The word addiction is familiar to everyone, but do we know the full extent of what drug addiction can do to a person, their family and the society around them? When someone develops an addiction to drugs they tend to become caught up in a downward spiral that they feel has no end until they take their next fix.

Studies have shown that when a person starts taking a drug the sudden rush of energy and the feeling of being in a different, problem free, world, is amazing. However, this effect soon disappears and they are left feeling much worse. They therefore take ever more drugs to see if they can recapture this ‘high’, which is when the addiction is born.

A drug addiction can have devastating effect on your body, including problems with breathing, an increased heart rate and higher blood pressure.Extended use of drugs can cause serious brain damage, psychological problems and lung disease. In some cases the individual can also develop the very painful condition, arthritis.

It is not only the individual who experiences problems due to addiction. Their family, friends and work colleagues will suffer too.As drugs are illegal, they are often expensive to buy, making a drain on the family resources; in extreme cases, the family home may have to be sold. The addict will become more erratic and may even turn violent, making them difficult to live with. At their workplace they will often find it hard to concentrate, so the standard of work they produce will fall and may lead to them losing their job, making money even harder to come by.

The abuse of illegal drugs has a number of effects on the user. Aside from any pleasing short term effects that the drugs may bring, there are a myriad of unwelcome and potentially dangerous ways that drugs can affect the user. These side effects may be physical, psychological or social, and will vary dependent on the type of drugs that are being abused.

Sedatives or Barbiturates

Barbiturates slow down the body and make the user drowsy and lethargic. Drug abuse of this kind can be highly addictive, causing serious effects to the user. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety and convulsions.


Drugs such as LSD have very unpredictable effects on people who take them. Users have reported vivid and realistic hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, and feelings of panic, confusion, and paranoia. Hallucinogenic drug use can bring on physical symptoms such as sweating, loss of appetite, and increased temperature.


Abuse of stimulants such as speed increases the alertness and activity of the user. The drugs do this by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, which can be incredibly dangerous if taken over a long period of time. Conditions such as arrhythmia, hypertension, and potentially death are associated with prolonged use of stimulants.


Abuse of marijuana can interfere with co-ordination, perception of time, judgement and reasoning. On a long term level, memory and fertility can be affected.


Exceptionally addictive and dangerous, narcotics are administered by medical professionals to relieve pain. When abused, narcotics can damage the heart, lungs and liver. Death can be caused if an overdose is taken.

When making a decision about taking drugs, the addict only takes into consideration the benefits that they will immediately feel, the euphoria, a sense of calm and a feeling of relaxation.However, along with that ‘high come the other side effects that result from heroin use.

These drugs can also have a negative impact on health, relationships, work and finances.Drug addicts think they can handle the associated results of narcotic use, but once it becomes an all-consuming addiction, the drug is their only concern.

Long-term heroin use will affect the way addicts react towards personal relationships and the bond with family and friends may break down.The need for heroin will become their main drive, while work or studies will suffer, along with their financial stability, as more and more money is needed to fund their habit.

The loss of financial control and unemployment can lead to homelessness, as heroin exerts a stronger pull on their finances and their health can suffer, firstly from poor eating habits, but over time increased use of the drug will cause serious health issues too.

Drug addiction can cause mental health issues, psychosis, stress or depression.The addict’s body will also suffer from damage to its internal organs, primarily the liver, heart and lungs.In addition, there is a greatly increased risk of catching infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV.

Drug use is illegal and drug users can end up with criminal records or suffer the consequences of hefty fines.There is also the added danger of having to associate with hardened criminals in order to purchase drugs.