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Health Consequences of Drug Misuse

Neurological Effects

Image of a brain scan.Image by ©Shutterstock/Mara008

All addictive drugs act in the brain to produce their euphoric effects. However, some can also cause damage due to seizures, stroke, and direct toxic effects on brain cells. Drug use can also lead to addiction, a brain disorder that occurs when repeated drug use leads to changes in the function of multiple brain circuits that control pleasures/reward, stress, decision-making, impulse control, learning and memory, and other functions. These changes make it harder for those with an addiction to experience pleasure in response to natural rewards—such as food, sex, or positive social interactions—or to manage their stress, control their impulses, and make the healthy choice to stop drug seeking and use.

Drugs that can cause neurological problems:

This page was last updated March 2017

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NIDA. (2017, March 23). Health Consequences of Drug Misuse. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/health-consequences-drug-misuse

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