Unlike the seen physical effects of addiction, the mental effects of addiction are harder to identify. The mental effects of addiction include things like emotional, memory, and behavioral changes. To make things harder, many drug and alcohol users have mental health issues prior to their substance use and addiction. To what extent does addiction cause these mental health effects?
Mental effects of addiction
Drugs and alcohol have potent effects on the brain and body. Despite their known adverse effects, people who are addicted cannot just stop at the snap of a finger. Addictive substances play upon several areas of the brain that control feelings of pleasure and pain.
Substances become addictive because they light up the reward system of the brain, which makes us crave and seek out the next “high.” The longer someone uses a substance or the higher dose they take, the more the body becomes dependent.