10 Consequences of Continuing Drug Abuse

Abusing drugs can have an impact on the body and mind. When you or a loved one uses drugs, it can have long-term consequences and sometimes the effects on the brain or body cannot fully heal. Understanding the consequences of long-term drug abuse can help you or a loved one make the decision to seek professional treatment.

Changes to the Brain

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that some substances can cause changes to the structure of the brain. Although the exact impact can depend on the substance that is abused, many drugs will change the way that the brain looked. It may damage the brain or cause changes to the way that it communicates with the body.

Risk of STDs

When an individual abuses drugs, his or her behavior may become risky. As a result, some individuals contract sexually transmitted diseases due to their behavior or the specific way that a substance is used. Substances like cocaine, amphetamine drugs and heroin can increase the risk of developing a STD, explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Loss of Appetite

Long-term drug abuse can result in changes to an individual’s appetite and interest in food. In many cases, an individual will no longer find food appealing and may lose weight. The weight loss can become risky if the addition is not treated.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that certain substances can cause severe insomnia or lack of sleep. Over time, the lack of sleep can cause complications related to general health and well-being.

Damage to Internal Organs

Internal organs can be effected by long-term drug abuse, but the exact impact can vary slightly. Some individuals can develop gangrene in the stomach, liver damage, damage to the kidneys or heart disease. Substances that are smoked can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Developing Mental Health Disorders

Certain mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, can develop when an individual abuses drugs and continues to abuse drugs. Since the substances can impact the brain, it can also impact the way that the body produces and uses hormones. Over time, that can result in changes to the individual’s state of mind and mental health.


Some substances will cause hallucinations, even if it is not specifically considered a hallucinogenic substance. When amphetamine drugs or cocaine is abused for a long period of time, withdrawal symptoms can cause hallucinations. Furthermore, the substance may cause paranoia that is related to the hallucinations.

Anger and Violent Behaviors

Depending on the substance, violent behaviors can develop when the drug is abused for an extended period of time. In some cases, the anger can result in attacks and injuring others. Some individuals may even seriously injure loved ones when they abused a substance.

Impaired Ability to Think

Long-term substance abuse can change the way that the brain comprehends information. In some cases, memory loss may develop or an individual may find it difficult to concentrate on information. Over time, the ability to think and comprehend information becomes difficult and confusion may develop.

Muscle Spasms

Impairments in the motor abilities of an individual can develop when certain substances are abused. In some cases, the damages to the brain and body can result in muscle spasms and tremors that will never heal, even after recovering from an addiction. Permanent damage can be prevented if an individual seeks treatment at an early stage of addiction, but the impact of some substances like inhalants can have long-term effects. Depending on the duration of time and the severity of the substance abuse, the exact impact on the muscles and communication from the brain can vary.

Substance abuse can have long-term consequences when an individual does not seek help for the addiction. Continuing to abuse drugs can have severe consequences and may even result in death if it is allowed to persist. Fortunately, professional treatment programs are available to assist with recovery.
Sourcehttp://teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-facts-week/drug-facts-chat-day-consequences-drug-abuse http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-abuse-addiction http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs/health-effects http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-long-term-effects-cocaine-use http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-abuse

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