Addiction and Health National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA


These drugs can produce a “high” similar to marijuana and have become a popular but dangerous alternative. Signs and symptoms of drug use or intoxication may vary, depending Sober House on the type of drug. Animal and human studies build on and inform each other, and in combination provide a more complete picture of the neurobiology of addiction.

long term effects of substance abuse

Different Classes of Substances Affect the Brain and Behavior in Different Ways

Psychologists can also diagnose and treat these “co-occurring” psychological conditions. Further, a psychologist may play an important role in coordinating the services a drinker in treatment receives from various health professionals. This work may inform the development of more precise preventive and treatment interventions. Additionally, integrated care for SUDs and health conditions will require ongoing assessment and support. Just as medication adherence is monitored through the use of self-management tools (e.g., pill boxes, alarms), frequency and quantity of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use must also be regularly assessed by the individual as well as during doctor visits.

  • The neurotransmitters cross a tiny gap, or synapse, between neurons and attach to receptors on the receiving neuron.
  • This is normally referred to as a tolerance, and the danger and effects of drug abuse that leads many addicts to hospitalization and death.
  • Outpatient programs are another option for people struggling with addiction.
  • This dopamine signal causes changes in neural connectivity that make it easier to repeat the activity again and again without thinking about it, leading to the formation of habits.

Identifying Alcohol Dependence

long term effects of substance abuse

Other examples include ketamine and flunitrazepam or Rohypnol — a brand used outside the U.S. — also called roofie. These drugs are not all in the same category, but they share some similar effects and dangers, including long-term harmful effects. People use cannabis by smoking, eating or inhaling a vaporized form of the drug. Cannabis often precedes or is used along with other substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs, and is often the first drug tried. Psychoactive substances affect the parts of the brain that involve reward, pleasure, and risk.

  • The most common hallucinogens are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP).
  • It may be done by family and friends in consultation with a health care provider or mental health professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or directed by an intervention professional.
  • The relative influence of these risk and protective factors varies across individuals and the lifespan.
  • Additionally, determining how neurobiological factors contribute to differences in substance misuse and addiction between women and men and among racial and ethnic groups is critical.

Long-Term Effects of Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Because a person may experience one or more relapses and return to problem drinking, it can be crucial to have a trusted psychologist or other health professional with whom that person can discuss and learn from these events. If the drinker is unable to resolve alcohol problems fully, a psychologist can help with reducing alcohol use and minimizing problems. Psychologists can also provide marital, family, and group therapies, which often are helpful for repairing interpersonal relationships and for resolving problem drinking over the long term. Family relationships influence drinking behavior, and these relationships often change during an individual’s recovery. The psychologist can help the drinker and significant others navigate these complex transitions, help families understand problem drinking and learn how to support family members in recovery, and refer family members to self-help groups such as Al-Anon and Alateen.

  • In addition, alcohol disrupts activity in brain areas that coordinate and control muscle movements.
  • The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator can help you recognize and find high quality treatment for alcohol use disorder.
  • Cannabis usage has been connected to learning, working memory, and attention problems.
  • Also, the person will often need to take larger amounts of the drug to produce the familiar high—an effect known as tolerance.
  • Addressing SUDs from a life stage perspective with assessment and treatment approaches incorporating co-occurring disorders are necessary to successfully impact overall health.
  • Although these drugs mimic the brain’s own chemicals, they don’t activate neurons in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being sent through the network.
  • It can be brought on by a loss of a job because of certain reasons, the death of a loved one, a parent’s divorce, or financial problems.