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The Dreadful Effects of Psychoactive Drugs: Why Substance Use Disorder is The Worst of All Addictions

Effects of Psychoactive Drugs

Irresponsible usage of psychoactive drugs leads to addiction and culminates in cognitive and physical deterioration. Unfortunately, drug abuse is emerging as a global-level emergency that needs to be dealt with urgently. 

As per the UNDOC drug report, more than 250 million people indulged in unhealthy addictive drugs in order to deal with their mental health issues in 2020. On the contrary, only 1 in every 7 people suffering from addiction actually received any form of cure.

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Misuse of psychoactive drugs is also known as Substance Use Disorder medically. It is the overwhelming compulsion to use addictive substances even after knowing their potentially harmful effects on the mind and body.

People turn to addictive substances due to environmental or social influences or in order to overcome their mental issues driven by various reasons, prolonged misuse of which causes addiction.

Substance Use Disorder: The Most Severe Form of Addiction

Generally speaking, addiction is the consistent craving to indulge in overusing or overdoing something. It can be categorized as physical or behavioral.

While behavioral addiction is psychological in nature, substance abuse is a physical form of addiction. It involves the consumption of harmful doses of damaging substances in order to experience desired effects. 

A person abusing harmful substances like psychoactive drugs experiences deadly physical consequences that can cause permanent damage to the body in addition to mental disturbances, which makes it more dangerous than other kinds of addictions. 

What Are Psychoactive Drugs?

Psychoactive drugs meddle with the regular functioning of the brain by abnormally activating information-handling neurons and hence inducing short-term and long-term physical, psychological and behavioral after-effects.

These include reduced consciousness, increased heart rate, changes in behavior, euphoria, dizziness, delirium, etc. 

Types Of Psychoactive Drugs:

Inhalable Substances: They are also called inhalants, consumed by sniffing or breathing vapors to feel intoxicated. Aerosols, nitrites and solvents are a few types of inhalants used. 

Nervous Depressants: These are drugs used primarily to oppress brain activity and incite sedative effects. 

Hallucination Inducing Drugs: These are the variety of drugs that can alter your mind's ability to identify reality and cause illusions such as LSDs, ketamine, etc. 

Alcohol: Alcohol is the most commonly used psychoactive drug that can act both as a sedative and a stimulant. Its abuse can cause serious chronic sickness and mental derangement. 

Unlike common belief, recovery from alcoholism is not just a matter of willpower. An outpatient alcohol treatment center is a more sustainable path for recovery.

Nicotine: It is an addictive substance extracted from tobacco, which when consumed gives a temporary high. Smoked nicotine is even more addictive than alcohol and drugs like cocaine.

MDMA: It is a synthetic drug that induces a feeling of pleasure by interfering with the senses. It has both stimulating and hallucinogenic properties.

Cannabinoids or Marijuana/ Weed/ THC: It can be therapeutic for a range of medical conditions but misuse can have side effects such as mood alterations, memory loss, delusional disorder, brain fog, etc.

Opioids: Opioids are used as intense pain relievers. These are highly addictive substances especially when consumed for longer periods of time.

Psychoactive Stimulants: Stimulants enhance the interaction between the brain and the body for augmented energy levels and alertness such as caffeine, cocaine, heroin addiction, etc. 

Effects of Psychoactive Drugs on the Body

How psychoactive drugs affect a person physically depends on the type, duration and quantity of drugs used. 

Temporary effects include an increase in blood pressure, headache, difficulty in coordination, movement issues, abnormal increase in body temperature and more. Extended use may cause insomnia, inflammation, lung diseases, asthma, heart diseases, cancers, chronic immune disorders, etc. 

Overuse can cause dependence, strokes, seizures, reduced fertility, or even death.

Effects of Psychoactive Drugs on the Brain

Drugs are chemicals that disturb how signals are sent to and from the brain, which can have lasting mental health concerns. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, mood swings, aggressiveness, disbalance, anxiety, lack of self-control, memory drop, sensory impairment, and more.


Extensive substance addiction can hollow out someone both physically and mentally and can prove to be fatal if not taken care of in time.

Extending information and effective treatment programs and policies for SUD victims across the globe is the only path toward successfully addressing & preventing the related health hazards.

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