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Diseases, Side Effects, & More: The Health Complications of Addiction


The usual pathway to addiction may sound familiar: After trying a drug once or twice, some people continue to use it. Over time, a dependency is developed and the person may go on to use other drugs as well. This may seem like a simple progression, but it is often variable as well. What some people don't know about addiction is that there’s more to it than what you see on the surface. The health complications of addiction run deep; they affect every aspect of your life and can even be fatal if left untreated.

Complications related to length and frequency of use

Addiction changes the brain in ways that make quitting difficult, if not impossible. Over time, a person can become so used to being high that their brain will work against them. Memory loss, depression, and anxiety are just a few of the health complications related to addiction's effect on your mind.

Immediate health risks

Immediate risks are those that appear immediately after taking a drug. Some of the immediate risks of substance use are minuscule (such as drowsiness or the inability to focus) and withdrawals from psychosocial dependence. Far more serious ones include behavioral changes, loss of consciousness, psychosis, stroke, heart attack, and death.

While many of the more serious symptoms are unlikely to happen on the first use (or even the first several), they pose an increased risk over time as the body will need more and more of the substance to feel intoxicated. It is also worth noting that these immediate risks are amplified if your mental state is altered in dangerous situations like driving a car.

Long-term health risks

When using substances long-term, the potential health complications of addiction are numerous and include diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis. These diseases are often contracted as a result of using needles to inject drugs or sharing other drug paraphernalia. Additionally, those with addictions are also more likely to experience chronic mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Long-term substance use also causes your body to degenerate more quickly, leaving you vulnerable to other conditions like chronic arthritis, congestive heart failure, asthma, strokes, and hypertension. What this means is that prolonged drug use almost always results in premature death when compared to those without a substance abuse disorder.

It also dramatically increases your risk for STDs. For example, HIV infection is commonly contracted as a result of injecting drugs. Sharing needles isn't the only way to spread STDs through drug use, though. Cocaine, MDMA, ecstasy, alcohol, and methamphetamine are all linked to increased STD transmission as well.

Complications related to lifestyle

In addition to the health complications of addiction that are caused by the substance itself, using drugs often has a negative impact on someone's lifestyle. It can be difficult to keep up healthy habits when caught in the grips of drug-seeking behavior, which often leads to problems like malnutrition, weight loss or gain, and poor hygiene.

All of these complications take their toll on your body and mind, making it much more difficult to quit. It's important to remember that addiction is a disease, and like any other disease, it requires treatment in order to overcome it.

While it is possible to successfully treat drug addiction, it is not uncommon for substance abuse to go untreated for years. If you are battling with a substance abuse disorder, don't risk long-term complications. Search for drug rehab near me today.


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