What Drug Addiction Does 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 heart 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 what can drugs do to your heart and 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. 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 30-35% increase in aortic, higher blood pressure, and greater thickness in the left ventricle wall of the heart.1 

Additional side effects of drugs on the heart include:  

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

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

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

When considering 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 Banyan drug rehab locations offer various forms of addiction treatment, including substance-specific rehab programs, that can help people recover and reduce risks such as the ones mentioned above. 

Drugs That Cause Heart Damage 

Cocaine and other stimulants aren’t the only drugs that cause drug-induced heart failure and other side effects. 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.2 Drugs that can cause heart damage include: 

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

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.  

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



American Heart Association - Illegal Drugs and Heart Disease 

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Health Consequences of Drug Misuse 


Related Reading:  

Can Drug Abuse Cause Congestive Heart Failure? 

Does Xanax Cause Heart Problems? 

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.