Many people in active drug addiction only worry about the immediate high that they get when they use. They often don’t think about the long-term effects of their drug use. Unfortunately, using drugs can have negative effects on your body for years to come. The following guide walks you through a few of the side effects that come with drug use, that can impact your life for years to come.

Drug Addiction Can Affect Your Libido

Many people claim that having sex while they are high is one of the best feelings they have ever had. This heightened sexual experience can make it difficult to have sex when you are sober because you don’t have the same draw that you once did. Drug use also affects your brain and may cause a decrease in your libido as the dopamine receptors may have been damaged during your time of active addiction.

Decreased Ability to Get an Erection

Unfortunately, drug use can affect the way your body functions. Certain drugs, such as cocaine can make it very difficult for men to get an erection. This is because the blood vessels to the penis become narrower. This limits the amount of blood that is able to travel to the penis and thus makes it difficult to get an erection. Some men are able to regain the ability to get erections on their own once they stop using, but not all do.

Drug Abuse Causes Changes to Your Metabolism

When you are in active addiction, it directly affects your body’s metabolism. Certain drugs decrease your metabolic rate when you are in active addiction. Many also work as appetite suppressants which can cause you to eat less than you would if you weren’t using drugs. The fluctuations in your metabolic rate can throw your metabolism off for the rest of your life. Many people find that they start to gain a lot of weight when they stop using. This is because your metabolism isn’t working the way it was before you were in active addiction.

It’s important to take things slowly when you are in recovery. Introduce foods into your diet one at a time to see how they affect you. You could now be allergic to things that you could eat before you were a drug user. You may also find that certain foods cause you to become bloated or gain massive amounts of weight when you eat them. Improving your metabolism will take time and there are cases where it never returns to its original state after a drug addiction.

Drug Abuse Can Cause Respiratory Damage

Many people don’t realize that drug use can cause damage to their lungs and other areas of their respiratory system. Drug use can cause a reduced deliver of oxygen to the vital organs. It can also lead to swelling of your lungs, hemorrhages in the veins of your lungs and even ruptures in the air sacs within the lungs. Many people who stop using end up developing asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis after they stop using because their respiratory system is in such a weakened state.

Drug Abuse Can Cause Death to Your Nasal Tissues

Snorting drugs is a popular way of ingesting them. Unfortunately, this method poses a huge risk to the delicate tissue within your nasal cavities. Many people suffer from nasal tissue death after extended use of drugs. The drugs are very harsh and cause damage to the sensitive tissue in the nose because they often line the edges and stay in place for extended periods of time. The direct exposure to the drugs breaks down the tissue and could lead to someone having to have surgery to have the areas repaired. There are times when the tissue will heal on its own over time, but there are cases where medical professionals have to step in. Some people in active addiction have had to have the lining of their nose cauterized in an effort to stop nose bleeds or stop damaged areas from spreading.

Drug Addiction Damages Your Brain

While drugs affect your ability to make good decisions when you are using them, they can damage your brain for years to come, as well. Certain drugs cause the brain to age faster than it would if you didn’t use drugs. Cocaine, for example, can cause you to lose double the brain volume that you would lose each year if you weren’t in active addiction.

Other drugs, such as Ecstasy and methamphetamine cause damage to your dopamine neurotransmitters. This means that there is a good chance that you will develop depression in the future. Your body produces dopamine on its own. These drugs cause your body to use enormous amounts of your dopamine supply all at one time. This is why you feel an overall feeling of calm, joy and arousal when you are high on them. Once you stop using, your body may not be able to keep up with the supply of dopamine that your system has become used to because of your drug use.

Drug Addiction Damages Your Liver

When you use drugs, it causes your liver to have to work harder because it needs to metabolize the substances that you put into the body. Having to work overtime causes damage to the liver that in some cases it can heal itself and in other cases, it cannot. When the liver is damaged, it can lead to the development of liver cancer, jaundice and even cirrhosis in the years that follow.

When you reach a point where you want to stop using drugs, reach out to professionals to make the process easier. Your health will be monitored during every aspect of your recovery to make sure you are as healthy as possible at all times. You’ll also be able to get psychological counseling and functional rehabilitation for when you go back into the real world. It’s important to take care of yourself after a drug addiction so that any damage you caused can be treated properly to better your chances of a long and healthy life.


Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.