When a person takes recreational drugs, whether legal substances like alcohol or illicit substances like cocaine, the intoxicants are ingested specifically to cause a pleasant or euphoric effect. People who abuse drugs for nonmedical reasons can suffer long-term health problems due to repeated abuse or dangerous combinations of drugs. In addition, addictive substances can lead to dependence, tolerance, and overdose, all of which are physically dangerous.
However, recreational drugs also lead to short-term side effects. Even if a person is not addicted to the substance, taking a potent drug or ingesting too much of an intoxicating substance can lead to symptoms the next day as the body attempts to balance brain chemistry again. Many people ingest drugs and neglect food and water intake, which can lead to painful physical side effects from dehydration, hunger, or a lack of nutrients.