Drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individual’s ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking and use.
The impact of addiction can be far reaching. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse. Some of these effects occur when drugs are used at high doses or after prolonged use, however, some may occur after just one use.
For more information on how various drugs of abuse affect different parts of the body, select an option on the left.
The material in this section can be used freely without permission, with the exception of any text or graphics that are followed by source information. In those instances, please contact the source name provided to obtain permission.
Cite this article
APA style citation
National Institute on Drug Abuse. Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse