health effects

The Top 10 Health Effects of Drug Abuse

Some individuals who take drugs do so in order to mask a problem in their life, whether physical or emotional.  Much like pushing messy clothes under the bed serves only to hide the problem and not resolve it, taking drugs also temporarily and artificially hides the problem.  They don’t resolve them and they create a host of problems of their own.

Drugs are chemicals that produce psychological changes in the way the body works in order to dull unwanted sensations and emotions.  Once a drug is ingested or otherwise administered to the body, it makes its way to the brain where it interferes with normal chemical signals.  This in turn can affect the messages that are carried through the brain and nervous system to the body.  It is the interruption of body messages and signals that give the individual the impression that the painful sensation or emotion is gone.  However, these same chemically-induced communication interruptions can also cause dangerous side effects to the person’s overall health.

Health Issues Caused by Drug Abuse

Individual drugs have their own specific list of side effects, but there are some health effects of drug abuse that are common:

1. Addiction

Continuous drug use can cause physical and mental addiction, wherein the individual is driven to use drugs despite the adverse effect they are having on their life.  The drug addict may desire to quit and may even try to beat their addiction but may find it extremely difficult or even impossible to do so.

2. Mental illness

The constant highs and lows created by drug use can affect an individual’s mental state, causing them to feel depressed, irritable, paranoid or anxious.  Unfortunately, the individual’s solution is to take more drugs, which can cause greater mental illnesses.

3. Insomnia

The chemical changes in the body caused by drugs can affect the individual’s normal patterns of sleeping.  An individual who is abusing drugs is often unable to sleep normally at night, and is therefore often very tired and unproductive during the day.

4. Weight loss

A drug addict is rarely concerned with eating healthy, regular meals.  Furthermore, the chemicals in drugs can leech nutrients out of the addict’s body, causing them to experience dramatic and unhealthy weight loss.

5. Liver damage

The liver’s job is to filter blood that comes from the digestive tract before it moves on to other areas of the body. It also detoxes chemicals and metabolizes drugs, but can easily become overloaded and damaged with constant, heavy drug use.

6. Clouded awareness

As drugs alter the communication channels in the body, they can cloud an individual’s awareness and may lead to dangerous decisions like unsafe sex.

7. Impaired reaction time

Altered communication channels in the body mean that messages may take longer to arrive or may get lost altogether.  Drug abusers usually have dangerously reduced reaction time, and may cause accidents that sober individuals could have avoided.

8. Changes in heart rate and blood pressure

Depending on whether the drug is a stimulant or sedative, it can act to increase or slow down the individual’s heart rate and blood pressure.

9. Headaches

Whether they are due to the chemical changes in the brain or the depletion of body nutrients, regular migraine headaches are not uncommon in drug abusers.

10. Reduced immune function

Drug abusers are frequently ill, often with serious illnesses like influenza, stroke and heart attack.  The constant barrage of chemicals on the human body destroys healthy immune function.

It is important to remember that drugs only suppress the symptoms of a problem.  Just like taking an Advil will not reset a broken arm, taking drugs will not resolve a problem with work, family or finances.  Considering that drugs not only fail to resolve the problem for which they were taken but also create many new problems, the wiser choice may be to seek help in confronting and handling problems rather than turning to drugs.

Sources:

http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs/health-effects

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/whoami/findoutmore/yourbrain/howdodrugsaffectyourbrain/whatisadrug.aspx

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