Drug use often has a wide variety of side effects, which are defined as unwanted adverse events. They can vary from person to person and the severity will depend on age, weight, gender, and overall health. 

Individuals with drug addiction will experience side effects from the drugs they use as well as side effects that are the result of the addiction itself. 

In this article, you’ll learn the specific side effects associated with drugs and addiction.

Drug Side Effects

The exact side effects someone experiences from drug abuse will depend on the particular drug being used and the individual person. Below is a list of potential drug side effects.

Opioid Side Effects

Opioids are a family of drugs made from the opium poppy plant. They can include illicit drugs such as heroin and prescribed medications such as fentanyl. Opioids block pain receptors in the brain and are extremely addictive due to the high levels of dopamine they release when taken.

Opioid side effects can include:

  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Smaller pupils than normal
  • A diminished sense of physical pain
  • Depression
  • Feeling sick
  • And many others

Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, and Hypnotics Side Effects

These types of drugs are depressants to the central nervous system. Examples of benzodiazepines include Xanax and Valium. Phenobarbital is an example of a barbiturate, and Ambien is an example of a hypnotic.

Side effects can include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Memory issues
  • Dizziness
  • Falls, difficulty walking
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • And many others

Stimulants, Meth, and Cocaine Side Effects

Stimulants are used to produce a significant increase in energy. Meth and cocaine are two of the more common stimulants.

Side effects can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Mouth sores
  • Depression
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Changes in behavior
  • Fast speech
  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in blood pressure (both low and high blood pressure)
  • Increased or decreased body temperature
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • And many others

Alcohol Side Effects

Drinking alcohol can also cause unwanted side effects. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Increased risk of birth defects (if drinking while pregnant)
  • Increased risk of certain cancers
  • Stroke
  • Heart damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Serious adverse events and drug interactions if drinking alcohol while taking other drugs

Prescription Drug Side Effects

Some people incorrectly believe that because prescription drugs are provided by health care professionals they cannot have any side effects. However, this is not true. Prescription drugs can also have severe side effects, such as causing an allergic reaction, headaches, dizziness, chest pain, and confusion, among many others. When a prescription drug dosage is increased, reduced, or stopped, this can sometimes cause unwanted side effects. Over the counter drugs can also cause unwanted side effects, especially if taking multiple drugs at once, which can lead to a dangerous drug interaction. Your health care professional should always notify you of any potential side effects of prescribed medications, including the risk of addiction or dependency.

Side Effects of Drug Addiction

As mentioned, individuals with drug addiction will experience more than just the side effects of the drugs they use. They will also experience side effects from the drug addiction itself, which include: 

  • Uncontrollable cravings for the drug
  • Intense urges to use the drug
  • Needing to take larger dosages of the drug to feel the same effects
  • Asking to borrow money from family and friends in order to purchase the drug
  • Missing social obligations and daily responsibilities
  • Being unable to quit using the drug
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, even when going a short amount of time without using the drug

The above are just some of the potential side effects of drug addiction. 

Drug Addictions Treated by Harmony Outpatient

At Harmony Outpatient, individuals can receive treatment for their drug addiction to the following drugs:

Signs You or a Love One Might Be Addicted To Drugs

There are many signs to look for when it comes to drug addiction. They include (but are not limited to):

Physical Issues:

This can range from a lack of energy to unexplained weight loss.

Neglecting Responsibilities:

Many people who are addicted to drugs will miss work or avoid daily responsibilities. 

Changes in Appearance:

This can include not showering for days, not brushing teeth, and in general not practicing healthy hygiene habits.

Financial Issues:

People who are addicted to drugs will often spend a significant amount of money on the drugs, causing them to have issues paying for basic necessities such as rent or groceries.

Drug Rehab Program Treatment

A drug rehab program can help individuals fight their drug addiction. The goal of treatment is to help them develop healthy coping skills in place of substance addiction. Typically, a drug rehab program will range from 30 days to several months. Our team at Harmony Outpatient provides personalized and customized treatment based on the unique needs of each individual person. Patients are assessed by our addiction specialists to determine which drug rehab program is best for them.

The first step of any addiction treatment is often a managed detox process, to help patients safely withdraw from drugs. Each of our programs includes individual therapy, group therapy, family therapies, alternative therapies, education, life skills programs, and support network creation in order to help our clients reach sustainable health and long-term addiction recovery.

Harmony Outpatient: Substance Abuse Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, Harmony Outpatient can help. We provide affordable and flexible care through either a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), or standard outpatient care, in order to give clients the treatment needed for recovery. 

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