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Drug Abuse and Its effects

Updated on July 6, 2017


Drug abuse is defined as a repeated and obsessive utilization of dangerous quantities of drugs and the emergency of withdrawal symptoms when the user stops taking the drugs. The impacts of drug addiction are far and wide ranging because of the compulsion involved. Furthermore, this affect is not only related to the individual user, but also to the family members and the society in general.


People begin using drugs because of a number of reasons. There are those who will begin using it just to see how they will feel like with it. Irrespective of the reason, drug use can turn into drug abuses which will subsequent lead to dependence which is then called drug addiction. This occurs since the body reaches a state where it becomes tolerant to the drug to the extent that the user will need more of it in order to feel the same sensation. In needing such initial high, the body’s functionality becomes dependent on the drug, thus making the body system dependent on the drug (NIDA, 2016).

Majority of drugs consists of chemicals. Because of the chemical elements inherent in different drugs, use of such can negatively affect the functioning of the body in a number of ways. Research indicates that some of these drugs can continue affecting the brain and general body long after the person stopped taking such drugs. Furthermore, the manner in which the drug enters the body, that is whether through ingestion, inhalation, injection or oral taking determines the kind of effect it is likely to cause to the person. For instance, if the method used is through injection, the drug will enter the blood stream directly and thus cause immediate effect. In the event that the method is through injection, the drug will go through the digestive system, thus delaying the effects (Nutt et al, 2007).

While the effect of drug abuse on an individual can differ as per the drug that has been abused, majority of drug abuse cause negative ramification on the body’s health. Among the common effects of drug abuse on the body include decreased memory, changes in sleep and an impact on cognitive abilities. In addition, there are also other physical problems of drug abuse which may include impotence, regular illnesses, excessive respiration, high blood pressure, HIV because of need-sharing, hepatitis B or V, lung or chest pain among others (Peterson, 2013).

Drug addiction has also a cost on the healthcare and just systems since these institutions have to use funds in rehabilitating the affected person. Alcohol abuse and addiction have been related to violent behavior which according to study has resulted into the disability of 58.3 million people on a global perspective. In the context of United States, it has been estimated that drug abuse has cost the country over 400 billion US Dollars. This number represents lost wages, costs related to the criminal justice system, health care costs among others.

There is also a psychological and emotional effect of drug abuse. These effects are derived from the fact that the user is under the influence of drugs, alongside the changes occurring in the body when the user becomes a consisted user. Initially, many people opt to engage in drugs as a way of coping with pain and stress. Furthermore, consisted use of drugs creates a cycle where each time a user feels pain or stress, he or she feels the urge to use the specific drug. This constitutes a psychological impact of drug use and addiction whereby; the user develops a strong craving for the drug. Craving is just among the effects of drug addiction which creates an obsession for the user to obtain and use the drug on a regular basis. The drug addicted person develops a belief that the person abusing the drug cannot effectively handle life or function properly if he or she has not utilized the specific substance. Other psychological and emotional effects of drug abuse may also include, but not limited to confusion, hallucinations, strong desire to consistently use the drug, abnormal mood swings, possibility of mental illness, desire for the addict to involve himself or herself in risk behavior such as sex or some criminal activity and a decline in happiness (Nutt et al, 2007).

The physical effects for drug abuse differ as per each drug, but may be observed in all body systems. In addition, drug abuse can also impair the user’s cognitive abilities and functioning of the brain. Typically, drug abuse alters the key functioning of the brain and affects the perception of pleasure by the body. When a user engages in consistent use of a specific substance/drug, the brain repeatedly becomes flooded with serotonin and dopamine chemicals in the course of use. The brain comes to expect, depend and adapt such drug induced feeling. The physical effects of drug abuse also extend to the children of the abusers as depicted by statistics on health and mortality. Among these effects: children from mothers who are drug abusers have been found to be cognitively affected throughout life. In regard to mortality, it has been established that one out of four deaths occurring globally are due to the impact of drug addiction (Indiana University, 2016).

Other physical effects of drug abuse include liver and kidney damage, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, heart attack, irregularities of heart rate , respiratory problems such as breathing problems, emphysema and lung cancer. There is also a possibility of brain damage, stroke, seizures, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain, changes in sleeping patterns, body temperature and appetite.

As we have already discussed, drug abuse does not just affect the person using them but everyone who is related to the user in one way or another. These can be children, babies, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, other family members or friends. People from any background, economic status, social status or age can get affected by drug abuse. Furthermore, drug abuse has been attributed as being the cause of troubled relationship, financial problems, problems at workplace or school, child neglect or abuse, driving accidents, arrests among other effects.

When a pregnant woman engages herself in drug abuse, she may cause the baby to develop health complications. Such problems and health complications for babies have been depicted among mothers who abuse alcohol and other drug. They include the baby being born small, growth problems, problems in moving, hearing and poor vision alongside eating or sleeping problem. Furthermore, when growing up, there is a possibility for the child having trouble following instructions and required to re-told several times in order to understand. Moreover, such a child will have trouble learning and concentrating in school and as such, they will require special schools and teachers. What is more, majority of children whose mothers were drug abusers have social problems and fails to get along with others. They may also go on to develop their own drug problem. Additionally, they may act out and not comprehend the impact of what they are doing, even if it is bad (NIDA, 2016).


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    • Angel Guzman profile image

      Angel Guzman 7 months ago from Joliet, Illinois

      Good article but I feel you should have mentioned specific drugs and their effects.