Drug Addiction Side Effects


Just as every drug has a different set of specific side effects, every drug user is going to have a slightly different reaction to each drug. Some may experience certain side effects more strongly than others, and some might not experience certain side effects at all. Nevertheless, the side effects of drug addiction do share a broad set of characteristics.

Primary Effects

Not side effects, per se, these are the effects of the drug being used that are intended to be experiences; they are the “good” effects, even though they may actually be damaging in the long run.

Primary effects differ widely, but they include euphoria, a sense of energy, and increased focus on one side, and relaxation or “mellowness” on the other. Hallucinations, both auditory and visual, may be considered desirable primary effects by some people.

Physical Side Effects

These effects are not explicitly desired in the recreational use of the drug, but are instead “necessary evils”. In order to enjoy the euphoria of a given drug, for example, you might have to live with the jitters as a side effect.

Physical drug addiction side effects include:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Talkativeness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Inability to relax
  • Mood swings
  • Drastic weight gain or loss
  • Deterioration of the teeth
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Slow reaction time
  • Sinus blockages and other problems

Non-Physical Side Effects

Perhaps worse than the physical side effects are the non-physical consequences of drug abuse. The most important side effect in extreme cases of addiction may be that the addict begins to place the drug ahead of every other consideration in his life; before family, friends, religion, employment, money, shelter. Grouped together, this makes the general inability to continue functioning in the world one big side effect.

The need for more of the drug is often the most telling warning sign of addiction or impending addiction. As the importance of the drug in the user’s life increases, so does the fear associated with not being to get it. Healthcare professionals are trained to recognize requests for multiple prescriptions, but addicts can be quite clever in their attempts to find more drugs, and street drugs are typically offered to anyone with the means to pay.

Because drug addiction side effects can vary greatly, it is important that you consult a specialist if you suspect a loved one is abusing drugs. Some side effects may be the result of legitimate drug use, but it is always better to intervene sooner rather than later if a person is at risk for developing a dependence.


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