Damage to the Body from Drug Abuse

The high that comes from drugs and alcohol can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. However, the harm of drugs can cause damage to the body that will last for many years. In fact, some of the damage can become permanent. The three main categories of drugs - stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens, all affect the body in different ways and leave behind different kinds of scars.

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Stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine make users feel awake and energetic.

They work by increasing certain pleasure chemicals in the brain and speeding up certain processes in the central nervous system. These changes ask the body to use a lot of energy, and as a result, the harm of drugs from stimulant use is that they can wear the body down in several different ways.


Repeated stimulant use can wreak havoc on a person’s metabolism. Stimulants can speed up metabolism in the short term, leading to permanent health problems from malnutrition. These drugs can also cause brain, heart, and blood pressure problems that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.


Stimulant use, especially methamphetamine use, can cause changes in physical appearance as well. Meth users may develop scars from picking at the skin. Meth use also dries the mouth, leading to rotting and missing teeth.


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Depressant drugs such as alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines work by slowing down the central nervous system.


In the short term, depressants can cause a release of inhibitions, relaxation, euphoria, and sleep. In the long term, however, the misuse of depressants can cause permanent bodily harm. Alcohol abuse in particular can cause health problems.


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Alcohol metabolizes in the liver, so overuse of alcohol can put a lot of stress on this organ. As a result, alcohol users risk liver disease, cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis. Liver damage, in turn, affects the entire body. The liver acts as a filter for the body, flushing out harmful substances. When the liver can’t properly do its job, toxins build up in the body, causing long term health problems.

15.1 million adults in the US have an alcohol use disorder.

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All depressant drugs, including alcohol, can cause dangerous drops in blood pressure. Depressant use can disrupt sleep patterns, causing a dependence and resulting in insomnia when users attempt to stop taking the drugs. Depressants can also slow down a person’s breathing rate to dangerous levels. Some people stop breathing long enough to cause brain damage or die.


Hallucinogens cause, as the name suggests, hallucinations and out of body experiences.


Most of the permanent damage that these drugs cause exists in the brain as opposed to other organs in the body. These changes can result in permanent psychosis, including hallucinations that may last for a lifetime.


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Method of Intake

Some bodily changes happen not because of the type of drug but because of the method that people use to consume it.


People can take drugs in several different ways. The primary methods of intake are:


  • Pills or tablets
  • Snorting
  • Smoking
  • Injection

The latter three methods have a lot of popularity because they cause quick, strong highs compared to taking pills. However, these methods cause more physical damage than pills cause.


  • Snorting results in nasal and sinus problems. These include nasal lining damage, nose bleeds, and loss of the sense of smell.
  • Smoking causes respiratory issues, including a persistent cough, lung disease, chest pain, and cancer.
  • Injection causes vein and arterial problems, including collapsed veins, bruising, and scarring. Injection also carries a high risk for contracting HIV and other viruses.

Getting Treatment

The best way to avoid experiencing permanent damage from drug use is to stop using drugs. Of course, a substance use disorder is a legitimate, gripping mental health issue, and these drugs are extremely addictive. Quitting is much easier said than done. To break the grip of drug addiction, a treatment plan is necessary.


Many of these drugs require medical detox, or ridding the body of the substances under medical supervision. Inpatient and outpatient rehab provide various therapies that foster recovery. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients reframe harmful thoughts, and support groups can provide a sense of community during recovery.



The good news is that help is just a phone call away. The harm of drugs can be stopped before it is permanent. There are many good rehab centers in Pennsylvania, Florida, and all other states is America. Give us a call and we will answer all your questions. Our compassionate counselors provide around the clock assistance.

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The bodily harm of drugs can be devastating. Get help now before it is too late. To overcome a drug or alcohol addiction, you don’t have to work through this problem by yourself. Rehab Info is here to provide information and support. We’ll take some time to understand your situation, and then we’ll counsel you about your treatment options.

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