Many drugs can severely affect an individual’s state of mind, in many cases causing them great distress and impeding their ability to function properly. These effects can be seen not only in those who are intoxicated by drugs, but also those who are going through withdrawals. In some instances, drug use can lead to permanent psychological and physiological damage. However, in many addicts these effects can be reversed through treatment and support.
One of the most powerful ways in which drugs can affect a person’s mind is addiction. This is particularly so in the case of opiates like Heroin, which create a chemical dependency, and stimulant drugs like Cocaine that ‘light up’ pleasure centres in the brain associated with rewarding behaviour. As well as the actual physical cravings for the drugs, the psychological addiction can cause the individual to continually seek more of the drug, despite the obvious negative effects.
Often, individuals who are addicted to drugs will care for little in life besides getting their next ‘hit’ or ‘fix’, and in some cases they will do anything, including committing crimes, to get it. This in turn can lead them on a very destructive path that can be difficult to return from without professional help.
As well as addiction, some drugs can have powerful and long-lasting psychoactive effects. Abuse of some substances can lead to states of psychosis and delusion. Hallucinogenic drugs in particular have a radical effect on the way the brain works, and in long-term users, returning to everyday reality can be very hard.
Some drugs are also known to exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions, as well as triggering those which were previously latent.