The Psychological Impacts Of Drug Addiction

The widespread issue of drug addiction has plagued the world for so long that it’s almost impossible to backtrack where it even started. Regardless, many have found the path to recovery and managed to devote their lives to sobriety, proving that drug addiction can be overcome.

That said, when seeking recovery from substance abuse addiction, it is vital to seek professional guidance from a rehabilitation center. Because the withdrawal phase of recovery is often a high-risk situation in which the individual can experience a variety of severe health complications, some of which can even be fatal, specialized treatment is imperative to a safe recovery.

So, suppose you or a loved one wants to strive for a life of sobriety. In that case, you should find a reputable inpatient drug rehab in Oklahoma, or a rehab in West Palm Beach or your local area, to ensure recovery is not a difficult challenge.

Whether you are educating your child on drug abuse to ensure they make the right decisions when faced with social pressures or difficult emotions, it is pretty vital to discuss the long-term impacts of drug addiction. And along with the lengthy list of health complications such as heart attacks, stroke, brain damage, and even cancer, to mention a few, you should also discuss the impacts of drug abuse on psychological well-being.

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How Drug Addiction Rewires The Brain

One of the more fascinating yet devastating changes in individuals who suffer from drug addiction happens in the reward center of the individual’s brain. Dopamine is one of many hormones produced by the brain, and it is responsible for feelings of pleasure, reward, and motivation.

Unfortunately, substance abuse inevitably hijacks this pathway in the brain. For this reason, the first and most blatant signs of addiction are a drastic change in priorities and general mood.

What’s more, because addiction leads the user to need larger and larger doses of a substance as tolerance builds up, the damage to the reward center enhances dramatically over time. The result of the changes to the brain is responsible for several psychological impacts.


One of the most common mental impacts of drug abuse is anxiety. Anxiety symptoms include insomnia, tension, mood changes, impending sense of doom, sweating, increased heart rate, and excessive worry.

There are several similarities in various drugs and anxiety; cocaine and methamphetamine are the more commonly used drugs that can lead to the development of anxiety disorders due to the stress on the nervous system.

Moreover, addiction also causes anxiety in other ways; hiding an addiction, dealing with the consequences of poor decision making, and persistent feelings of guilt are also risk factors that lead to anxiety disorders.

Looping Negativity

Individuals often suffer from constant feelings of guilt and shame; they feel as though they have no control over the addiction but that the substance has complete control over their lives. As a result, helplessness is a devouring emotion for many drug addicts.

Being stuck in a never-ending negative cycle of emotions will eventually degrade mental and emotional well-being. Sadly, the circle of negativity and guilt is critical in why an addict continues to use; they find comfort in substances that they cannot find elsewhere.


Constantly living in a loop of negative emotions will inevitably lead to depressions. Although, it is also the general degradation of health in drug addicts that also contributes to depression.

Furthermore, the changes to the reward center of the brain also lead to clinical depression. Because the brain is flooded with dopamine often, it eventually stops producing happy hormones naturally as it learns to rely on artificial replacements. 

Because depression is a mental health condition that typically requires treatment, recovery is crucial to the survival of many suffering from drug addiction. Although, long-term use often means that anti-depressant medications might be necessary for life.

Be sure to watch for the common and hidden signs of depression if you are assisting a loved one with recovery. Unfortunately, depression may only arise during the early stages of recovery in some users. And this is even more concerning as feelings of depression during early sobriety can lead individuals to relapse to avoid the emotional burden.

Loss Of Motivation And Interest

Depression and anxiety can lead anyone to endure a lack of motivation and interest. Unfortunately, this is amplified for drug addicts due to the changes to the brain’s reward center.

Drug addiction is a looping problem, and chasing the next high becomes a sole priority for survival. As a result, all other priorities and responsibilities tend to fall away as the user struggles to manage such a devastating burden.

Episodes Of Drug-Induced Psychosis

Drug-induced psychosis is an undeniably frightening development for many drug users. The symptoms include extreme paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. In addition, excessive aggression and self-harm are also common symptoms.

These episodes can occur during use or withdrawal phases from the substance. They appear suddenly and are typically intense and severe. Many who have experienced these episodes need to be restrained for their protection and monitored constantly.

If drug-induced psychosis is experienced, the individual will need medical treatment at a rehabilitation center. This will allow the patient to be safely monitored, treated, and supported during the process of recovery.

Finding The Path To Recovery

Drug addiction is a heartbreaking disease that impacts many individuals and everyone around them. The health consequences of addiction are often severe and require medical treatment. That said, the sooner recovery begins, the fewer damages the brain and body will endure.

Even though recovery can be a daunting path at first, many individuals have overcome their addictions and led quality lives thanks to rehabilitation centers and loving support systems. That said, drug addiction is also a lifelong disease. As a result, individuals don’t entirely recover from addiction; recovery is a lifelong path.

For this reason, entering a twelve-step program and making lifestyle changes to avoid risky situations is vital when recovering from any substance abuse addiction. Despite the challenges of recovery, the rewards along the way are well worth the devotion to sobriety.

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