Drug addiction leads to a host of diseases – particularly chronic conditions that affect the body’s vital organs. However, drug addiction can also increase the risk of certain cancers, strokes or heart attacks. Though some physical conditions associated with drug addiction may be treatable but incurable, vast majority of physical damage incurred by drug-addicted individuals can be healed during the drug rehabilitation process.
Diseases and Conditions
Below, you’ll find an overview of some of the most serious conditions and diseases initiated by drug addiction. While not every drug-addicted individual experiences such conditions, chronic drug use will increase the risk of development of serious disease and chronic adverse physical conditions.
Damage from Marijuana Addiction
Marijuana can cause a host of lung problems, particularly chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Marijuana has also been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Depression and amotivational syndrome can also be counted among the damaging effects of smoking the drug.
Diseases and Conditions Arising from Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction can cause chronic pulmonary conditions that increase the risk of heart attack. Heart disease in itself is common to chronic cocaine users, due to the overexertion of the heart as a result of the drug’s stimulant effects. Cocaine users also experience perforated or deviated septums, strokes and heart attacks (the latter two conditions a result of exceeding high blood pressure and tachycardia overtaxing the heart). Additionally, cocaine can also lead to a heightened risk for cancer and associations have been made between the drug and lung cancer, particularly in freebasing users.
Conditions Associated with Benzodiazepine Addiction
Benzodiazepines — also known as “benzos” — are sedating drugs given mainly for anxiolytic purposes. Chronic users of benzodiazepines can experience abdominal problems and fatal blood clots. Additionally, the reproductive system becomes affected by benzodiazepine addiction, and can lead to loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction and birth defects in children of addicted and pregnant mothers.
Physical and Mental Illness from Hallucinogen Addiction
Ketamine, a powerful dissociative narcotic, can also lead to physical and psychological damage after long-term use. With chronic abuse, ketamine addiction can cause a condition known as “Olney’s lesions,” where vacuoles begin to form within the brain, affecting cognition, learning and memory. Ecstasy can cause psychological conditions, such as severe depression, dissociative disorders, and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), a flashback-producing condition that also occurs with LSD use and can persist long after Ecstasy addiction subsides. PCP can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), seizures and paralysis with chronic use.
Diseases Resulting from Opiate Addiction
Opiates — a class of potent narcotics spanning from heroin, morphine and codeine to prescription painkillers — can cause a host of long-term physical diseases and conditions. Opiate users, particularly those who inject, are at high risk for hepatitis and HIV transmission from needle-sharing. Collapsed veins can also result from chronic injection of opiates. Heroin use can cause long-term digestive issues, including a form of chronic constipation that is highly dangerous while addiction persists.
Diseases Caused by Amphetamine Addiction
Amphetamines take an unimaginable toll on the body. Common conditions associated with amphetamines addiction include insomnia, anorexia and eyesight degradation. Amphetamine-addicted individuals also can experience stunted growth, hypertension, frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and hyperactivity. Amphetamines can also cause a condition known as dermotasis, the development of skin disease. Liver and heart disease are also associated with amphetamine addiction.
Conditions Caused by Meth Addiction
Methamphetamines can cause a host of physical conditions, ranging from liver damage to lung disease. Meth can irreparably damage the brain’s blood vessels, incite hypertension (high blood pressure), and create an immunocompromised state (making the body more susceptible to diseases, infections and cancers). Methamphetamine abuse can also cause heart disease, stroke occurrence, and severe depression or mania in users.
Diseases and Conditions Arising from Inhalant Abuse
Inhalant abuse — the inhalant of household and industrial chemicals colloquially known as “huffing” — can also lead to a host of chronic physical conditions. In addition to instantaneous death caused by Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, inhalant abuse can lead to tachycardia, heart disease and an array of damage to the vital organs, including diseases of the liver, kidney and lungs. Chronic bronchitis can arise from inhalant abuse, and some inhalant-addicted individuals also encounter tremors and chronic grand mal seizures.