How much do you really understand about the negative health effects of drug use? Thanks to harmful stereotypes and negative media representation there is a lot that many do not understand about the disease of addiction. In addition, addiction is simply the uncontrollable and dangerous use of drugs or alcohol. Moreover, addiction is a powerful disease that impacts everyone around it mentally, physically, and emotionally. For this reason, it is so important that addicts and loved ones alike understand the true nature of addiction. It becomes hard to know how to deal with addicts because substances have such a strong pull on their life. The substance unfortunately becomes their priority.
Information on addiction can sometimes be confusing or hard to find. Thankfully today we will breakdown all you need to know about addiction and its negative effects. Also, we can help you find a treatment program that will help you find the tools to reverse these negative effects. Give us a call today at (912) 214-3867. The sooner you can control addiction, then the simpler achieving recovery will be.
Continue reading to explore the impacts addiction has on your physical health. If you require additional support, then please contact our experts for all of the resources you need.
Your Brain on Drugs
Ever wonder how an addicted brain works? One of the major negative effects of drug abuse is the effect drugs and alcohol have on the brain. The brain is a person’s command center. It influences our body’s functions and our perception of day to day events. Furthermore, an addicted brain is a sick brain. However, in a healthy brain, good behavior is reinforced thanks to the feeling of pleasure. A lot of daily life makes people feel good. Think of your favorite food, the thrill of romance, or friendship. The brain loves the feeling pleasure brings, so naturally, it wants to repeat the pleasurable activity. The “happy hormone” dopamine is responsible for this feel-good cycle.
Furthermore, what draws people to drugs in the first place? Well, it is the pleasure principle we mentioned earlier. Drugs give the user an intense burst of pleasure and this burst happens chemically in the brain as well. Drugs produce large surges of dopamine in the brain that teach it to seek drugs at all costs. It is a very dangerous cycle because the pleasure one gets from drugs often trumps what they would get from healthier activities.
This is why a person who misuses drugs eventually feels flat, without motivation, lifeless, and/or depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that were previously pleasurable. Now, the person needs to keep taking drugs to experience even a normal level of reward—which only makes the problem worse, like a vicious cycle. Also, the person will often need to take larger amounts of the drug to produce the familiar high—an effect known as tolerance.
This is why suggestions like “just stop” do not work. Because drugs impact the body on such a neurochemical level that a simple change of actions oversimplifies the issue.
Alcohol and the Brain
Next, it is not just hard drugs like heroin that have harsh impacts on the brain, the popular substance alcohol takes a pretty major toll on the brain and body as well. Alcohol might just be the most acceptable intoxicant on the planet, but it is far more powerful than you may think. Alcohol disrupts the brain’s communication pathways. In addition, it even impacts the way the brain works and looks. This alcohol-induced interference can alter behavior and mood. This leaks into physical consequences like poor movement and problems thinking clearly.
Moreover, mental effects can turn physical. Everything drugs and alcohol do to the brain eventually trickles into the body. This is why it is equally important to understand how drugs affect the body. Plus, substance abuse has a range of both short-term and long-term negative health effects on the individual.
Short–Term Effects of Using Drugs
No two drugs are made the same. The short-term negative health effects of drug use on the body depend on the substance being abused. Other factors like the frequency the drug is taken, how much of the drug is consumed, and the person themself, play a role. In general, short term effects can range from changes in appetite, wakefulness, heart rate, blood pressure, and/or mood to heart attack, stroke, psychosis, overdose, and even death. However, it only takes one use for some of these effects to take place. If you are suffering the effects of addiction, then call us today. Our experts will work with you to find the best treatment option for your needs.
Impacts of Long-Term Drug and Alcohol Use
Now, it is important to know that the continued use of drugs and alcohol can have lasting impacts on the body. One long-term effect many may notice when it comes to addiction is risky behavior. Drug users typically exhibit long-term behaviors that put themselves or others in physical damages. For instance, some general examples include:
- Needle sharing: This increases the possibility of the user contracting a variety of infectious diseases including HIV or hepatitis.
- Unsafe sex: Along with the risk of unplanned pregnancy, unprotected sex can lead to the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Reckless driving: Driving while intoxicated or high can be fatal. This risk not only can put the addict in harm’s way but it is a crime that can endanger complete strangers.
- Incarceration: Using drugs illegally can land addicts in jail which has an impact on their futures and their health. They may not have access to adequate treatment or may find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of crime, all to get their fix.
Long-term use also has very specific effects on the body which we will take a look at now.
Effects on the Heart
The heart is another pivotal part of the human body. So, it is scary to think that drug and alcohol use could have negative effects on its functionality. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol have a good deal of impact on the heart. For example, these are some of the way’s addiction can affect your heart:
- Studies have found that most drugs can have adverse cardiovascular effects, ranging from abnormal heart rate to heart attacks. Smoking tobacco substantially increases the risk of heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, and vascular disease.
- Researchers are now reporting that the use of e-cigarettes significantly increases a person’s risk of developing chronic lung diseases like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Injection drug use can also lead to cardiovascular problems such as collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.
These effects are dangerous and costly. However, the effects do not end here. Do not wait until it is too late. Call us today. Our specialists care about you, and your health. They are here to help you get back on your feet. Do not hesitate. Call today and get a jump start on your new life now.
Drugs Impact on Your Breathing
Ever wonder why the term “smokers’ lungs” came about? Well, drugs take a major toll on your respiratory system. The respiratory system includes your lungs and is responsible for healthy breathing. The majority of drugs interfere with the normal functions of the respiratory system. Bronchitis, inflammation of the airways that carry air to your lungs, has been linked to smoking marijuana and cigarettes. One of the worst effects of cigarettes is the risk of lung cancer. Plus, the smoke from cigarettes passes some of its harmful respiratory effects to others, this is known as second-hand smoke. Other drugs like opioids and cocaine cause severe respiratory problems, especially for those diagnosed with asthma.
The Risk of Kidney and Liver Damage
Addiction also has lasting effects on the kidney and liver. Drug use may cause your kidneys to become severely damaged and even fail altogether. Whereas chronic use of substances like heroin, inhalants, and steroids (appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs), may lead to significant damage to the liver. This damage can be worse when these drugs are combined with alcohol or other drugs.
How Addiction Impacts Your Hormones
Now that the devastation drug use does to the body internally is understood, it is important to discuss the outward physical changes that addiction creates. Performance-enhancing drugs like steroids, negatively impact the body’s hormone production. While thankfully some impacts are reversible others leave long-term damage. For instance:
- Shrunken testicles
- Inordinate body hair growth
- Women may experience male-pattern baldness
Sadly, infertility and inordinate baldness is not the only long-term hormonal impact on women. The trend of long-term consequences can trickle into the birth process.
Studies show that various drugs may result in miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and a variety of behavioral and cognitive problems in the child. A baby can also be born dependent on the drug if the mother uses it regularly—a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome.
This sad fact reiterates the point that the negative effects of drug use impact people in complex and often devastating ways. Fortunately, there are more ways to deal with addiction now than ever before.
Breaking the Cycle of Addiction
Ultimately, drug and alcohol use take a major toll on the body. Substance abuse causes issues as simple as vomiting or as devastating as cancer. If you or your loved one is addicted it is important to address the issue before it spirals out of control. Take the step to ask for help, it does not make you weak. In fact, professional help is the only tried and true treatment for addiction.
To summarize, if you are already in recovery you have a lot to be proud of. Keep it up and be patient. The physical consequences of drug abuse sometimes take a while to overcome but you are on the right track. If you have just begun to notice that you are misusing substances, the knowledge you have gained from this article can help you find treatment. There is a large variety of options for you and we can help you find them. However, the most loving act you can do for yourself or your loved one is to act promptly. Do not let addiction continue to destroy your body, give us a call today at (912) 214-3867. Above all, health is the most valuable thing we have.
Written By: Meccah Muhammad
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