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. Drug use can lead to dependence and addiction, injuries and accidents, health problems, sleep problems, and more.
Drug use affects you and those close to you. 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. 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.