What are the main effects of addiction?

There are several ways a person can take drugs, such as injection, inhalation, and ingestion. The effects of the medication on the body may depend on how the medication is administered. For example, injecting drugs directly into the bloodstream has an immediate impact, while ingestion has a delayed effect. But all misused drugs affect the brain.

They cause 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, drugs can change the way the brain works and interfere with a person's ability to make decisions, leading to intense cravings and compulsive drug use. Over time, this behavior can develop into substance dependence or drug addiction. Today, more than 7 million people suffer from an illicit drug disorder, and one in four deaths is due to illicit drug use.

In fact, there are more deaths, illnesses and disabilities associated with drug abuse than with any other preventable health condition. People suffering from drug and alcohol addiction are also at increased risk of unintentional injuries, accidents, and incidents of domestic violence. Clinically known as substance use disorder, drug abuse or addiction is caused by regular intake of addictive substances. Drugs include alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogens, and opioids.

Substance use disorder is a disease that causes people to compulsively use drugs despite the consequences. All drugs (nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, and others) 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, which causes large amounts of dopamine, a brain chemical that helps regulate emotions and feelings of pleasure, to flood the brain.

This dopamine flood is what causes a “high. It is one of the main causes of drug addiction. Although initial drug use may be voluntary, drugs can alter brain chemistry. In fact, this can change how the brain works and interfere with a person's ability to make decisions.

It can cause intense cravings and compulsive drug use. Over time, this behavior can develop into substance dependence or addiction to drugs and alcohol. See why Newsweek magazine named us one of America's top addiction treatment centers for the second year in a row. Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and behavior.

When you're addicted to drugs, you can't resist the need to use them, no matter how much harm drugs may cause. The sooner you receive treatment for drug addiction, the more likely you are to avoid some of the more serious consequences of the disease.

Ginger Baney
Ginger Baney

Subtly charming food specialist. Extreme internet ninja. Unapologetic sushi lover. Avid coffee lover. Typical food buff.