Long-term drug use can put a serious strain on the mind and body of the individual. It is therefore important to increase awareness and seek drug addiction help before any irreparable long-term effects have set in.

Physical Effects of long-term drug use

There are numerous health conditions that can result from drug dependency. This is how some of your major organs are affected:

  • The heart
    The heart suffers significant damage from the abuse of drugs such as cocaine and other stimulants. Individuals often experience irregular and/or increased heart rates, heart disease, and heart failure. Intravenous drug use can also lead to cardiovascular problems such as collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the heart valves and blood vessels.
  • The liver
    The liver is one of the biggest organs and it helps digest everything that is put into the body. It also has the job of filtering the blood from harmful substances. Drug use such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, therefore, puts an incredible strain on the liver, which could result in liver damage.
  • The kidneys
    Damage to the kidneys can be caused either directly or indirectly from dangerous increases in body temperature and muscle breakdown. Kidney failure is prevalent among heroin and crystal meth users.
  • The lungs
    The smoking of any drug can cause respiratory problems. The drug that comes to mind is inevitably cannabis. However, the smoking of crack cocaine and crystal meth causes severe lung damage within a short amount of time.

In addition, one of the most serious health issues that occur amongst long-term drug users is overdose. Overdose usually occurs when the individual has stopped using a particular drug for some time and then starts using it again. Although their tolerance to the drug has weakened considerably, the user is likely to consume the same dosage level that they took prior to stopping. This is incredibly dangerous and could lead to a comatose state or death.

Psychological Effects of Drug Abuse

Drug abuse may lead to a range of psychological conditions. Below are the three most common.


The use of drugs leads the individual’s body to build up a tolerance. This means that the individual will require ever-increasing amounts of the particular substance in order to get high. Soon the individual will require the drugs just to feel ‘normal.’ Unable to reach the previous state of euphoria, the individual may become depressed. Depression is also caused by the guilt and shame that is attached to the stigma of drug abuse and the actions of a person under the influence of addiction. This then leads to more drug use to suppress those feelings, continuing a vicious cycle.


Drug users often experience feelings of anxiety while waiting for their next fix. They have trouble staying focused on tasks for any significant amount of time. This may cause interference in job responsibilities as well as personal relationships.


Long-term cocaine and marijuana addiction often results in the user becoming paranoid and feeling that ‘everyone is out to get them.’ This paranoia is intensified by the fact that the user knows that drug use is illegal.

The longer an individual continues with his or her drug use, the higher the chances of developing a related health condition. It is therefore important to seek help as soon as possible.