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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Drug addictions effects on the gastrointestinal system

Drug addiction is the physical and mental dependence on a toxic substance. It does not matter what kind of toxic substance it is, can be in various forms: heroin, cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, or even prescription medications. The pattern for drug addiction remains the same: substances are first used for pleasure or to treat some pain. Then the use of these substances can lead to addiction. It is due to the increasing need for a higher dosage to have the same effect. And dependence, which means the absence of substance, becomes unbearable. Addiction can lead to social and personal problems. Not to mention drug addiction also has serious consequences for health. Since most drugs are taken orally, whether, in the form of pills or liquid, it has got very severe effects on the gastrointestinal system. Prolonged substance abuse can lead to damage to the stomach, intestines, and other internal organs within the digestive system.

What are the effects of drugs on the gastrointestinal system?

Permanent damage to the digestive system is one very common effect of prolonged and sustained drug abuse. Various parts of the gastrointestinal system can become damaged in a lot of different ways. And it is not just the intestine or stomach lining that can get damaged; it could also be the internal organs, such as the kidneys and liver that could become damaged as well.

Frequent diarrhea

The malnutrition and improper eating habits, which can be caused by drug addiction, can lead to frequent diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the earliest gastrointestinal effects of addiction. This may seem not very serious at first, but diarrhea can lead to dehydration and further malnutrition. And this can exacerbate the other health problems that are caused by addiction and substance abuse.

Gastrointestinal damage

The lining of your intestine can get damaged due to repeated ingestion of certain substances. Gastrointestinal damage can happen because of heroin or cocaine abuse. Addicts who snort cocaine can develop problems with their pyloric sphincter, which is the ring of muscle that controls the opening and closing of the stomach. It can lead to pain since the pyloric sphincter will not close properly, leading to acid reflux.

Liver and Pancreas damage

Repeated use of drugs can also cause damage to the internal organs that are around the gastrointestinal system. The liver and the pancreas, which are especially important organs, can be heavily damaged due to drug use. Alcoholics and those that are addicted to liquid will often develop alcoholic hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver. And there is also cirrhosis, which is a fatal liver disease.

Stomach problems

Frequent drug use can also lead to severe inflammation of the stomach lining. It can be painful and lead to frequent cramps and other kinds of chronic pain within the stomach. If left unchecked, this inflammation can lead to ulcers and other kinds of damage to the stomach lining. The acid secretion of the stomach can also be impaired due to drug use. So this makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients, which can worsen an addict’s condition. They will be unable to get the nutrients that they need, thus leading to even worsening problems with their overall health.

Internal damage

The whole stomach and intestine system can also experience massive damage due to substance abuse. It is not uncommon to find addicts with severe cases, to have internal hemorrhaging due to prolonged and sustained drug use. Some addicts will vomit blood because their gastrointestinal systems have become so damaged due to their drug use.

Damage to the gastrointestinal system is very likely to anyone that uses drugs frequently. And this is a part of your health that you do not want to damage in any way. It is because your gastrointestinal system when it is damage can be painful and lead to even more health problems. Detoxing from substance dependence can also be harsh on the gastrointestinal system as well, since the substance may have accumulated in that part of the body.

Some common medications and drugs that is addictive:


These kinds of drugs are classified as relaxants or benzos, and they can include drugs such as:

Zolpidem Tartrate





The main purpose of this drug is to make people relax, and it is used to treat panic attacks and anxiety. However, because it can cause feelings of relaxation, many people become addicted to it,

Pain medication

Heavy duty pain medication, which includes opioids, some examples below:




These kinds of drugs are usually used to treat pain. And since they are overprescribed by doctors, a lot of people can become addicted to them. Opioids are especially addictive because they can cause feelings of euphoria.


These kinds of drugs are taken to boost muscle growth. Steroids can include:

Anabolic steroids


Steroids can stunt bone growth, increase pressure on the circulatory system, and do so many other damaging effects to the body. This kind of drug use is especially prevalent amongst bodybuilders.


Stimulant drugs can include:




These kinds of drugs are very popular because they can boost stamina and create feelings of confidence and happiness. They are also highly addictive as they can cause people to become psychologically and physiologically dependent on them pretty quickly.

What are the signs of addiction? How to know if someone is addicted?

There are many signs, both physical and behavioral, that show that a person is addicted to drugs. Each drug has specific reactions, but there are general signs that a person is taking drugs:

A sudden change in behavior – They can suddenly be withdrawn or if they are normally a reserved person, they can become extroverted and suddenly become outgoing.

A sudden change in mood, irritability, and bad mood followed by happy and suddenly joyful behavior – Mood swings are a sign that a person is high. It is especially true for severe or sudden mood swings. Hysteria and mania are very obvious signs of someone who is high. If someone is not getting enough drugs or if they are getting withdrawal symptoms, their mood may also turn down.

The person avoids family members – Persons who are taking drugs let it affect their relationships. They will let the drugs control their lives and let it also ruin their relationships. It would not only strain relationships amongst family members, but it will also strain their relationship with their friends and other kinds of relationships as well.

They do not look after their appearance – A sudden sloppiness in their appearance is also a sign that someone is addicted. They will stop caring about their appearance, as all they will think about is their next high.

They lose interest in hobbies – An addict, especially the more that they abuse their drugs; will lose interest in their hobbies. It can include sports and other favorite activities.

Change in sleep pattern – If someone is always awake at night and sleepy during the day, then it could be a sign of addiction. It is because drug use can change the sleep patterns of a person, as their body accumulates more of drugs.

Red or glassy eyes – This is a physical sign that someone is actively taking drugs. It is because the presence of drugs within their body’s system can lead to dehydration and make their eyes appear red.

What is considered drug addiction?

Someone may have the signs of addiction, but there are also other criteria that are used to determine whether or not someone has become addicted to drugs. It is not only illicit drugs that can cause addiction, but prescription medication, especially such as those that are used for pain or medications that are psychoactive.

If someone is consistently taking the wrong dosage of their medication, then it could be a sign that they are addicted to the medication that they are using. In fact, taking the wrong dosage of medication is one of the main causes that someone becomes addicted to drugs.

Addicts will also tend to prioritize the use of their drugs over other practical things in life. They may stop going to work or school because all they want to do is to use drugs. They may also skip out on other obligations in life, such as going out with family or friends. It is because their drug addiction can cause them to shift their priorities.

What can happen in rehab?

Within rehab, numerous services are provided to recovering addict. The whole program within rehab is to designed to help addicts recover from the mental and bodily effects of their addiction, as well as to ensure that the addict does not return to using drugs ever again. Drug rehab centers are the perfect places to send someone that is severely addicted to drugs or substances of any kind, be it alcohol or medications. An addict will be able to find effective help and healing from drug rehabilitation. It is because addiction treatment centers can provide the following services.

Physical healing from the effects of addiction

An addict can have a physical addiction to drugs. If they do not get a regular supply of drugs, they may end up experiencing pain and other kinds of bodily problems. The physical pain that can occur when detoxing makes the process even more difficult. Which is why it is important to get help from a drug rehab center? It is because when an addict is sent to a rehab facility, they will go through a complete detox. It will allow their body to flush out all of the drugs from their system slowly. This complete physical detox is necessary for recovering from addiction.

Psychological healing from addiction

The mental effects of addiction are not something to scoff at. An addict can have a severe psychological dependence on a particular substance. And that psychological dependence can have an impact on their physiology. As they are detoxing from their addiction, an addict may experience hallucinations, or they may even have seizures due to their brain’s neurons misfiring. All of these could be traced to the mental dependence on their drugs. It takes more than self-control to be able to get over the psychological addiction to drugs, which is why rehab is the perfect place for addicts. It is because, when they are kept away from different kinds of drugs, their brains will slowly get used to the absence of the chemicals and toxins within their body.

Therapy provided in rehab

One of the most important services that are provided in drug rehab is therapy. Most treatment facilities are staffed by professional psychotherapists who specialize in treating substance addiction and the many mental illnesses that can arise from addiction. Addicts can learn important skills such as mindfulness, meditation, self-soothing, self-control, and so much more with the help of a psychotherapist. Therapy can also help address issues in the life of the addict, which also could be the cause of their substance abuse. So within rehab, thanks to the therapy provided, an addict will be able to find healing from their trauma.

Support even after rehab

Even after the person has “graduated” from rehab, they would still be able to get the support that they need. It is because most rehab centers would extend their support and help to their alumni. It can come in the form of dinners and other kinds of gatherings with other recovered addicts. Studies have shown that this kind of support system can keep recovering addicts away from using drugs again. It is because this support system provided by the rehab center can ensure that people are not going to backslide into addiction once again.

It is only through the support system and healing within rehab that an addict will be able to recover from their problem. The earlier than an addict is sent to rehab, then the better it is. It is because if an addict is sent before their body becomes even more dependent on the drug, then the faster their recovery will be. Even in severe cases of drug addiction and substance abuse, an addict would still be able to benefit a lot from being sent to rehab. So make a positive choice right now, and consider enrolling in a treatment facility for addiction rehabilitation.