Regardless of gender, age, or demographic, the use and abuse of drugs has become a universal problem.

While many people start taking illicit drugs for recreational purposes, what they fail to realize is that this casual form of use can often be a stepping-stone toward addiction. Substance use and abuse can trigger many negative effects that prove to be detrimental for an individual’s health: both physical and mental.

When an individual takes a drug, their body reacts and produces side-effects never experienced before that are characterized by odd, noticeable symptoms. Typically, the human body goes through a rebound effect, a crash, and a comedown after drug use. It is imperative that we understand each of these side-effects and realize how large of a role they play in drug addiction.

Let’s dive into the details of each of these side-effects and explore the different sets of symptoms they are likely to trigger.

The Rebound Effect

effects of drug useWhen an individual takes an illicit drug, their body experiences a disruption and immediately tries to bring itself back to an ideal state of balance also known as homeostasis. This is called the rebound effect.

After the drug enters an individual’s system, their body begins producing physical symptoms that are a stark contrast to those caused by the drug. This is the phase that leads to the addiction.

This occurrence makes it painfully clear why the addiction is easier to fall into than not: individuals seek to use the drug again to relive the desired effects they experienced after taking the drug. When the drug “wears off” the good feeling is abruptly overtaken by its exact opposite. This is how the rebound effect plays a role in worsening the risk of developing a drug addiction.

Let us make it simpler to understand with an example.

A sedative drug that is meant to make you feel calm and relaxed and induce drowsiness will trigger a rebound effect of agitation as soon as the pleasant effects wears off. This would simply make you want to take more of that drug to calm yourself down. Subsequently, you would follow your desire and the cycle will continue, making you addicted to the drug in the process.

Similarly, upon taking a stimulating drug like cocaine, you will experience a rebound effect of tiredness and fatigue. Thus, to stay alert and maintain your energy levels, you would end up taking more of the stimulating drug.

This explains why powerful drugs that are capable of producing strong, quick effects on the nervous system are so addictive. The association that people generally have in their minds regarding their desired physical or mental state and the drug that can help them experience such effects is one of the reasons they find themselves craving these illicit drugs. Moreover, the fact that the wearing off of the drug pushes you even further away from the state you want to be in makes taking more of the drug seem like the only good idea.

Even if you take a painkiller, one of the side-effects is a rebound effect that makes your pain intensify. While the pain experienced may be either physical or emotional, at times, it is a deadly combination of both. This is why many people end up developing a painkiller addiction.

The Comedown

When an individual takes a drug, they experience an intoxication period where everything seems to fall into place and they find themselves in the desired physical or mental state. However, after some time, the pleasant effects of the drug start wearing off and users start ‘coming down’ from the ‘high’. This is known as the ‘comedown’ effect.

The symptoms produced by the comedown of a drug tend to vary based on the kind of drug that was taken, the dosage, individual sensitivities to the drug, and the user’s history of drug use.

In general, if the intoxication phase was powerful and the user felt uncomfortable, anxious, or delusional after taking the drug, its comedown is likely to be relatively pleasant. On the other hand, some users may find the comedown to be rather disappointing, experiencing a return to reality – which often encourages further drug use.

Some people may even feel sick during a comedown, which may indicate possible medical complications in reaction to the drug use. The discomforting symptoms usually include a racing pulse, feeling too hot, severe anxiety, extreme anger, paranoia, depression, thoughts of suicide or self harm, or hearing voices. Experiencing any of these are an immediate reason to go to a doctor – but unfortunately an addict, or someone who is a drug user, does not recognize the vital importance of quick treatment by professionals. Instead, they ignore the pain or sickness and in turn lean back in to the drug.

The Crash

The crash is an after-effect of drug use characterized by intense exhaustion. This particularly happens if an individual takes a stimulating drug, such as meth, or cocaine. What actually happens is that after the intoxication period, the body attempts to balance out the over-stimulation of the nervous system.

You may consider this effect as a more pronounced type of rebound, as it not only helps the body recover from the toxicity and effects of the drug but also treats injuries, infections, a lack of sleep, over-exertion, or any other harm experienced during intoxication.

The higher the drug dosage taken, the more the underlying fatigue is experienced. It also brings along a change of mood from elation and euphoria to depression and negative moods.

It is important to note here that a crash may last longer than the intoxication period because the body tends to require more time recovering from the effects of the drug.

These are the prominent side-effects of taking a drug, which, due to their unpleasant symptoms, may reinforce the users to take more of the drug to maintain the desired state. Understanding these conditions makes it easier to see why most people get addicted to illicit drugs after they use it for the first time for the sake of fun or self-medication. It is important for drug addicts to seek help and proper treatment to get rid of this poisonous habit. The Scottsdale Recovery Center aims to help addicts take on the road to a sober life for good.

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