Whether they’re illicit or prescribed for legitimate medical reasons, mood-altering substances can be physically and psychologically additive and change the actual chemical makeup of a person’s brain.
No one starts experimenting with drugs with the idea that they’ll end up struggling with full-fledged drug addiction. The justifications all make sense in the moment — it’s just for pain relief, a little buzz, an escape, mindless fun at a party. They’ll never become a statistic.
How dependency works is drugs over-activate the brain’s reward center, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). With the passage of time and continued use, drug addiction makes it difficult for someone to feel any kind of pleasure without using the substance.
If that reality wasn’t scary enough, drug addiction can have a significant impact on key organs including the heart, liver, and lungs and hinder cognitive development, depress respiration, cause seizures, and in some cases, lead to cardiac arrest.