Drug addiction can result from prescription abuse or recreational use. The nature and severity of drug abuse will determine what long-term effects a user can expect, but all drug addiction will result in a gradual erosion of an individual’s physical health, emotional wellbeing and ability to maintain important relationships.
Physical Repercussions of Drug Addiction
The physical aspects of drug addiction are the most noticeable and perhaps the most dangerous. Depending upon the type of drug and dosage, one of the first warning signs that physical addiction is taking place is tolerance.
Tolerance happens when an individual takes large quantities of a controlled substance or uses a substance over a prolonged period of time. The brain begins to counteract the effects of the drug in an effort toward self-preservation. This means that the more someone uses a drug, the less effective that drug will become.
Dependency happens when a person takes more of a substance to produce the desired effect in response to tolerance. Dependency is often linked closely with addiction and can be defined as the situation in which an individual feels that they need regular doses of the drug to function normally throughout the day. The processes of tolerance and dependence significantly increase the risks of unwanted side effects and overdose. Depending on the type of substance, an overdose can usually cause permanent damage or death.
Emotional Wellbeing Is Harmed by Drug Addiction
Long-term drug use can cause a gradual erosion of an individual’s emotional health. Sometimes addictions begin in an attempt to fight feelings of loneliness and hopelessness, provide an escape or increase productivity. If left unchecked, addictions ultimately rob an individual of his or her capacity to function in daily life. This produces greater feelings of loneliness and hopelessness, creates an increased need for an escape and changes goals and desires.
Drug Addiction Harms the Ability to Maintain Important Relationships
A gradual decrease in the ability to maintain important relationships accompanies drug use and abuse. The longer an addiction to a controlled substance is allowed to continue, the tighter its hold upon an individual will become. Soon there is little room for anything else in a person’s life but getting and using more drugs. Behavioral and emotional changes related to drug use make staying close to loved ones difficult if not impossible. Friends and family want to see you well, and do not want to watch you suffer.