Long term use and abuse of narcotics can have a number of consequences for the health and well-being of users.
Long Term Effects of Narcotics Abuse
Narcotics are fast acting medications that have strong pain relieving capabilities when taken as prescribed—unfortunately, these medications or drugs are often abused leading to an array of long-term side effects which may or may not go away when the drug use discontinues. The potential for long term effects of narcotics abuse to linger on and cause adverse complications for the user increases with the amount of drugs being used, the length of time the drug is used and various factors pertaining to the individual health of the user. Left untreated, the effects of narcotics abuse can be devastating.
According to Healthline, long term abuse of narcotics can lead to tolerance which will result in the user having trouble achieving a satisfactory high because their body is accustomed to the use of the drug. This can lead to excessive or habitual use which often results in serious consequences such as overdose or even death. The physical side effects of narcotics abuse are generally more significant than the psychological effects but both wreak equal havoc and pain on the user.
Physically, narcotics abuse can result in weakened immune system, increased blood pressure, heightened stress levels and slowed metabolism. Over time, these effects can impact the body in a number of adverse ways leading to lack of function in the endocrine system, slowed cell growth, inability to heal from injury or illness and increased instances of illness.
Long term side effects of narcotics vary depending on the type of drug used, the amount of drug abuse that takes place, the length of time the drug is abused and various elements specific to the individual characteristics of the user. Deterioration of the brain and overall deterioration of the body are both possible with narcotics abuse—especially if it is left untreated for a long period of time.
The mind is a delicate element of the human body that can easily be thrown off and upset. Narcotics abuse can lead to intense cravings that make even the most determined efforts to quit in vein. Psychologically, use of narcotics can lead to long term consequences that do not dissipate or go away on their own, even when drug use is discontinued.
Narcotics abuse can and often does lead to the following long term psychological side effects:
- Depression. The depression and sadness often begins when the user wants to quit using drugs and despite his or her good intentions fails. Such depression can continue even after the drug use stops as the user is faced with the unsettling shame and pain of coping with the tragedies and problems caused by the addiction. The cycle is vicious and unsettling even to the strong willed or strong minded.
- Anxiety. The anxiety often sets in when narcotics are being abused—the user will feel anxious about finding his next dose, anxious about using drugs and anxious about the consequences that result from the drug use. When narcotics abuse stops, the user will still feel anxious—this time the anxiety is related to the lack of drugs, the coping with problems in a sober way, dealing with relationships and responsibilities and living a clean and sober lifestyle.