IV drug use is a serious problem that has been on the rise in recent years. It can have devastating consequences, not only for the person using the drugs but also for their family and friends. The long-term effects of IV drug use can be far-reaching. Additionally, they can lead to serious physical and mental health problems financial problems, legal consequences, and more.
The physical consequences of IV drug use can be wide-ranging and include things like:
- Skin infections or lesions caused by improper injections.
- Collapsed veins due to repeated needle use.
- Abscesses or tissue damage around injection sites.
- Heart valve infections.
- Hepatitis B and C infections.
- Pneumonia is due to unstable blood pressure levels resulting from vasoconstriction caused by injected substances.
These are just some examples. Many other dangerous physical side effects are associated with using intravenous drugs over time.
In addition to physical effects, long-term intravenous drug users often experience serious mental health problems. These include depression or anxiety disorders due to their substance abuse habits impacting their brain chemistry over time. Other psychological issues which may arise include delusions or hallucinations brought on by intense highs. Extreme lows occur when coming down off a “high” after taking certain drugs.
Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for users to suffer from addiction-related paranoia or suicidal thoughts. These thoughts can occur either during periods of withdrawal or while under the influence of certain substances, they take intravenously. This is especially true if they have taken high dosages regularly enough over extended periods.
Behavioral changes linked directly to prolonged IV drug usage might manifest in specific ways. They include erratic outbursts, violent tendencies, lack of empathy towards others, stealing, lying, manipulating relationships, etc. It is worth noting that emotional changes can differ widely between each person.
Long-Term Effects of IV Drug Use Types
Heroin, meth, and cocaine and three of the most common drugs used intravenously.
Heroin is an opioid drug that produces a feeling of intense euphoria and relaxation when it’s injected intravenously. Long-term effects of using heroin include:
- Physical and psychological dependence
- Decreased respiration
- Heart damage
- Liver disease
- Increased risk for HIV and other infectious diseases (due to needle sharing)
Meth is a powerful stimulant that can produce feelings of extreme energy and alertness as well as heightened sexual arousal if taken in large enough doses. Long-term use can lead to:
- Anxiety disorders
- Visual and auditory hallucinations
- Violent behavior changes in brain chemistry, potentially resulting in irreversible cognitive impairments.
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that gives users an intense rush followed by feelings of confidence, power, pleasure, elevated energy levels, and decreased appetite. When injected intravenously, however, its long-term effects are much more severe than when snorted or swallowed. Since the body absorbs higher concentrations into the bloodstream very quickly, some potential consequences may include:
- Paranoid delusions
- Cardiovascular problems
- Kidney failure
Wounds and Physical Indicators of IV Drug Use
Physical signs someone might be using drugs intravenously would consist primarily of visible wounds such as abscesses, sores, lesions, track marks, and bruising around and near the injection sites where they repeatedly insert needles into their skin.
In addition, there is a risk of pushing contaminants inside the veins, causing infection and further complications down the road. If left untreated long enough, without proper medical attention, infections can spread to other areas of the body and even lead to sepsis, which can cause organ failure, shock, and death.
Can the Long-Term Effects Of IV Drug Use Be Reversed?
The short answer here is yes. However, it depends upon individual circumstances, how severe the symptoms are, and whether the person is addicted to one or multiple substances. Others are the length of time drugs were used intravenously, and their overall physical and mental health.
Taking the first steps to recovery with a personalized treatment program tailored to the individual’s specific needs ensures better success for sober long-term. Additionally, while certain types of long-term damage may never be reversed fully, the damage might not continue to worsen once the person has discounted IV drug use.
How Detox Can Help
Detox can help with the long-term effects of IV drug use. It helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and stabilize an individual’s physical and mental health. Detox helps to start the process of addressing underlying issues that may have contributed to the development of addiction, such as stress, trauma, or depression.
As well as helping individuals cope with withdrawal symptoms, detox provides support and recovery tools, such as therapy sessions and relapse prevention strategies. Therefore, it is essential for individuals who have been using intravenous drugs over a long period to seek professional medical treatment. Here, they can address their substance use issues effectively.
It is important to remember that everyone’s experience with IV drug use will be different. Some may suffer more serious side effects, while others may only experience minor withdrawal symptoms. However, one thing remains true, the long-term effects of IV drug use can be incredibly damaging physically, mentally, and emotionally. So it is essential to seek professional help through medical detox and rehab for the best outcomes and brighter future.
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