The Devastating Effects of Addiction

Addiction is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by compulsive drug use despite the negative consequences, and it can cause significant physical and mental health problems. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may experience changes in appetite, movement, speech, mood, and cognitive function. In the long-term, addiction can lead to organ damage, cognitive impairment, memory loss, overdose, and even death.

Drugs can have an immediate or delayed effect on the body depending on how they are administered. Injecting drugs directly into the bloodstream has an immediate impact, while ingestion has a delayed effect. However, all drugs that are misused affect the brain by causing large amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our emotions, motivation and feelings of pleasure, to flood the brain and produce a “high”. Over time, this can lead to substance dependence or drug addiction.

Drug abuse can also cause serious physical harm. Imaging tomography, chest x-rays, and blood tests can show the harmful effects of long-term drug use throughout the body. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are also at greater risk of suffering unintentional injuries, accidents, and incidents of domestic violence. Clinically known as substance use disorder, drug abuse or addiction is caused by the regular intake of addictive substances such as alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogens, and opioids.

Substance use disorder is a disease that causes people to use drugs compulsively despite the consequences. All drugs affect the brain's “reward circuit” which is part of the limbic system. This area of the brain affects instinct and mood. Drugs attack this system, causing large amounts of dopamine to flood the brain.Drug addiction can also cause withdrawal symptoms that include many physical effects such as tremors, sweating, or nausea.

It is important to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction. See why Newsweek named us one of the top addiction treatment centers in the United States for the second year in a row.