Side Effects of Injecting Drugs

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

an image of someone dealing with the side effects of injecting drugs

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Injecting drugs impacts your physical, mental, and emotional health. As a result, commonly injected drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and opioids have serious long-term side effects on the human body. Injecting drugs is a very dangerous activity because it can quickly lead to addiction. This can make long-term side effects worse and harder to overcome.
If you want to overcome the addictive cycle of injectable drugs, Renaissance Recovery can provide resources and tools to encourage healthy recovery and drug detox.

Side Effects of Injecting Drugs on the Brain

The brain naturally releases endorphins that make the human body feel happy and calm. When endorphins are released, our pain is masked. Commonly injected drugs include the same chemical makeup of the body’s natural endorphins. It is the reason many people associate “feeling good” when drinking alcohol or using other addictive substances.

Like our endorphins, when drugs are injected into the body, they attach themselves to opiate receptors in our brains. As a result, the brain is damaged and loses its ability to function normally.

When brain function is impaired, the body will start to experience additional side effects such as:

  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Paranoia and hallucinations
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Aggression and erratic behavior

A damaged nervous system may first impact your brain and mental health, but if left untreated will start to cause harm to other parts of the body.

Side Effects of Injecting Drugs on the Body

If you are injecting drugs regularly, the substance’s continued effects on your body will become clearer. As mentioned in the previous section, the nervous system begins to stop functioning properly. When the nervous system starts to weaken, so do your muscles.

Because your muscles are weaker, it becomes harder to walk or even move around. Accomplishing daily tasks such as getting out of bed, cooking, and cleaning will require much effort.

Injecting drugs does not only have an impact on your nervous system but other organs in the body as well. Commonly injected drugs such as heroin can cause a residue buildup in the body’s blood vessels. Consequently, the body’s kidneys, liver, and lungs will become at risk for serious infections. If you are injecting drugs you will need rehab to treat the core cause of addiction so you body can fully recover from both the physical and mental dependency.

Other Common Side Effects of Injecting Drugs

Intravenous or IV drug use affects everyone differently. Even something as small as someone’s state of mind when using drugs can cause very different reactions.

Aside from internal side effects, there are several physical changes the body will experience after frequent drug injections. Many people experience cold sweats, insomnia, extreme weight loss, seizures, and chest pains.

Side effects may also vary based on gender. For women, menstrual cycles can become irregular. For men, common drug use can cause a loss of sex drive. No matter what, however, the side effects will be significant.

Treatment for Commonly Injected Drugs

Although injecting drugs has extreme side effects on the body, it can be challenging to experience a drug detox without the help of professionals. A rehab center gives clients access to certified professionals and a variety of addiction treatment programs to support a lasting recovery. For example, our California addiction abuse treatment center offers programs and services such as:

Learn More About the Side Effects of Injecting Drugs at Renaissance Recovery

Intravenous drug use can quickly lead to addiction. Our team of certified experts can help you stop injecting drugs and overcome the long-term effects of substance abuse. Renaissance Recovery Center offers various addiction and substance abuse treatment programs to meet the unique needs of our clients. Contact our Renaissance Recovery’s substance abuse treatment center at [Direct] for more information.866.330.9449

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Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country