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Long-Term Effects of Drug Addiction

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    October 29, 2021
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There are many different effects of drug abuse, both physically and mentally. No matter the drug, long term-use can cause life-threatening and body damaging effects. However, when a person is deep in a drug addiction, their health and well-being is not their priority; finding their next fix is. Drug Addiction Treatment Centers, such as Lion Recovery, can help you understand What Are the Long Term Effects of Drugs and recover from a short or long-term addiction.   Drug addiction rehab centers help to educate individuals and family members on different topics such as:  
  • How drug addiction starts 
  • Signs of drug addiction  
  • Different effects of drug abuse 
  • What are the Long-term Effects of Drugs
 Long term drug use can cause following damages: 
  1.  Psychological Effects: Kidney Damage, liver damage, cardiovascular system damage, respiratory system damage, and intestinal damage 
  2. Effects on Physical Health: Depression, brain structure damage, memory loss, and paranoia 
 Lion Recovery is here to help individuals recover from their addiction and start living a healthier life of their choosing.  

How Does Drug Addiction Start 

We all know that addiction leads you down a dark path of behaving in ways you may not have without the drugs. But no one chooses to become an addict. We do not wake up one day and decide we want to be addicted to cocaine or meth. So how does drug addiction start for an individual? If only the answer were simple.   One common reason people often become addicted to drugs is this feeling of pressure from others. For instance, feeling you need to fit in or use the drug because some of your friends are. Except maybe those friends using it, only use it while at parties because of the extra dopamine or “feel good hormone” being released and meanwhile you are now needing that feeling and the drugs to feel normal on just your average day. What was once just a party drug for you, has now become an essential part of your life.    Some other risk factors for starting an addiction include:  
  • Genetics/hereditary link to addiction  
  • Exposure to drugs 
  • Family history of addiction or mental health 
  • Mental health issues 
  • High stress lifestyle 
We use drugs because of the feeling they give us, of excitement, maybe pain relief, or as a way to “escape the world.” The feelings of drug use however, are only temporary, while the consequences can be forever.  

What are the Long Term Effects on Drug Addiction? 

Long term drug abuse affects all parts of the human body and can lead to life-long disabilities and struggles. Drug use can cause physical health concerns such as kidney or liver damage, as well as psychological problems like increased anxiety or depression.   Drug addiction can also cause problems with relationships, professional work or career goals, finances and can lead a person to get in trouble with the law. When someone is addicted to drugs, their drug of choice is the most important part of their life which often causes many broken and damaged relationships, lost jobs, DUI’s, misdemeanors or felonies, etc.    Effects on Physical Health  Using drugs can take a major toll on a person’s physical health. For instance, using drugs, especially for a long period of time, weakens the immune system, leading addicts to be far more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Different drugs also cause increased or slowed heart rate, which can result in heart conditions such as heart attacks or heart failure. With drug use, often comes changes in appetite which results in weight loss. If you have known a drug addict, then you have probably seen them lose weight very rapidly.   Our bodies need nutrients and exercise and chances are, if you are addicted to drugs of any sort, you are not taking care of your body the way it needs.    Effects of Drug Addiction

Kidney Damage 

Many drugs can have damaging effects on the kidneys, which are vital parts of our organ system. Drugs like heroin, MDMA, different steroids, and tobacco can harm and damage this organ. Drugs dehydrate the human body which can cause kidney damage. In the most severe situations, long term drug use can cause kidney failure.   

Liver Damage 

Damage to the liver is also an effect from long term drug use. Alcohol is the most commonly known drug that will cause major damage to the liver, but drugs like heroin, inhalants, or steroids can also cause the liver to be harmed and sometimes fail.    Cardiovascular System Damage  Some of the scariest and most life threatening side effects of drug abuse are damages to the cardiovascular system. Long term drug use can lead to abnormal heart rates and heart attacks, which we know can lead to death. Injecting drugs can lead to damaged and collapsed veins and heart valves. We need a healthy heart for a healthy life! 

Respiratory System Damage  

Smoking drugs of any sorts can cause lung problems which lead to respiratory system damage. Smoking tobacco, marijuana, crack cocaine, etc. can put you at higher risk of developing chronic conditions such as bronchitis or emphysema and also lung cancer. But respiratory system issues can still occur when taking drugs in other ways, such as orally or injecting, as it can cause breathing to be slowed down and worsen symptoms of asthma.   

Intestinal Damage 

Most drugs, or withdrawal from drugs can cause nausea or vomiting. Long term drug abuse can cause intestinal damage which can be hard to reverse even after seeking help from a drug addiction rehab center. Drugs are known to damage and decay inside the stomach, or the intestines. Side effects of drug abuse include changes in appetite, constipation and chronic stomach pain.  

Effects on Psychological Health 

Some of the most concerning and sometimes frightening side effects of drug abuse are changes to the psychological health of a person. When substance use and abuse become a form of coping with day to day life, there is no doubt there are some psychological issues present. Long term drug use changes the way our brains and body’s function which can cause depression, anxiety, and even more severe and mood-altering mental illness such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.   Isolation or changed behavior can be signs of drug addiction. Psychological health issues can be life-threatening, and it is crucial that if you or a loved one is showing any signs of depression, anxiety, paranoia or any other mental health concern as a result of drug use, to seek help from a drug addiction treatment center immediately. Lion Recovery is an excellent Drug Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles that can help stop your addiction before lifelong symptoms develop.   


Drugs are used as a way to uplift our moods and feel happier with our lives, so it is no surprise that unless you are feeling the drugs, depression starts to kick in. Long term drug use typically leads to broken and damaged relationships, financial struggles, lack of sufficient income, etc. and the main purpose of life for a drug addict is getting more drugs to make them feel better. But untreated chronic depression of a drug addict can lead to suicide.   Addiction is a dark place to be in and it is easy to feel isolated and helpless. But drug addiction recovery can help you find joy in your life again with a sober, clear mind.  

Memory Damage 

Drugs alter the way our brains function and long term drug use can cause memory damage, as well as issues with concentrating and retaining new information. Problems with memory can be even more concerning when a mental illness is also present. Drugs change the way we act and behave and while we may not fully remember what happened while under the influence, memory damage from drug use can last a lifetime, and have a massive effect on a person’s life.   


Many people are unaware of the seriousness paranoia can cause on a person’s well-being after long term drug use. Paranoia is a symptom of personality and psychotic disorders such as psychosis but can also be a symptom of dementia caused by drug use. Paranoia can cause a person to self-isolate, be distrusting of everyone around and lead them into a depressive state. Seeking help for the drug addiction can help prevent substance induced disorders leading to paranoia.  

Brain Structure 

Long term drug use can cause permanent damage to the brain and change the way we think and behave. They affect the parts of the brain that are needed for basic and essential activities such as driving a car or cooking a meal. The most concerning part of the brain that becomes affected after long term drug use is the basal ganglia, which makes us feel pleasure. When we use drugs for long periods of time, our basal ganglia will have a tough time feeling pleasure from anything besides the drug.   Other parts of our brain become affected from long term drug use and can cause increased anxiety in social settings, and cause issues in decision making or problem solving. The brain is an incredibly smart organ but drugs can cause life long damages if used for long periods of time.  

Can Addiction Cause Permanent Damage to the Body? 

Addiction is a very serious disease and typically requires medical and mental health professional treatment. If drugs are used for long periods of time, they can cause permanent damages to many parts of the body. So, is addiction a disability? It can certainly lead to one.  Drug abuse causes both physical and mental health problems and alters the way our brains work, and sometimes these consequences cannot be reversed. Heart, liver, or kidney failure are all permanent conditions that can be caused by drug abuse. Seek help from a drug addiction rehab center before it is too late.   

How to Overcome from Addiction? 

overcoming addiction The first step to overcome an addiction is to acknowledge the fact that you have an addiction. Asking for help can feel scary and vulnerable but speaking to a trusted friend or a crisis hotline is the next step to seeking recovery. Drug addiction treatment centers will provide you with all the support needed to understand your addiction and help you recover from the disease, in hopes of learning to live a happy, sober life.  

Why Choose Lion Recovery?  

Lion Recovery is a Drug Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California and provides medical detox and interventions, and relapse prevention. Lion Recovery is staffed with several mental health and medical professionals that provide education and support throughout the entire recovery journey. Lion Recovery understands the struggles that come with breaking free from an addiction, and wants you to know you are not alone on your journey.   If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, contact Lion Recovery (888-616-3179) today to start living a drug-free life.