What Are the Physical Effects of Drug Abuse?

Substance use disorder involving drugs can be taxing on your body and mind. You become so dependent on the substance that you crave more and more of it. Over time, your drug addiction will take its toll on you in more ways than one. You might find that you can’t even function without it. Naturally, as a result of your constant drug abuse, you will experience certain physical effects.

How Do Different Types of Drugs Affect Your Body?

Different types of drugs can affect your body differently. Mostly impact your central nervous system and brain chemistry so you build up a tolerance. This leads to familiar cravings once you become dependent on the drug. Stimulants speed up the central nervous system. Drugs like amphetamines and cocaine fall into this category. Your brain works overtime.

If your heart rate and blood pressure are higher, you may experience insomnia and may not have an appetite. You can experience the sense that you can do anything. Depressants are a type of drug that is prescribed to individuals who struggle with mental health conditions such as depression. They work by slowing down your central nervous system, which leads to the feeling of being more relaxed and calm.

You might notice that your breathing and heart rate is slower while on these drugs. Your motor functions may not be controllable if you abuse depressants, which can be life-threatening. Hallucinogens are drugs that cause you to see and hear things that aren’t really there. LSD is a common example of this type of drug. You can experience the sense that you’re able to fly or that you are invincible. This category of drugs can physically affect your gastrointestinal system and cause you to clench your jaw.

Can Drug Abuse Make it Easier to Develop Certain Diseases?

Having a serious substance use disorder can make it easier to contract or develop certain diseases. For example, if you abuse intravenous drugs and share needles or crystal meth, it can increase your risk of contracting hepatitis B or C and HIV. Some types of drugs can even lead to cancer over time. Because of the effects that certain drugs have on your body, you can develop illnesses related to your heart and cardiovascular system. Smoking anything can increase your risk of developing respiratory problems and specific conditions like asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Physical Effects on Your Respiratory System

Depending on the type of drug you abuse, your respiratory system can be significantly affected. You can develop chronic breathing problems and even lung cancer. Opioids and other depressants can also lead to respiratory depression, which causes your breathing to become shallow and slower. In the worst-case scenario, it’s possible to die from respiratory distress.

Other physical effects of certain types of drugs include damage or injury to the upper airway from sniffing drugs such as cocaine. It’s even possible to suffer from a collapsed lung from inhaling substances. Injecting drugs can also cause physical effects on your respiratory system. It’s possible to develop lung disease, pulmonary edema or pulmonary vascular disease. Asthma attacks that can be fatal can occur. Surprisingly, a person can even develop pneumonia from injecting. Inflammation of the lungs and septic embolism can also develop. These conditions could be fatal.

Physical Effects on the Cardiovascular System

Many drugs can affect the cardiovascular system. Depending on the drug, the heart rate can be slowed down or sped up. Certain drugs can cause dangerous increases or decreases in blood pressure and lead to heart attack or stroke. Injecting drugs can negatively impact the cardiovascular system as well. Bacterial infections can develop and travel to the heart or blood vessels. Collapsed lungs can occur and the vascular system can suffer inflammation. Endocarditis is an infection of the heart.

Physical Effects on Other Areas of the Body

Drug abuse can affect other areas of the body as well. The kidneys can suffer serious dehydration when certain drugs are misused such as ecstasy. This often occurs when the substance raises body temperature. Nephrotic conditions can develop when cocaine or heroin are abused and cause the kidneys to not properly function. Many drugs cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. However, these issues can occur not only when you’re abusing drugs, but they can also affect you if you’re trying to quit using. They are common symptoms of withdrawal. Ready to get started? If you need help, call our specialists day or night at 772-266-5320.

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