Common Diseases and Medical Conditions Associated with Drug Abuse

Short-term drug abuse can cause some very concerning medical issues. However, long-term drug abuse can bring about medical conditions and diseases that are difficult or impossible to cure. To best avoid these types of medical issues, those who suffer from drug abuse should seek help from their local substance abuse rehab centers.

Brain Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm is when a weak or thin blood vessel in the brain fills with blood and puts pressure on a nerve that surrounds brain tissue. These aneurysms can cause bleeding in the brain, which can lead to more issues related to reduced blood flow. In the most severe cases, stroke or tissue damage in the brain can occur.

Drug abuse has been related to brain aneurysms, more specifically, the abuse of cocaine and marijuana. It is believed that these drugs can inflame the artery walls, which cause them to weaken, which is what can result in an aneurysm.

Hepatitis B

Drug abuse can indirectly cause medical issues as well, such as Hepatitis B (HBV). This is done through the use of shared needles, when individuals shoot-up heroin or methamphetamines.

HBV is an infection that can last as little as six months, when it is acute. The immune system could have the ability to rid of the infection, but this is less likely for drug abusers. Because drug abuse can weaken the immune system, it might be harder for the body to shake a more chronic HBV infection. If this is the case, the infection can last a lifetime, causing more serious issues such as cirrhosis and even cancer.


Aside from being the result of HBV, cancer can be direct result of drug abuse. Nicotine and alcohol are notorious for causing cancer in the user, but other illegal drugs can bring about a similar fate. Steroids, for instance, can encourage tumors to grow in the liver, often causing liver cancer. Even in some cases, intense, long-term marijuana use has resulted in cancer.

Ultimately, drug abuse can take a toll on the body.This can act as a catalyst for the growth of cancer, as the weakened immune system is not able to fight against the growing tumors.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Like HBV, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be the result of shared needles in drug abuse. HIV is the virus that can cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

HIV destroys a particular kind of white blood cell, which is important to the functions of the immune system. Because the immune system is weak, it is unable to fight against the development of AIDS.

AIDS can cause infections in vital organs, unintentional weight loss and even the development of Kaposi’s sarcoma cancer.


When suffering from this disease, muscle tissue begins to break down, which releases a damaging protein into the bloodstream. Typically, rhabdomyolysis is caused by trauma done to the body, such as a car accident. However, when heroin is abused for a long period of time, it can actually cause this medical condition.

To avoid these devastating physical consequences of drug abuse, please contact us here at South Coast Counseling if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction.