People with addiction often have one or more associated health problems, which may include lung or heart disease, stroke, cancer, or mental health conditions. Imaging scans, chest x-rays, and blood tests can show the harmful effects of long-term drug use on the whole body. The most serious health consequences of drug abuse are death. Deaths related to synthetic opioids and heroin have increased the most.
In the past 12 months, 212,000 people 12 years of age and older have used heroin for the first time. Every day, more than 90 Americans die from opioid overdoses. Taking a substance regularly can also cause physical harm, depending on the type of medication. Some substances cause withdrawal symptoms that include many physical effects, such as tremors, sweating, or nausea.
People with addiction are affected in many ways. They will often find that all areas of their life are affected, including relationships, finances, and work. As the person becomes more obsessed with a particular activity or substance, they will begin to neglect family members, responsibilities at home or work, and even personal hygiene. Addiction also causes the individual to suffer both physically and mentally, with problems such as depression, paranoia and anxiety quite common.
Some of the short-term effects of drug abuse and addiction include changes in appetite, movement, speech, mood, and cognitive function. Long-term effects can include significant organ damage, cognitive impairment, memory loss, overdose, and death. In other cases, the addict's social circle may shrink to the point where they continue to abuse substances individually, with very little human contact in the environment. Loneliness can obviously set in and mental health conditions such as depression or social anxiety can develop.
The worst case scenario in this situation is that the lonely person is at risk of suicide and may purposely try to overdose.