Effects of Substance use, by substance type.

Alcohol

Short-term effect:

  • Distorted vision
  • Changes to hearing
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired judgement
  • Altered perception
  • Altered emotions
  • Bad breath
  • Hangover
  • Accidents
  • Falls

Long-term effects:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Stomach upset
  • Sexual impotence
  • Liver damage and cirrhosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancers
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Poor vision
  • Malnutrition

Amphetamines

Amphetamine use could cause:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Violence
  • Confusion
  • Tremors
  • Psychosis
  • Skin picking
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Poor dentition
  • Lung diseases
  • Asthma symptoms

Withdrawal from amphetamines could present as:

  • Tiredness
  • Low energy
  • Unstable mood
  • Increased sleep

Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax, Clonazepam, ....)

  • Dependence
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Poor memory
  • Poor balance
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Fall and hip fractures
  • Accidents
  • Overdose
  • Ataxia
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Slow reaction time

Cocaine and Crack

Cocaine use could cause:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Reduced immune system
  • Paranoid ideas
  • Erratic behavior
  • Violence
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Loss of interest
  • Poor appetite

 

Withdrawal symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Low energy
  • Mood swings
  • Body pain

Hallucinogens

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sleepiness
  • Tremors
  • Shakiness
  • Increases senses of touch and pain
  • Seizures
  • Coma and death
  • Heart failure
  • Lung failure
  • Feeling depressed
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Flashbacks
  • Tiredness

Heroin, codeine, oxycontin, oxycodone, kratom

Regular use could result in:

  • Dependence
  • Sensitivity to pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Decreased breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Tiredness
  • Low sex drive
  • Low energy
  • Constipation
  • Fall
  • Overdose and death

Withdrawal from opioids could present as:

  • Sweatiness
  • Sneezing
  • Body pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Yawning

 

Marijuana

Short-term effects:

  • Sleepiness
  • Impaired judgement
  • Red eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor coordination
  • Loss of time track
  • Social inhibition
  • Low motivation
  • Dry mouth
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Long-term effects:

  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Decreased testosterone levels in men and sperm count, low sex drive and infertility
  • Increased testosterone levels in women and low sex drive and infertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Changes to body immunity

Mushrooms

Regular use of mushrooms could cause:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Chills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness
  • Dry mouth
  • Enhanced senses
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Altered perceptions of time and reality
  • Distortion of vision and hearing
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Sleeping problems
  • Psychosis
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Flashbacks
  • Overdose

Steroids

Regular use of steroids could cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Acne
  • Obesity and increased fat tissue
  • High cholesterol
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased risk of blood clotting
  • Gynecomastia
  • Infertility
  • Reduced immunity
  • Liver diseases
  • Mood swings
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Aggressive behavior

References

1. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Chapter V: Classification of mental and behavioural disorders. Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. Available at http://www.who.int/classifications/apps/icd/icd10online/ (last accessed 22 August 2011). []
2. Lingford-Hughes A, Welch S, Nutt DJ, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the pharmacological management of substance misuse, addiction and co-morbidity: recommendations from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. J Psychopharmacol 2004;18:293–335. [PubMed[]
3. Darke, S. Self-report among drug users a review. Drug Alcohol Depend 1998;51:253–263. [PubMed[]
4. Hickman M, Griffin M, Madden P, et al. Drug misuse surveillance in the UK— continuing trends from the Home Office Addicts Index to the Drug Misuse Database. Drug Educ Prev Polic 2004;11:91–100.[]
5. President of the Council. Tackling drugs to build a better Britain: the government’s 10 year strategy for tackling drug misuse. London, UK: HMSO, 1998. []
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7. De Angelis D, Hickman M, Yang S. Estimating long-term trends in the incidence and prevalence of opiate use/injecting drug use and the number of former users: back-calculation methods and opiate overdose deaths. Am J Epidemiol 2004;160:994–1004. [PubMed[]
8. Hay G, Gannon M, Casey J, et al. National and regional estimates of the prevalence of opiate and/or crack cocaine use 2008–09: a summary of key findings. 2010. Available at http://www.nta.nhs.uk/uploads/summaryprevalanceestimates2008- 2009.pdf (last accessed 22 August 2011). []
9. Mattick RP, Kimber J, Breen C, et al. Buprenorphine maintenance versus placebo or methadone maintenance for opioid dependence. In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2011. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Search date 2006. []
10. Schwartz RP, Jaffe JH, O’Grady KE, et al. Interim methadone treatment: impact on arrests. Drug Alcohol Depend 2009;103:148–154. [PMC free article] [PubMed[]
11. Fareed A, Casarella J, Amar R, et al. Methadone maintenance dosing guideline for opioid dependence, a literature review. J Addict Dis 2010;29:1–14. [PubMed[]
12. Gowing L, Farrell M, Ali R, et al. Alpha2-adrenergic agonists for the management of opioid withdrawal. In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2011. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Search date 2008. []

Important note:

This document is prepared by the “Mental Health for All” team. The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or care, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider properly licensed to practise medicine or general healthcare in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. Always consult with your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program. Information obtained on the Website is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment.

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