How do drugs affect the body systems depends on each system and each drug. The effects associated with drugs can vary from person to person. How a drug affects an individual is dependent on a variety of factors including body size, general health, the amount and strength of the drug, and whether any other drugs are in the system at the same time. It is important to remember that illegal drugs are not controlled substances, and therefore the quality and strength may differ from one batch to another.
Drugs can have short-term and long-term effects. These effects can be physical and psychological and can include dependency and addiction. You may act differently, feel differently, and think differently if you have taken drugs. And you may struggle to control your actions and thoughts.
You might begin to use drugs without thinking about any harm to your body. You might think drugs won’t become a problem because you are only a casual user. The more you take a drug, the more likely you will build up a tolerance to its effects. This can lead to the need to take larger doses to obtain the effects of the drug. For this reason, evidence suggests that after prolonged use, many drugs can cause dependence.
Drug dependence can quickly begin to affect your psychological and physical health and affect your work and social life. It is important to remember that there is no safe level of drug use. Be careful when taking any kind of drug.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Different drugs, different effects
Drugs affect your body’s central nervous system. They affect how you think, feel, and behave. The three main types are depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants:
- Depressants slow or ‘depress’ the function of the central nervous system. They slow the messages going to and from your brain. In small quantities depressants can cause a person to feel relaxed and less inhibited. In large amounts they may cause vomiting, unconsciousness and death. Depressants affect your concentration and coordination, and slow your ability to respond to situations. It is important to not operate heavy machinery while taking depressants. Alcohol, cannabis, GHB, opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine) and benzodiazepines (minor tranquillisers) are examples of depressants.
- Hallucinogens distort your sense of reality. You may see or hear things that are not really there, or see things in a distorted way. Other effects can include emotional and psychological euphoria, jaw clenching, panic, paranoia, gastric upset and nausea. Ketamine, LSD, PCP, ‘magic mushrooms’ and cannabis are examples of hallucinogens.
- Stimulants speed or ‘stimulate’ the central nervous system. They speed up messaging to and from the brain, making you feel more alert and confident. This can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, reduced appetite, agitation and sleeplessness. In large amounts stimulants may cause anxiety, panic, seizures, stomach cramps and paranoia. Caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines (speed and Ice), cocaine and ecstasy (MDMA) are examples of stimulants.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Risk factors for drug-related harm
The effects of a drug, and how long they last, depend on a number of factors
- How you ingest the drug (by inhalation, by injection or orally). Compared with swallowing a drug, inhalation and injection are more likely to lead to overdose and dependence. If you are injecting drugs, sharing injecting equipment will increase your risk of contracting serious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. It will also increase your risk of serious infection
- Your mental health, mood and environment (that is, whether you are in a secure, happy place or an unsafe place) can affect the experience you have when taking drugs. If you have a mental health condition, drugs may exacerbate or complicate the symptoms of that condition
- Whether you mix drugs, including alcohol. In particular, alcohol use may lead to high risk behaviour (such as drink driving) which can result in the serious injury or death of yourself or others.
- The type and strength of drugs that you use
- How the drug was made — substances manufactured in home labs may contain bacteria, dangerous chemicals and other unsafe substances, and have an unknown strength. Even one dose may cause an overdose that leads to brain damage or death
- Your physical characteristics (including height, weight, age, body fat and metabolism)
- The dose that you take
- How often and for how long you have been using drugs
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Physical harms from drug use
Drug use can affect short- and long-term health outcomes. Some of these health outcomes can be serious, and possibly irreversible. Drug use can lead to risky or out-of-character behavior. When affected by drugs:
- You are more likely to have an accident (at home, in a car, or wherever you are).
- You may be vulnerable to sexual assault or you may engage in unprotected sex. Either of these could lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection.
- You could commit a sexual assault or other violent act.
- You may find it hard to sleep, think, reason, remember and solve problems.
Drug use can also result in long-term health outcomes
- Harm to organs and systems in your body, such as your throat, stomach, lungs, liver, pancreas, heart, brain, nervous system
- Cancer (such as lung cancer from inhaling drugs)
- Infectious disease, from shared injecting equipment and increased incidence of risk-taking behaviors
- Harm to your baby, if you are pregnant
- Acne, or skin lesions if the drug you are taking causes you to pick or scratch at your skin
- Needle marks and collapsed veins, if you inject regularly
- Male pattern hair growth in women, such as facial hair
- Jaw and teeth issues due to clenching and grinding your teeth; or bad breath, teeth cavities and gum disease
- Mood swings and erratic behavior
- Psychosis (losing touch with reality)
- Aaccidental overdose
- Higher risk of mental illness, depression, suicide and death.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Effects of common drugs
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Cannabis
- Is linked to mental health problems such as schizophrenia and, when smoked, to lung diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and lung, throat, mouth and tongue cancer
- Affects how your brain works. Regular use can make it hard for you to concentrate, learn and retain information
- Reduces your fertility
- When mixed with tobacco, is likely to increase the risk of heart disease and lung cancer.
- May cause relaxation and altered perception
- Can lead to increased heart rate and low blood pressure
- Can make you feel relaxed and happy, but can also cause lethargy, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis in extreme cases. A history or family history of mental illness may increase the possibility of more extreme psychotic reactions
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Cocaine
- Gives you increased energy
- Makes you feel happy, awake, confident and less inhibited, but has a nasty ‘come down’ that makes you feel depressed and unwell. (Using depressant drugs to help with the severity of come downs can increase the chances of the development of negative cycles of dependence.)
- Can overstimulate the heart and nervous system and lead to a seizure, brain haemorrhage, stroke or heart attack (people have died from cocaine-induced heart failure)
- Reduces your pain perception and may result in injury
- Carries greater risk if mixed with alcohol or other stimulants, especially if you have high blood pressure or if you have an existing heart condition
- Can harm your baby during pregnancy, and may cause miscarriage
- Can increase the risk of mental health issues such a s anxiety, paranoia and psychosis
- If snorted, can cause damage to the lining of the nasal passage and nose
- If injected, can cause vein collapse and increased risk of HIV and hepatitis infection.
- Can lead to fits and agitated and hallucinatory states
- If used in large amounts, can cause tingling of the hands and feet, seizure and respiratory failure
- Has been linked to a number of deaths
- If injected, can cause vein collapse and increases the risk of HIV and hepatitis infection.
- Can induce feelings of happiness, euphoria and confidence, but can also cause anxiety and paranoia
- Causes vomiting, sweating and headaches in some users
- Can overstimulate your heart and nervous system
- Can cause periods of insomnia
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Ecstasy (MDMA)
- Is linked (in cases of long-term use) to memory loss, depression and anxiety
- Can lead to overheating and dehydration
- Tends to stop your body producing enough urine, so your body retains fluid.
- Can make you feel alert, warm and chatty
- Can make sounds and colours seem more intense
- May cause anxiety, confusion, paranoia and even psychosis
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Speed
- Can make you feel alert, confident and energetic
- Can reduce appetite
- May make you agitated and aggressive
- May cause confusion, paranoia and even psychosis
- Can make you very depressed and lethargic for hours or days, when used a lot
- Can cause high blood pressure and heart attacks
- Is more risky if mixed with alcohol, or if you have blood pressure or heart problems
- Puts you at risk of overdose, vein and tissue damage, and infectious disease (such as hepatitis C and HIV), if you inject speed.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Ice (crystal meth)
- Can cause excessive sweat
- Can increase your heart rate and breathing
- May reduce your appetite
- May increase your sex drive
- Puts you at risk of infectious diseases (such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV) if you inject it
- Can damage your nasal passages and cause nose bleeds if you snort it.
- May create feelings of pleasure and confidence
- Can make you feel alert and energetic
- Can cause you to repeat simple things like itching and scratching
- Can cause enlarged or dilated pupils and a dry mouth
- May make you grind your teeth
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Effects of a ‘come down’
A ‘come down’ is your body’s reaction to the substances that you have taken, after the initial reaction. In other words, it is the after effect. How long it lasts, and how bad it is, depends on the type of drug (stimulant or depressant) and your age, sex and tolerance. Common after effects are flatness, depression and exhaustion. Or you may feel:
- Sshaky, dizzy, sweaty
- Not hungry
- Sleepy or unable to sleep.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? General Signs of Drug Addiction
If a person is abusing any drug, there are some general signs to look for. These include:
- Difficulties at school, disinterest in school-related activities, and declining grades
- Poor work performance, being chronically late to work, appearing tired and disinterested in work duties, and receiving poor performance reviews
- Changes in physical appearance, such as wearing inappropriate or dirty clothing and a lack of interest in grooming
- Altered behavior, such as an increased desire for privacy
- Drastic changes in relationships
- A noticeable lack of energy when performing daily activities
- Spending more money than usual or requesting to borrow money
- Issues with financial management, such as not paying bills on time
- Changes in appetite, such as a decreased appetite and associated weight loss
- Bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, and appearing tired or run down
- Defensiveness when asked about substance use
If you or your loved one are exhibiting signs of addiction but you don’t know where to turn, We Level Up California can help. Our fully licensed team of medical providers and network of credentialed treatment facilities have helped thousands of people get back on their feet and lead a life in recovery. We offer best-in-class care for substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders, treating the whole patient and setting them up for a lifetime of success. Take the next step by contacting us today.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapies For Drug Addiction & Programs
Therapy for drug addiction commonly consists of a combination of group and individual therapy sessions that focus on teaching those in recovery the skills needed to get and stay sober as well as how to navigate various situations without turning to drugs or alcohol.
However, it is necessary to note that there’s not a generic therapy that is the ‘best’ for everyone. Every person suffering from substance abuse disorder needs to find the Best Therapy For Drug Addiction that suits their own individual needs.
Under the authority of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Behavioral treatment is perhaps the most commonly utilized type of therapy for drug addiction that is frequently used during substance rehabilitation. Behavioral approaches help engage people in drug abuse treatment, provide incentives for them to remain abstinent, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase their life skills to handle stressful circumstances and environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and prompt another cycle of compulsive abuse.
A general behavioral therapeutic approach has been adapted into a variety of effective techniques. These include:
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapy For Drug Addiction: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT can be applied as therapy for drug addiction in many different types of problematic substance use. People treated with CBT techniques learn to recognize and change their maladaptive behaviors. CBT can help people with coping skills, identifying risky situations and what to do about them, and preventing relapse. This approach is helpful because it can be paired with other techniques. The skills learned through CBT continue to be of benefit long after the initial therapy, and it can be used to treat co-occurring mental or physical health disorders as well.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapy For Drug Addiction: Contingency Management (CM)
CM may also be effective in treating several types of substance use disorder—for example, alcohol, opioids, marijuana, and stimulants—and is used to encourage or reinforce sobriety. This drug addiction treatment method provides material rewards as motivation for desirable behaviors, such as maintaining sobriety. A major benefit of CM is that it can result in a reduction in the two of the biggest treatment-related issues: dropping out and relapse.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapy For Drug Addiction: Motivational Interviewing (MI)
MI is a drug addiction treatment method of resolving ambivalence in recovering individuals to allow them to embrace their treatment efforts to best change their problematic substance use behavior. One benefit of MI is that, despite being facilitated by a therapist, those in recovery develop their own motivation and a plan for change over the course of several sessions, which can provide them with more of a sense of control over the course of their treatment.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapy For Drug Addiction: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT can be adapted for many substance abuse cases, but mainly focuses on treating severe personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder. DBT works to reduce cravings, help patients avoid situations or opportunities to relapse, assist in giving up actions that reinforce substance use, and learn healthy coping skills.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapy For Drug Addiction: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT helps patients understand their own thoughts and then helps to develop better habits and thinking in more positive and rational ways and gain healthier emotions. The basis for REBT is the idea that rational thinking comes from within; external situations are not what give one the feeling of happiness or unhappiness.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapy For Drug Addiction: Matrix Model
The Matrix Model employs a combination of various therapeutic techniques and was originally developed for the treatment of individuals with stimulant addictions. Against this backdrop of various techniques, therapists focus on rewarding good behaviors and teaching patients to believe in themselves; self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes the Matrix Model as mostly focused on “relapse prevention, family and group therapies, drug education, and self-help participation”.
How Do Drugs Affect The Body Systems? Therapy For Drug Addiction: 12-Step Facilitation
12-Step facilitation therapy aims to promote continued abstinence by engaging people in recovery with 12-Step peer support groups. Meetings are hosted by several different 12-Step fellowships varieties, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
Reclaim your life from substance abuse
Substance Abuse Disorder is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up California can provide you, or someone you love, the Best Therapy For Drug Addiction in a professional and safe way. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors, we can inform you about how do drugs affect the body systems by giving you relevant information, our specialists know what you are going through. Have in mind that each call is private and confidential.
 Drug facts, Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
 Better Health – How drugs affect your body
 www.drugabuse.gov – Health Consequences of Drug Misuse
 Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction – National Institute on Drug Abuse (Drugabuse.gov)
 Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Behavioral Therapies – National Institute on Drug Abuse (Drugabuse.gov)