Abusing drugs or alcohol has a negative impact on the health of the body. Recognizing the potential effects of substance abuse is essential for any individual, particularly if a loved one is showing signs of an addiction. Depending on the situation, the best solution for recovery will vary; however, the negative effects of addiction can provide the motivation to seek professional help.
Mental Health Disorders
Addiction is not limited to the negative physical aspects. It also changes the chemical balances in the brain and body. Over time, it may cause severe depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. In other situations, an existing mental health disorder worsens because the substance causes a downward spiral.
Although mental health disorders do not develop in every situation, withdrawal symptoms can also mimic the signs of a mental health disorder. For a short period of time, an individual may become suicidal, severely depressed, anxious, or experience mood swings. Thus, it will be required to undergo anxiety or depression treatment.
Damage to Internal Organs
The specific organs that are harmed by an addiction vary based on the substance. For example, an addiction to tobacco and cigarettes impact the lungs and increases the risk of lung cancer. On the other hand, alcohol addiction damages the kidneys and the liver.
Regardless of the specific substance, an addiction to any drug or alcohol causes damage to the internal systems and the body. The risk of organ failure depends on the duration of an addiction, but Scholastic reports that damage to the internal organs occurs in many cases when an individual is addicted to a substance.
Heart Attacks and Stroke
Although the heart is not always directly damaged by substance abuse, certain drugs will increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. For example, cocaine increases the risk of increasing the heart rate and blood pressure, reports Medicine Net. When the heart rate or blood pressure increases, the heart works harder to send blood throughout the body. As a result, a heart attack can occur.
A stroke has a similar risk as a heart attack because there is a possibility of blood clots in the brain. Since high blood pressure increases the risk of a stroke, an addiction to certain substances can directly cause a stroke.
Risk of Diseases
There are three main ways that substance abuse increases the risk of certain diseases: it increases risk-taking behaviors, individuals may share needles or similar items with others, and the immune system weakens.
Diseases that develop depend on several factors, including the specific situation. For example, risk-taking behaviors that occur after substance abuse can result in sexually-transmitted diseases. Sharing needles or similar items with others can increase the risk of STDs or hepatitis.
Sicknesses related to a weak immune system also develop after an addiction. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World reports that regular heroin abuse increases the risk of tuberculosis because the body’s condition is poor.
Regular substance abuse and addiction increase the risk of certain cancers. Even after an individual works on recovery and has not abused a substance for an extended period of time, he or she may develop certain forms of cancer.
The risk of cancer reduces over time as an individual avoids substance abuse; however, a long-term addiction to any substance can directly contribute to the development of cancer.
Abusing drugs or alcohol has a negative impact on the body. When an individual develops a physical dependence on the substance, he or she may face challenges when working on recovery. Fortunately, professional treatment for addiction recovery and medical conditions that develop after an addiction help reduce the potential challenges and make it possible to obtain a drug-free lifestyle.