Negative Effects Of Illicit Drugs On Healthy Mind

Dr. Purushothaman
September 18, 2013

Illicit drugs, when abused either for short-term or long-term, can cause irrevocable effects on your health, particularly on your mental health. In few cases, they may also lead to fatalities. Hence, these are banned from being cultivated, marketed and abused in the society.

In this article, we will look at few reasons why people fall prey to drugs and what are the short-term and long-term negative effects of these drugs on mind.

Why do people fall prey to drugs?

There are more than one reason why people fall prey to drugs. While few are related to environmental and psychological conditions of individuals, the others are related to the inherent addictive characteristics of the drug itself.

•Experimenting/recreation – Experimenting is the most common reason why people get started with drugs. Drugs are often used for recreation to get a sense of well-being/high.

•Enhance functionality - Certain professionals involved in physical activities, like sports are likely to take drugs because they are said to increase physical strength. Steroids and amphetamines are examples of this group.

•Stress - Battered by stressful situations including drug abuse, work pressure, academic failure, or issues in relationship, people take drugs. Also, people suffering from depression are more likely to take drugs to apparently escape from the situations.

•Peer pressure - Peer pressure is another important factor. A person of any age/gender can confront peer pressure in various situations.

•Accessibility - Further, easy accessibility is also a critical factor. This is because, once an individual decides to use drugs be for experimenting, recreation, or any other factor, unless the drug is available easily he may not be inclined to take drugs.

•Genealogy – Few studies have suggested that genetic causes may also be responsible to create a feeling of compulsive inclination to drugs in humans.

Some drugs like heroine cause addiction even with a single intake. Further, prescription drugs also lead to addiction as they are taken continuously for quite some time.

How drugs impact your brain?

The effects of almost all illicit drugs are psychotropic - they affect you by influencing your mental condition. The drugs alter your mood by affecting the physiology of your brain. They disturb the normal response of the brain. As brain is the vital organ that directs all the other organs in the body, the normal functions of different organs in the body also get affected.

Further, the effects of illicit drugs also depend on the type of drugs abused - stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens.

•Examples of stimulants include methamphetamine, ephedrine, and MDMA. These drugs increase temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. They give a feeling of being more aware and alert.

•Depressants, as the name suggests, depress reactions in your brain. Opiates, cannabis and barbiturates belong to this group.

•Hallucinogens cause the feeling of surrealism in the abusers. LSD is an example of this group.

The effects of drugs also vary depending on how frequently one uses them. Frequent use makes the person get addicted to drugs, thereby, aggravating its ill-effects. Thus, there are distinct short-term and long-term negative effects of drug. Let us discuss each.

Short-term negative effects:

The vital organ affected by drug abuse is the brain. Though the long-term effects are more complex and deteriorating, short-term effects too are dangerous, as they are the ones which transform into long-term effects on continuous abuse.

The abuser suffers from severe mood fluctuations. He feels energetic, depressed, tired, sad, irritable, delusive, impulsive, etc., all which are the symptoms of mood disorder. In some cases, the abuser may also suffer from hallucination, in which he loses the sense of reality. The occurrence of this symptom could indicate the increasing severity of negative effects.

Long-term negative effects:

Repeated use of psychotropic drugs, leads to drug dependency in humans. At this stage, the abuser is at high risk, as the intake or withdrawal of drugs - both cause worsening of physical and mental conditions. Here are few long-term negative effects caused by different groups of drugs.

•Hallucinogens like LSD causes acute flashback. They can also cause exaggerated fear.

•Drugs like cannabis cause acute schizophrenia in the long run. It leads to loss of memory, loss of problem solving ability, judgment, and inability to cope up with emotions.

•Cocaine causes severe mental illness (depression) in the long-term. Some drugs like ketamine cause severe loss of memory and ability to concentrate.

•Drugs like steroids cause acute dependence on the drug.

•Valium causes severe addiction along with insomnia and anxiety.

•Inhalants too lead to severe toxic effect on the brain resulting in damage, loss of ability to judge, difficulty in controlling emotions.

Owing to these negative consequences, it is essential for every individual to stay away from illicit drugs.


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