Addiction can have many long-lasting effects, especially if you have struggled with it for an extended time. Addiction not only affects your body; it also affects your relationships, finances, career path and more. The long-term effects of addiction show that it is not worth the pain and trouble for temporary pleasure. Learning about addiction’s long-term effects can help discourage and educate individuals on drug and alcohol abuse. 

The Physical Consequences

Addiction affects your body in various ways. Numerous physical health issues can occur that can be permanent if use is not stopped and help isn’t sought. Multiple parts of the body can be affected, causing many health problems that may completely heal and cause problems later in life.

The Heart

The heart is one of the most affected parts of the body when one struggles with addiction. Many substances can cause cardiovascular issues such as raised blood pressure and heart rate, collapsed veins, irregular rhythms, bacterial infections and possible heart attacks. Injecting illegal drugs also can lead to cardiovascular problems, such as collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.

The Brain

Drugs and alcohol can permanently alter your brain as your tolerance builds up over time. Your brain will become accustomed to the drugs’ effects and therefore crave the substance even when it negatively affects your life. Your reward circuit will be compromised, and you may also develop symptoms of a mental health disorder, which can make your addiction worse.

The Lungs

The lungs are significantly affected over time if you smoke or inhale your substance of choice. These methods of drug use can cause your breathing to slow, which can cause serious health problems later on. You can also cause direct damage to your respiratory system.

The Liver

Alcoholism is known to cause liver failure, but it can also be caused by prolonged use of opioids, inhalants, steroids or DXM. Because your liver clears out toxins from the body, it can become overworked when long-term addiction occurs. This overworking of the liver can cause scarring, cancer, chronic inflammation and tissue necrosis. 

The Kidneys

Your kidneys take a lot of damage from addiction over the years that can cause dehydration, raised body temperature, and muscle breakdown. Kidney failure can occur because of long-term use of certain substances. 

The Mental Consequences

Your brain can become damaged over time due to drug or alcohol addiction. However, this results in not only physical damage but also mental and behavioral consequences. Over time, you can begin developing symptoms of a mental health disorder, known as a co-occurring disorder resulting from addiction, or your already-present mental health disorder could worsen. In fact, over time, you could be subject to fits of paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations and more. Your behavior may change as well. You may be more likely to lie to friends and family, hang around bad influences, begin acting suspicious or hiding things, or getting into legal trouble.

Financial Problems

In addition to addiction’s physical effects, the disease can also cause extreme strain on your finances. Many individuals with addiction may prioritize substances over necessities such as rent, groceries, other bills and more. The cost of buying drugs or alcohol continuously stacks up, and eventually, you can begin losing sight of what’s essential. Eventually, you may start falling behind on house payments or rent, resulting in foreclosure or eviction. 

Over time, you may also lose your job due to poor work performance due to your addiction. When you lose your job, this means you may not have a monthly income, meaning you do not have a way of supporting your addiction or even yourself. When individuals struggle with money, there is the possibility of turning to illegal activities to obtain their needs. These acts can result in legal trouble, leading to fines, legal fees and more. 

Legal Problems

Unfortunately, legal problems may follow addiction. Those struggling with addiction may find themselves lying, cheating and stealing to support their habit. There is also the possibility of being arrested for your actions while under the influence, such as driving, disorderly conduct, public intoxication and more. You may be fined heavily or even spend time in prison due to your actions. This record can follow you around even after you get sober, so it is crucial to get help early on. This way, you can avoid more legal trouble in the future.


The long-term effects of addiction show that temporary pleasure is not worth the damage to your physical body and overall well-being. Addiction can reach many areas of your life and affect them in different ways, none of which are beneficial to you or your life’s direction. The Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford has seen the tragic impact of addiction firsthand, and we strive to help each of our patients recover and live a lifelong, happy life of sobriety. Our programs are tailored to meet your exact needs with various therapies, recreation, social time, educational group sessions and more offered at our beautiful Medford, New Jersey, facility. We believe in treating the whole person and healing naturally among the pines. Being surrounded with support helps recovery take hold, and your individualized treatment plan gives you the lifelong tools to help you establish and maintain recovery long after you leave us. We understand that you may have some reservations about treatment, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today at (877) 557-5372. Healing starts among the pines.