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What Can Drugs Do to Your Heart?

What Drug Addiction Does to Your Heart

Your addiction isn’t just heartbreaking to your friends and family.

It may literally be destroying your heart. Drugs are bad for your heart. Even prescription drugs such as benzos and opiates can increase the risk of cardiac problems. The dangers of addiction for your heart, coupled with the long-term effects of drug abuse on the skeletal and nervous systems, show how important sobriety is for your health. Keep reading to learn the answer to “What can drugs do to your heart?” We’ll also explain how to catch the signs of drug-induced heart problems early. 

Signs of Heart Damage From Drugs 

There are numerous effects of drugs on the heart, with stimulants posing some of the highest risks. From drugs that increase heart rates to drugs that cause heart attacks, it is crucial to be able to recognize these risks and avoid potentially devastating physical consequences. Those who experience the most pronounced cardiovascular damage from drugs are likely to use stimulants like cocaine.  

The American Heart Association calls cocaine the perfect heart attack drug, explaining that cocaine users are more likely to experience issues associated with a markedly increased risk of a heart attack. This includes a 30% to 35% increase in aortic, higher blood pressure, and greater thickness in the left ventricle wall of the heart. 

Additional side effects of drugs on the heart include:  

  • Abnormal heart rate 
  • Blood or heart valve infections 
  • Collapsed veins 
  • Heart attack 
  • Heart murmurs 
  • Seizure 
  • Sepsis 

Furthermore, each of these conditions can lead to a variety of symptoms, including: 

  • Aching joints and muscles 
  • Anxiety 
  • Blood in the urine 
  • Bruising and discoloration of, or clammy and sweaty, skin 
  • Chest pains
  • Cold hands and feet 
  • Confusion or disorientation 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Fatigue 
  • Flu-like symptoms 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate 
  • Swelling of the feet, legs, or belly 
  • Unexplained weight loss 

When thinking about the question, “What can drugs do to your heart?” it becomes clear that sobriety isn’t just about getting healthy. It’s about saving your life. Addiction can damage your heart and virtually every major organ in your body. Our Sebring drug rehab offers various forms of addiction treatment, including substance-specific rehab programs, that can help people recover and reduce risks such as the ones mentioned above. This is accomplished through a variety of therapy programs that serve as the setting for significant introspection.

Drugs That Cause Heart Damage 

Cocaine and other stimulants aren’t the only drugs that cause drug-induced heart failure and other side effects. Intravenous (IV) drug users are incredibly susceptible to heart damage from addiction, as they expose their veins and entire cardiovascular system to risks of infection or foreign substance problems every time they shoot up. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists several drugs that have been shown to have negative effects on the heart or cardiovascular system. Drugs that can cause heart damage include: 

  • Cocaine 
  • DMT
  • Marijuana 
  • MDMA 
  • Meth 
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine 
  • Opiates 
  • PCP 
  • Peyote 
  • Stimulants 
  • Steroids 
  • Tobacco 

Can Drugs Cause an Enlarged Heart?

Yes, several medications have the potential to result in cardiomegaly, a condition in which the heart is enlarged. Certain substances can harm the cardiovascular system, particularly the heart when used or abused over time. Stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines, are one class of drugs that are known to contribute to cardiac enlargement. These drugs may cause blood vessels to narrow, blood pressure to rise, and an increase in heart rate, all of which can put a strain on the heart and cause it to grow over time.

Additionally, cardiomegaly from drugs may develop as a side effect of these substances used to treat specific medical disorders. For instance, prolonged use of several antipsychotic medications has been linked to a higher risk of developing an enlarged heart. Although the precise mechanisms by which these drugs enlarge the heart can differ, they frequently entail modifications to the structure and operation of the heart muscle.

Drug-induced cardiomegaly is a complicated issue that can be influenced by a number of variables, including the specific drug, dosage, length of use, and individual vulnerability. Consult with a healthcare provider who can offer individualized advice and support if you are worried about how particular medications may affect your heart health.

Can Your Heart Heal From Drug Abuse? 

In some cases, your heart can heal from drug abuse. Unfortunately for some, not all cardiovascular conditions caused by drug use are reversible.  

Pressing heart conditions or symptoms of heart damage must be addressed by a cardiovascular doctor. Prolonged sobriety is one of the best ways to prevent additional heart damage, and getting sober is important in treating any issues caused by addiction. To achieve this, we highly recommend that anyone struggling to seek out our resources for Sebring drug treatment.  

If you are looking to get sober to prevent additional heart damage, our Sebring, FL, drug rehab can help you recover. Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 to get started on the path of sobriety. 


  1. American Heart Association - Illegal Drugs and Heart Disease 
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse - Addiction and Health

Related Reading:  

Can Drug Abuse Cause Congestive Heart Failure? 

Does Xanax Cause Heart Problems?

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.