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5 Long-Term Effects of Drug Addiction

a woman sitting on the floor suffering from the effects of drug addiction

The effects of drug addiction can lead to serious health complications that may last for years. The long-term effects of drugs can affect the brain, heart, liver, and psychological well-being. 

If you need help overcoming a substance use disorder, reach out to Northpoint Omaha by calling 402.685.9404 to get connected with a drug rehab center in Omaha, Nebraska.

5 Long-term Effects of Drug Addiction

1. Cardiovascular Health

Several drugs can cause lasting damage to the cardiovascular system. Drug addiction can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rates
  • Heart attacks
  • Collapsed veins

These problems are most frequently seen in people who use stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or Adderall. The earlier you stop using, the better chance you can avoid these long-term effects of drugs.

2. Brain Changes

Addiction is a brain disease. When people become addicted to drugs, the brain’s reward networks change in structure and function, making it much harder to stop without the assistance of drug addiction treatment. These effects can persist for months or years after abstinence has been achieved but will ultimately heal with enough time in sobriety.

The brain changes associated with addiction can lead people to lose interest in hobbies or activities outside of substance use. It may be difficult to enjoy the things you used to, such as exercise or spending time with your friends. 

This fundamental problem is a large part of why so many people fail to achieve long-term recovery. However, seeking help from an addiction treatment center can aid your brain in healing from the effects of drug addiction.

3. Respiratory Functioning

People who smoke or inhale their substance of choice are at increased risk for damage to the lungs and respiratory system. Substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, crack, and marijuana all directly damage the lungs and can cause lasting problems. 

Respiratory disease, such as COPD, is more common among people with a history of substance use disorders. People with asthma may be particularly vulnerable as well, as their airways are already impacted and have less leeway for dealing with obstruction.

4. Liver Damage

The liver is the organ responsible for processing drugs and detoxifying the body. Using substances for prolonged periods puts an incredible strain on the liver and could result in permanent liver damage. 

Alcohol is the worst offender, and liver disease is sometimes the tragic outcome for people with alcohol use disorder that they cannot recover from.

5. Mental Illness

The long-term effects of drugs can also include mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Even after achieving abstinence, people can still feel the effects of these mental illnesses, which pose a substantial risk to long-term sobriety. People suffering from anxiety or depression have a harder time staying sober and are more likely to relapse.

In addition, people with a substance use disorder are at increased risk for exposure to traumatic events. While some people can cope with the effects of trauma without damaging their mental health, a significant portion will go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

This can lead to a destructive spiral of using to deal with the effects of trauma. Seeking drug addiction treatment can help you break free.

Discover Drug Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Omaha

The best way to prevent the long-term effects of drugs is to start attending an evidence-based drug addiction treatment program. These facilities can help you stop your addiction in its tracks, provide hope for the future, and show you how to live a new life in recovery. 

When you’re ready to take the first steps in achieving abstinence, contact Northpoint Omaha by calling 402.685.9404 today.

Your addiction will try and trick you into thinking recovery is not possible—don’t believe it. We can show you the way forward at Northpoint Omaha.