The Consequences of Addiction: What You Need to Know

Addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the world. It is a chronic condition that can cause physical, psychological, and social harm. Drugs can be taken in various ways, such as injection, inhalation, and ingestion. The effects of the drug on the body depend on how it 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 by causing 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. 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 to flood the brain. This dopamine flood is what causes a “high” and 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. Long-term physical effects of addiction include damage to major organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain. Alcohol for example can cause symptoms that resemble dementia. Drugs can affect regions of the brain that control impulses, pleasure seeking, and other cognitive functions necessary for daily life. Drug use affects not only those suffering from addiction but also those close to them. Drug abuse also plays a role in many important social problems such as drugged driving, violence, stress, and child abuse.

Drug abuse can lead to homelessness, crime and lack of work or problems maintaining a job. It harms unborn babies and destroys families. There are different types of treatment for drug abuse but it's best to prevent drug abuse in the first place.