Addiction doesn’t discriminate. You can be affected no matter your background or social status. If you suffer from addiction, it’s important to recognize you have a problem and get help for it as soon as possible. Addiction interferes with relationships, work performance and every aspect of your life. With prolonged use, addictive drugs will cause permanent brain damage. Some drugs may have severe adverse effects on the brain. Effects on the body and brain will depend on the type of drug, the amount of time used, potency of the drug and whether it was mixed with other substances.
Methamphetamine use has been linked to neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Other studies have shown effects of meth use on the brain to be traumatic such as what can be found when there’s a sudden blow to the head. Because meth kills brain cells at an alarming rate, the brain may never fully recover even with long-term abstinence.
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused drugs. Alcohol use has been normalized as it is a legal substance. It’s easy to obtain and that can lead to a lot of drinking for some people. People who abuse alcohol often suffer from vitamin deficiencies. Such deficiencies can cause numerous conditions including droopy eyes, confusion, paralysis of nerves surrounding the eyes, double vision, difficult walking, chronic memory problems and hallucinations. Individuals may experience difficulty in developing new memories and easily forget events that recently occurred.
Opioid abuse is a significant problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2019 almost 50,000 people died from opioid abuse. Opioids include painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet and oxycodone and are often over-prescribed which leads to opioid abuse and addiction. Heroin is also an opioid that is highly addictive. Studies have shown heroin use reduces the amount of white matter in the brain. This interferes with a person’s ability to make decisions, manage stress and regulate one’s behaviors. Prolonged use of heroin and other opioids will lead to neurological issues involving impulse control, motivation and emotional regulation. Respiratory depression is also a complication and this can reduce the amount of oxygen getting to the brain. This will cause irreversible brain damage over time.
Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that has negative effects on the brain. Leading causes of death among cocaine users are seizures and cardiac arrest. If this drug is used over a prolonged period of time, a person can develop psychosis such as paranoia. Such symptoms will worsen over time.
Inhalants are easy to obtain as they are often common household products used for cleaning and other household purposes. Huffing inhalants can have a variety of adverse effects including seizures, coma and even death. Inhalants can cause nerve damage, numbness, tremors, dizziness, speech impairment, coordination difficulties, depression and weakness.
Although the brain is amazingly resilient, brain damage caused by prolonged drug use may be permanent. The good news is that it’s never to late to stop abusing drugs and get help. You can expect some positive effects of discontinuing the drugs. Take the first step today towards sobriety. Reach out to the medical professionals at Baystate Recovery Center. We are here to help you.
Baystate Recovery Center, a clinically Infused 12-Step Treatment Center for Drug and Alcohol Addiction, was founded by two partners in addiction treatment services, John Checchi and Michael Wilson.