Alcoholism and substance abuse have harmful and completely devastating effects on both individuals using the substance and their loved ones. Adults and children are all affected by abuse of substances, even unborn children are at risk due to narcotic-dependent parents.
The physical effects of drugs and alcohol alone are enough to make someone think about changing their life and habits for the better. Many individuals struggling with their addiction may not notice the long-term problems their abuse is causing on their bodies, here are some of the effects of these substances on the physical body.
- Addiction often results in a weakened immune system which increases the likelihood of developing illnesses and infections related to those diseases.
- Various heart conditions that range from heart attacks to damage within the small and large blood vessels due to injecting drugs.
- Liver damage can occur with prolonged consumption of alcohol and other substances that have to be filtered through the liver. This could result in liver failure.
- Seizures and stroke are also common effects of drug abuse, as well as mental confusion resulting from brain damage.
- Lung disease is another side effect of drug abuse and alcohol addiction. Emphysema, lung cancer, and chronic bronchitis can occur within individuals struggling with addiction.
- Decision-making skills can also be hindered by prolonged use of drugs and alcohol, making life difficult to manage.
- Opioids depress breathing, which can worsen conditions like asthma.
- Stimulants like cocaine cause damage to the heart every time they are used.
- Drugs that are injected into the system can cause veins to collapse over time.
- Kidney damage and failure can be the cause of the increased body temperature many drugs cause as well as dehydration and the breakdown of muscle tissue.
Mental Effects – Mentally, drugs are tiring and take a large toll on individuals and their processing. There are various short and long-term effects on the brain and mental functioning when it involves substances like drugs and alcohol. Mood regulation can be thrown out of whack with the use of drugs and alcohol. Substances fall into the category of either being a depressant or a stimulant. Depressants depress the nervous system, slowing down breathing and motor functions as well as brain activity. Stimulants do the opposite, increasing nervous system activity, such as increasing heart rate and giving users a feeling of energy and hyperactivity.
- Drugs that stimulate the system can cause paranoia and anxiety in individuals.
- There are instances of drug-induced anxiety that cause increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, and fear of losing control.
- Surroundings may feel strange and unreal, or you may think you are losing yourself or your sense of identity.
- Psychosis can be caused or exacerbated by stimulants, individuals may see or hear things that are not there and may lash out violently in fear.
- Depression can be a symptom of prolonged use. When stimulants are not in use, individuals can feel sad as their brains do not release dopamine as they would in a non-user.
- There may be times when you feel restless, irritable, tired, or feel as though nothing is pleasurable in life.
- Manic moods can become an issue, with users feeling as though they are on top of the world and in charge of everything when they are using a substance. These moods, however, are often temporary.
If you notice someone battling with their substance abuse and they show any of the following symptoms, speak with them or a professional immediately.
Help is out there for individuals that want to get clean and live a better and more prosperous life. The change can come if they stay dedicated to the course and get treatment.