The Impact of Drug Addiction on Mental Health

Drug addiction has many negative impacts on your life. These impacts include damage to your physical health, your finances, career, and family life. Drug addiction also has severe implications for your mental health. Chronic drug use changes your brain chemistry and the way your brain operates. As a result, these changes impact your behaviors and overall mental health. The following are the most significant impacts of your addiction on your mental health.


As you sink further in your addiction, you will feel great guilt and shame. You will become more secretive in your behavior because you know that you are losing control but are afraid to ask for help. You may not want your loved ones to know how much you are using, or you may not want them to know you are using at all. Maintaining secrecy leads people to become suspicious of you and your affairs, which can lead to isolation and avoidance. This lack of human contact can become a severe determent to your mental well being.

Loss of Interest

Another way drug addiction impacts mental health is the loss of interest in the hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed. The way you choose to spend your free time outside of work and family shows a lot more of who you are. Whether you engage in sports, paint, write and play music, woodwork or create art, engaging in drugs and alcohol slowly rob you of those pursuits. As addiction takes up your time, those things that brought you peace, comfort, and joy will diminish. The lack of positive outlets for releasing stress and distress can further promote drug and alcohol use as well as harm your mental health.

Increase in Risky Behavior

As previously touched upon, chronic substance abuse significantly alters brain chemistry and functioning. The areas most impacted in the brain include those areas which govern reason and judgment. As a result, substance abuse often leads to an increase in risk-taking behavior. When you become further addicted to drugs and alcohol, ethics and morals slowly fade away. You may start stealing money or belongings from loved ones to get the funds needed to continue your habit. You also may drive while impaired, have unprotected sex, or engage in other activities that put you and others in harm’s way. The shame and guilt that comes from engaging in such behaviors can have serious consequences for self-image and self-esteem.

Wide Swings in Emotion

When you become addicted to substances, the substances themselves take over the production of neurotransmitters in your brain. These neurotransmitters help regulate moods that you feel. Over time, addictive substances take over the production of neurotransmitters from the brain. As a result, you will take an increasing amount of your substance of choice to function and feel normal. As a result, the mood that you feel can swing wildly over a short period of time—especially if when a substance’s effects wear off.

The onset of Mental Illnesses

Often, the abuse of drugs and alcohol is a symptom of a deeper mental issue. Addiction can often be accompanied by a dual diagnosis condition, which makes treatment much more of a challenge. Some of the common mental illnesses associated with substance abuse include anxiety and depression. Alcohol and drug abuse can make underlying psychological issues worse, or it can create an onset of mental health issues dependent on social, biological, or heredity issues. If you have an underlying mental health issue along with a substance abuse problem, you will need specialized treatment that can treat both conditions.

Changes in Friends

When you abuse substances, an obvious byproduct is that your behavior will change. Naturally, you will seek out others who share the same beliefs. As a result, you will move away from your old friends and make new ones. While your new friends share the same feelings as far as substance use is concerned, they will not show concern if you slide farther into abuse or if you get in trouble. Because your drug-taking friend’s behavior reinforces your behavior, you will continue to use substances, and addiction will become more severe.

Get Help When It’s Needed

The damage drugs and alcohol do to your brain and behavior not only affects you; it affects the well-being of your family and friends. You must find professional help to address your addiction and any underlying mental health issues. Fortunately, there are reputable treatment facilities nationwide that feature the specialized programs you need to break free and get healthy and happy. Make today the day you commit to get on the road to recovery.

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