Health Complications from Addiction

It is common knowledge that there are many negative consequences and complications of drug misuse. However, it is important to be aware of the specific consequences of drugs and alcohol. Addiction is a complex disease that affects many different factors in a person’s life. Many people don’t realize the true impact that addiction can actually have on a person. 

One of the biggest complications of drug misuse is the fact that it’s not just a physical issue, it’s a mental one as well. While a person may feel the physical effects of their addiction, their mind and behavior also begin to change. Certain drugs can end up causing permanent damage to the brain and its functions. Constant drug use and addiction can end up leading to diseases, injury, and even death in some cases. 

Today we’ll be looking at some of the complications of drug misuse and how a person can find treatment. If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction – it may be time to get comprehensive help. The longer a person waits, the more risks and consequences will appear. Let Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center help you change your path to a better life. 

The Complications of Long-Time Drug Use

While many people might seek help in the early stages of addiction, some people can end up having an addiction for long periods of time before getting help. In research done by Drug and Alcohol Review, it was found that heroin users had a nine-year gap between first use and their treatment. The complications of drug abuse progressively get worse as a person continues to use. 

What may begin as minor short-term effects can escalate to more severe and complex long-term problems. Addiction can be a complicated and stressful situation as a person may feel trapped or hopeless with their drug use. Some addictions can get to the point where a person’s entire life becomes consumed by obtaining and using the drug. When not using, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms; which also get worse as time goes on. 

The Physical Complications of Drug Misuse

Some of the more prominent and known consequences of drug and alcohol addiction are the physical signs and red flags. Many different physical problems arise after long-time use. This can be the direct or indirect result of a person’s drug use. 

The Physical Effects of Substances

It comes as no surprise that certain substances have specific effects on the user. A person who snorts cocaine frequently may end up damaging their nasal cartilage. People who smoke methamphetamines may end up experiencing negative dental decay or ‘meth mouth’. These depend heavily on the drug that is being misused and how much is being misused. 

There are also many general physical complications of drug abuse. These can include any of the following depending on the drug:

Healthy Living
  • Liver disease
  • Several skin diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Seizures
  • Overdose
  • Scarred and collapsed veins
  • Septicemia
  • Heart infections

These health effects only get worse and worse as time goes on. This is why it’s important to get help before things escalate to more severe physical problems. 

Injury and Risky Behavior

Direct and indirect injuries can be severe complications of drug abuse in the long-run. A person may experience muscular or skin damage after injecting heroin or another drug into their skin (over time). Constant drug use can cause problems in the lungs and respiratory system as well. 

Drugs in general end up impairing a person’s decision-making and coordination. This impairment opens the door for serious injury and even death. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol use they may indulge in more dangerous and risky behaviors. A person may choose to drive when under the influence of drugs or alcohol – this can result in major accidents, injury, and even death. Nearly 28% of all traffic-related deaths are due to a person driving under the influence – this number continues to rise. 

Erratic and confrontational behaviors can also cause many problems with the people around a person. Getting physically injured can also occur through this aggressive behavior and impaired state. When alone, a person using drugs can run into dangerous situations like drowning or getting into a physical confrontation. 

Cardiovascular Health

A person’s cardiovascular health can be negatively impacted after excessive drug abuse and addiction. It is not uncommon to see drugs like cocaine and heroin take a toll on a person’s cardiovascular system (especially when these drugs are combined). Substances can end up creating a massive strain on a person’s heart and blood vessels. Over time this can skyrocket the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and even death. While it may be a slow process, the cardiovascular impact is one of the most deadly consequences of drugs and alcohol addictions. 

Overdose

Overdose is one of many common complications of drug abuse. An overdose occurs when a person takes too much of a certain substance or combines it with other drugs. This can create specific and life-threatening side effects on a person’s body. Sadly, overdoses are much more common than one would think. In 2019 alone, the U.S. saw upwards of 70,000 overdose deaths. 

An overdose can occur out of the blue and can be deadly if the right precautions are not taken immediately. As one of the major consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, it’s important to be aware of overdose signs. Overdose symptoms depend entirely on the drug at use, however, there are a few different general symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms call 9-11 immediately and get medical attention: 

  • Shallow breathing
  • Coma
  • Clammy skin
  • Agitation
  • Delirium
  • Loss of consciousness
  • CNS depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory depression
  • Vomiting
  • Hypertension/hyperthermia

These symptoms will differ from drug to drug, so it’s important to do the correct research and be informed about the dangerous consequences of drugs and alcohol addiction. 

The Psychological Complications of Drug Misuse

The Physical Effects of Substances

Addiction and drug abuse is not just a physical problem, it is a mental one as well. Those who abuse drugs tend to experience depression, anxiety, and other stressful conditions. Certain drugs can end up causing permanent damage to a person’s mind

Depression

Over the years, drug misuse and addiction have been connected to cases of depression. A person who has become dependent on a drug and needs it to function on a daily basis will experience an emotional toll eventually. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, and shame have been linked to long-term cases of addiction. Not to mention the stressful impact it can have on loved ones and close friends. 

Psychosis and other Psychoactive Substances

Psychoactive substances that create hallucinations (LSD, etc.) can end up causing major mental health problems down the line. One of the more severe symptoms of long-term psychoactive substance use is psychosis. Drug-induced psychosis occurs when a person begins slipping between reality and hallucinations. This can be extremely problematic and can cause several long-term effects as well. 

Loneliness

Similar to depression as a consequence of drugs and alcohol, loneliness is a common psychological effect of addiction. This is because those who have developed a drug addiction tend to push people away, especially loved ones or friends. This can create problems in relationships and end up impacting a person’s support group when they need it most. 

Loneliness can end up making a person fall deeper into their addiction over time. While loneliness is not one of the most dangerous consequences of drugs and alcohol, it can lead to many negative problems and complications like suicide and intense depression. 

Suicide

Unfortunately, suicide continues to be a common thread in those who misuse drugs regularly. Research shows that the rate of death by suicide is almost three times higher for those who are dependent on opioids and other drugs. The psychological and physical effects along with a person’s hopelessness can end up leading to suicide. 

The Social Consequences of Drugs and Alcohol

Along with the mental and physical effects of drugs, there are also the social consequences of drugs and alcohol. When a person’s life becomes consumed by drug addiction, many aspects of their social/family life will begin to crumble. 

Relationships

Drug addiction can end up destroying relationships with those around a person, including friends and family. This creates stress and resentment between everyone involved. Tension and dysfunction are created, especially when there are kids and spouses involved. This can lead to problems and stress among the family. 

Staying healthy

Financial Problems

Drug addiction is an expensive situation that can affect someone’s employment and financial state. Continuing to buy and use drugs frequently while forgetting their responsibilities can spell disaster as time goes on. Not to mention the medical bills involved as a result of drug addiction and abuse. Financial problems are just one of many complications of drug abuse. 

Criminal Activity

Many drugs are considered illegal in many different states and parts of the world. Simply possessing a drug (particularly psychoactive substances) can land a person in jail. On the other hand, a person may also resort to robbing or stealing to get their hands on a drug. This can devolve into criminal activity and legal problems down the line. 

Get Addiction Help Today

Now that you know the intense consequences of drugs and alcohol usage, it is time to look at how you or a loved one can get treatment. Sana Lake is here to help get you and your loved ones towards a better life. We offer comprehensive addiction services to fit all your needs. Don’t wait to start the journey towards sobriety – contact us today to get started.