Drug abuse can cause users serious problems in the short term, but it can also create damage in the long term. In the most severe scenarios, drugs can give you permanent physical and mental health problems.

In this blog, we explore the most harmful effects of drug abuse, so you can be better informed on exactly what drugs are doing to you. If you are suffering from drug abuse and would like help to stop, contact The Cabin Addiction Treatment Centre in Singapore today at +65 3158 7621.

The Worst Long-Term Effects of Drug Abuse

What are the Long-Term Effects of Drug Abuse?

These are some of the most severe effects of drug use you can experience. The longer you use drugs and the more you take, the more likely you are to acquire one or more of these symptoms.

Permanent Brain Damage

When someone stops using drugs after a period of addiction they are often concerned that their brain is not functioning as it should. Drug dependence has meant that their mind does not work well without their drug of choice.

It can take some time for these changes to reverse. While some people find they feel much better after a few months of abstinence, it can take others up to two years to feel how they did before they began using drugs.

Unfortunately, sometimes the damage caused by drugs is so severe that changes are permanent. This is especially common when a person has been using particularly neurotoxic drugs like crystal methamphetamine, crack cocaine and PCP.

Alcohol is also known to cause lasting damage, particularly if someone has developed a “wet brain” (Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome). This condition, caused by a deficiency of thiamine in the brain, can cause irreparable damage in the brains of people with alcoholism.

Physical Health Problems

Drugs do not just damage the mind, they can also cause severe damage to the body. Physical effects of drug abuse include these issues.

Cardiovascular Disease

Stimulant drugs can cause lasting damage to your cardiovascular system. This initially manifests as heart palpitations, reduced aerobic functioning and chest pain. You may feel fatigued by activities you used to be able to do with ease. Ultimately the long-term effects of drug abuse can cause heart failure or heart attack.

Respiratory Problems

Drugs like crack cocaine and methamphetamine cause a great deal of harm when they are smoked. Users often experience respiratory issues such as chronic cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest pain.

If use is continued, the lungs can develop pulmonary damage or chronic bronchitis. These conditions are often irreversible.

Liver damage

The liver is a remarkably resilient organ. In cases of mild to moderate liver damage, the liver can regenerate and return to normal function within a few weeks to months.

However, if someone contracts viral hepatitis or has irreversible scarring (fibrosis) caused by substance abuse the liver may never repair fully. That being said, even when the effects of drug abuse have caused severe damage it is still possible for the liver to recover most of its function, so long as the person using drugs can achieve an extended period of abstinence.

At The Cabin inpatient addiction treatment centre in Chiang Mai, we provide medical check-ups for all of our clients. These help us highlight health problems that we can work on together. If our tests show that you have issues with your liver, we will support you to improve liver function, which will in turn create a positive improvement in your physical and mental health.

In cases of mild to moderate liver damage, such as fatty liver disease or mild hepatitis, the liver can often regenerate and return to normal function if the underlying cause is addressed and proper lifestyle changes are made. Studies have shown that the liver can recover from up to 70-80% of its tissue loss within a few weeks to months, given the appropriate conditions.

Are Drugs

Taking Over Your Life?

How Can I Recover from the Effects of Drug Abuse?

While it is not possible to recover from some of the most severe effects of drug abuse, the body and mind have an incredible capacity for healing. At The Cabin Inpatient Addiction Treatment Centre in Chiang Mai, we have supported people with the most debilitating substance addictions to recover fully.

We find that time and time again these are the most important factors involved in recovery from drug addiction.


Healing from addiction does not happen overnight. The mind and body need time to repair and get used to functioning without a constant intake of narcotics.


Exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce many of the harms caused by the effects of drugs. Regularly working out conditions your cardiovascular system and lungs, helps your organs to regenerate faster, and stimulates your brain to repair itself more quickly.

More strenuous exercise can be more effective, but remember to go at your own pace. If you are recently clean from drugs, taking it easy will help to prevent injuries.

Drug Addiction Treatment

Many people consider the damage to the brain and body to be the most impactful negative effects of drug abuse. And while these can have a lasting effect, the experiences you go through both before and during addiction can shape psychology and physiology long after you stop using drugs.

Often, people who have been through addiction feel suboptimal due to these traumatic interactions which have been stored in the body. These can be released using a variety of healing modalities.

The Cabin Chiang MaiThe Cabin uses techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, TRE, EMDR and group therapy in addition to experienced personal fitness trainers, holistic treatment and therapeutic Thai massage to bring wellness back to our clients. We find that those who attend our centre not only have an increased capacity to stay clean but that they also are able to heal so much faster than they otherwise could.

To speak with a member of our team on how we can help you recover from the effects of drug abuse, contact us on +65 3158 7621.

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