How Drug Addiction Impacts Mental Health
From the moment a person begins experimenting with drugs, various changes start to take place in their brain. Highly addictive substances like cocaine and heroin have a powerful effect on the mind, and they are capable of causing severe damage with continued use. Over time, long-term changes in the brain brought on by drug abuse may even cause certain mental health issues to develop.
Learning about the link between drug addiction and mental health is crucial to better understanding how addiction works. This can help provide the tools you need to help yourself or a loved one overcome addiction. Here is everything you need to know about drug abuse and how it can negatively impact mental health in the long run.
How Substances Alter Brain Chemistry
It’s long been known that substances have the power to alter your brain chemistry in numerous ways. The chemical compounds that are found inside drugs enter a person’s brain or bloodstream once they begin using the substance, which can lead to detrimental effects.
One of the most well-known consequences of substance abuse is a loss of impulse control. A person who has become dependent on drugs will continue to use the substance despite its consequences in their everyday life. As their craving for drugs grows stronger, they will find it increasingly difficult to stop using them, which can cause drugs to take over their lives in myriad ways.
Drugs also alter the chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters, found in the brain. The purpose of these neurotransmitters is to process, receive and send information throughout the brain. When drugs enter the body, they overwhelm the brain with an excess of chemicals. They also compromise the brain’s “reward center” by overstimulating it, causing neurons to become agitated.
These effects can confuse neurotransmitters and prevent them from doing their job correctly. By interfering with neurons’ natural processes, drugs can cause severe damage to take place in various areas of the brain.
Mental Health Effects of Substance Abuse
The effects of drugs on the brain can have notable effects on mental health. Short-term and long-term changes in the brain may lead to a number of serious mental problems and disorders, including the following:
There are also a number of psychological effects that may occur as a result of prolonged substance use. Some of these effects include irritability, mood swings, a lack of motivation, hyperactivity, agitation, fear and paranoia. These mental issues can cause a drug user to experience certain physical changes in their appearance, such as unexplained weight loss or gain, tremors, bloodshot eyes, impaired coordination and an overall deterioration in physical appearance.
While the early effects of drug abuse may not fit the criteria of a mental disorder, it’s important to be wary of any psychological changes that you notice in yourself or someone else. If left unmonitored, these mental health symptoms may begin to evolve into a full mental disorder.
Long-Term Effects of Addiction-Related Mental Health Issues
The mental health problems caused by drug addiction can wreak havoc on numerous other aspects of a person’s daily life. For example, someone who struggles with drug abuse may eventually stop showing up to work or making it to their appointments on time. This can cause them to lose their job and struggle financially.
In addition, the social consequences of drug addiction can be significant. Those who battle substance abuse might find themselves hanging out with different groups of friends or spending less time practicing their favorite hobbies. This can cause them to lose valuable friendships or romantic relationships.
Substance abuse is also known to put a significant amount of strain on families. Many family members unwittingly enable loved ones who abuse drugs, which can exacerbate their addiction. Many substance users also tend to hide their addiction from the people around them. This can make it challenging for their loved ones to recognize that they have a problem and to help them find treatment.
These unwanted effects of substance use can negatively impact one’s mental state. Not only can the victim of drug addiction suffer from poor mental health, but so can their friends, family members or romantic partners. It’s crucial for everyone who struggles with addiction to receive the help they need, as well as their loved ones. Addiction is not an isolated problem, and its repercussions can affect everyone involved.
Conquer Substance Abuse With Custom-Tailored Treatment
The mental health effects of drug abuse only tell a single part of the story. There are countless other short-term and long-term consequences that stem from addiction, from an increased vulnerability to disease to a failure to fulfill everyday responsibilities. No matter how addiction has affected you or a loved one, it’s never too late to get the help you need.
At Topsail Addiction Treatment, we provide PHP, IOP and OP treatment to patients struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Our custom-tailored treatment plans ensure that everyone receives the help they need to achieve a full recovery. Contact us today to learn more about the variety of treatment options that we offer.
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