Everyone is aware that drug addiction can lead to death. But, in many cases, death doesn’t come knocking on an addict’s door for many years. In these scenarios, people aren’t necessarily free from the dangers of drug abuse. This is because long-term drug abuse presents a number of negative effects besides just death. However, different drug addictions may bring about different long term effects. In this article, we discuss the long term effects of drug abuse and how they may differ from person to person.
The Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is legal, so it’s usually thought of as not such a big deal. However, thousands of people die from alcohol abuse and addiction every year. And, it’s third on the list of leading, preventable deaths in America. But, besides death, long term effects of alcohol can affect those addicted to alcohol. For example, it impacts the way the brain functions. And, with longterm use, can lead to issues like poor cognitive function. Plus, the development of hippocampal atrophy, which is the loss of neurons in the brain which can lead to the development of Alzheimer’s. Secondly, along with brain function, the heart can become compromised as a result of long term alcohol abuse. Alcoholics are at a higher risk for heart-related issues like arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy. Plus, can experience heart attacks and heart failure.
The Long Term Effects of Stimulant Abuse
Stimulants are substances that include cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy, and MDMA. These substances are known to affect the central nervous system. So, the work to provide short term effects that allow the user to become more alert. However, tampering with the central nervous system isn’t a necessarily healthy thing to do. And, long term users of stimulants can experience a number of long term effects as a result. For example, the long term use of amphetamines is known to reduce users’ dopamine levels. Thus, making it hard for them to experience the brain’s reward system that encourages us to do the things we need to stay alive like eat, sleep, and reproduce. Furthermore, the long term use of cocaine can lead to the development of stress-related disorders. As a result, long term abusers of cocaine can have trouble staying clean as a result of feeling they need cocaine to deal with stress and anxiety.
The Long Term Effects of MDMA
MDMA is the active ingredient in pure MDMA, ecstasy, and other street names for this substance, like “molly”. And, just like stimulants, they affect the central nervous system. Thus, altering brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine that are required for healthy brain function. With longterm use, these effects on the central nervous system can lead to a number of symptoms like:
- Sleep issues
- Mood swings
- Poor pain management
- Low sex drive
Unfortunately, the long term effects of MDMA can last because they’re due to the destruction of neurons in the brain. And, often, these neurons don’t replace themselves for up to seven years. So, these effects can last this long.
Preventing the Long Term Effects of Drug Abuse
One of the ways to protect yourself from the long term effects of drug abuse, including death, is to get treatment. Getting help for addiction can give you the tools needed to tackle sobriety. And, prevent long term effects that can debilitate your life and health.
If you’re looking for a place to support you on your road to recovery, Willow Place for Women is here to help. To learn more about our programs for women struggling with long term addiction, contact us today.