Difference Between Short Term Effects and Long Term Effects of Drug Abuse

When induced or taken into the body, drugs are chemicals that cause physical instability and mental imbalance. They alter the functions of the body and cause psychological disorders.


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Drugs can be legal or illegal depending on the type, quantity and other factors. The use of certain drugs is permitted in certain countries but may not be in other countries.

Several drugs are also found to treat and cure various illnesses in the human body. These are generally legal ones that are exceptionally produced for medical use.

Legal drugs can be obtained over the counter or by a prescription from a registered medical practitioner.

Key Takeaways

  1. Short-term effects of drug abuse refer to the immediate and often temporary effects of using a drug, such as altered mood, impaired judgment, and physical side effects.
  2. Long-term effects of drug abuse refer to the chronic and often permanent effects of drug use, such as addiction, mental health problems, and physical health problems.
  3. Both short-term and long-term effects of drug abuse can seriously affect an individual’s health and well-being.

Short-Term Effects vs Long-Term Effects of Drug Abuse

Short term effects can be temporary effects. Mood swings can be short term effects of using drugs. Anxiety is one of the symptoms of short term effects. Long term effects can be permanent effects. Problems related to mental health are long term effects of using drugs. Hallucination is one of the symptoms of long term effects.

Short Term Effects vs Long Term Effects of Drug Abuse

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Different drugs trigger different actions and mechanisms in the human body. The drugs bound to be legal can also be misused for purposes other than intended.

Illegal drugs are those that are forbidden by law for usage.

The overuse of drugs in humans can induce short-term as well as long-term effects. Drug abuse is nothing but wrong and incorrect usage of drugs, irrespective of legal or illegal.

Drug abuse habits can generally be overcome or changed over time.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonShort-Term Effects of Drug AbuseLong-Term Effects of Drug Abuse
Time DurationIt stays only briefly, and the effects diminish after proper treatment.It affects the body’s functions longer and can cause specific, irreversible changes if proper action is not taken.
SymptomsThe common symptoms are hangover, anxiety, panic attack, irritation, paranoia, etc.The common symptoms of long-term drug abuse are loss of appetite, hallucination, schizophrenia, depression, etc.
CharacterIt affects the behaviour of the person in an intermittent manner causing trouble in personal life.Affects the overall character, personality and lifestyle of the person.
Remedial ActionMonitoring the potential person carefully and placing the abused medicines safely prevents the problem from advancing to the next critical stage.Getting help from rehabilitation centres, enrolling in detox programs, spending time with loved ones and engaging in other productive activities can help a person recover.
TreatmentA simple treatment for a short period is sufficient for a person to recover from short time effects.Effective treatment, counselling and medication for a longer span may help a person recover from long time effects.


What are Short Term Effects of Drug Abuse?

Abusing drugs is very harmful and dangerous to the mind and body. Certain legal drugs can be obtained as prescribed medicines or over-the-counter that can cause short-term effects when used for a short amount of time.

Often people experience short-term effects of drug abuse without their knowledge of misusing it or taking it in higher quantities than what was prescribed.

The short-term effects stay for a smaller period and can be treated and cured if found and identified at an earlier stage. It can be determined by observing the general symptoms such as hangovers, headaches, vomiting, nausea, etc.

The treatment is straightforward and can be effectively cured with proper care and routine.

short term effects of drug abuse

What are Long Term Effects of Drug Abuse?

Certain prescription drugs cause changes and side effects on physical and mental health. It should be brought forward to the physician’s notice who recommended the particular drug.

The drugs should not be misused for improving the sleep pattern, improving the mind’s concentration, or energising oneself.

The long-term effects of drug abuse change the working pattern of the brain and affect the person’s physical and psychological character and lifestyle for an extended period.

It involves a time-consuming, complex treatment and medication combined with counselling to cure and treat an individual abusing drugs for an extended period.

long term effects of drug abuse

Main Differences Between Short-Term Effects and Long-Term Effects of Drug Abuse

  1. Both short-term and long-term effects of drug abuse have similar deteriorating results on a person’s physical and mental health. The main difference between Short Term Effects and Long Term Effects of Drug Abuse is short term effects stay for a lesser period and can be easily treated and cured. Still, the long-term effects remain in the long run, potentially destroying a person’s health rapidly if it is not correctly identified and treated.
  2. The symptoms of short-term effects of drug abuse, such as feeling irritated, sad and paranoid, are not immediately and easily identifiable. In contrast, a person with long-term effects of drug abuse, such as schizophrenia, depression, mood swings, hyperactivity and hallucination, can be easily identified. 
  3. Short-term effects of drug abuse lead to immediate recovery. Still, the long-term effects of abusing drugs involve a stringent routine and discipline and often have few setbacks in recovering from it.
  4. Short-term effects of drug abuse lead to nausea, watery eyes, loss of appetite, headache, etc., whereas long-term effects pose a severe risk to the physical health of an individual leading to abnormal weight loss, impaired vision, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
  5. The treatment for short-term effects of drug abuse is relatively simple and can be combined with some counselling to cure an individual. Still, treatment for long-term effects is brutal to cure and needs extensive medication and detox sessions.
Difference Between Short Term Effects and Long Term Effects of Drug Abuse
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/57/4/559.html?uid=1989-41065-001
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/N2JC-9DXB-BLFD-41EA
  3. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdfplus/10.2105/AJPH.84.9.1394
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