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Health Consequences of Drug Misuse

Mental Health Effects

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Chronic use of some drugs can lead to both short- and long-term changes in the brain, which can lead to mental health issues including paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, and other problems. 

Many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders and vice versa. Compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, with the reverse also true. In 2015, an estimated 43.4 million (17.9 percent) adults ages 18 and older experienced some form of mental illness (other than a developmental or substance use disorder). Of these, 8.1 million had both a substance use disorder and another mental illness.1 Although substance use disorders commonly occur with other mental illnesses, it’s often unclear whether one helped cause the other or if common underlying risk factors contribute to both disorders.

Drugs that can cause mental health problems:

1SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2014 and 2015.

This page was last updated March 2017

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NIDA (2017). Health Consequences of Drug Misuse. Retrieved , from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/health-consequences-drug-misuse

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