structure of a 24-hour care program and provide a safe housing environment. These facilities also supply any necessary medical interventions or assistance. These include:

  • Short-term residential treatment: Includes detox, and preparing you for your next stage of treatment. You find a connection within a therapeutic community through intensive counseling.
  • Therapeutic communities: These communities are for those seeking long-term treatment for severe forms of an addictive disorder. You may live in a residence for between 6 and 12 months, with on-site staff and others in recovery. The community and staff will help you to learn changes in attitudes and behaviors toward drug use.
  • Recovery housing: Typically as a short-term stay, this provides supervised housing to help you engage with new responsibilities and adapt to an independent life without substance use. This form of housing also includes advice on handling finances and help to find work. It can be the connection between the final stages of recovery and community support services.
  • Outpatient rehab: Similar to a less intense version of residential treatment. Typically you will visit a rehab facility for medication and behavioral treatment three times per week for a few hours per day.

Free Insurance Verification for Rehab

Get Help Today

f you are suffering from the effects of drug abuse, contact us to learn about our free insurance verification for treatment.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health we can offer you the opportunity to get help and get sober.

Contact us today.

Alexa Iocco

Does your Insurance Cover Rehab?

At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.