Drug abuse is a worldwide epidemic, negatively impacting millions of families and individuals in the US alone each year. With millions of overdoses on record each year, understanding the effects of drug abuse is imperative at any age. Educating
Is Addiction a Disease?
Many people ask “is addiction a disease?” when referencing their own addictions or addictions of their loved ones. Addiction is often both a choice and addiction. While many individuals have a gene that causes them to be predisposed to addiction, they typically make the original choice of trying drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
How Do Drugs Affect the Body?
Knowing how drugs affect the body can help spot the signs and symptoms of addiction in loved ones or even in yourself. Drugs do not only cause long-term damage to internal organs, but the effects of drugs can often manifest both physically and psychologically. Understanding the negative effects of drugs and how do drugs affect the body is essential to prevent an overdose or to help spot addiction in a friend or family member in your own life.
Physical Effects of Drug Abuse
Serious drug abuse not only results in cognitive and long-term behavioral effects, but it can also result in physical effects. Some of the more common physical signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate an addiction in an individual include:
- Tremors and Shakiness: Uncontrollable tremors and shakiness are common among individuals with severe dependencies on drugs or alcohol. These are common withdrawal symptoms when an individual has not had enough of the substance they typically consume.
- Eye Changes: Redness of the eyes, as well as dilated pupils, are common physical signs of addiction.
- Digestive Issues: Nausea and vomiting may be prevalent in withdrawal from alcohol or other life-threatening substances that trigger a physical dependency such as opioids. Additionally, changes in bowel movements may occur. Diarrhea or increased constipation may become common.
Cognitive Effects of Drugs
Cognitive effects on the mind and brain are also common with heavy drug usage or long-term abuse. Depending on the substance used, cognitive effects may also occur even after only use. Some cognitive effects that are related to drug abuse include:
- Slurred Speech: Individuals who are impaired due to alcohol or drug use are likely to exhibit slurred speech. Incoherent speech patterns and conversations may occur if an individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if an individual has suffered long-term and permanent damage due to drug use.
- Confusion: It is much more likely to become confused when facing addiction. Individuals struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol may find themselves confused in everyday conversations and situations. Addressing and handling everyday responsibilities may become increasingly challenging without reason.
- Memory Loss: Memory loss may occur in those who have a serious and severe addiction to drugs and alcohol. Both short and long-term memory loss is possible with long-term drug abuse, especially when using substances such as alcohol, heroin, and prescription medications.
Behavioral Effects of Drug Abuse
Behavioral effects and changes are the most common to spot in those struggling with addiction. Watch for the following behavioral changes in yourself or in a loved one when addressing addiction:
- Increased Irritability: Increased irritability and agitation occurs with most addictions, especially addictions involving drugs and alcohol.
- Anxiety and Depression: Depression and anxiety come with many substance abuse addictions, especially as the addiction grows more serious. Anxiety and depression occur due to social withdrawal, isolation, and preoccupation with obtaining substances.
- Mood Swings: Uncontrollable and unpredictable mood swings may occur once an individual has developed a psychological or physical dependence on drugs or alcohol.
- Rage: Rage that has never been experienced before may happen once an individual has developed an addiction. Rage can be triggered by a physical addiction or by the inability to obtain additional drugs or alcohol after developing a serious psychological dependency on the substance. In some cases, individuals may become uncharacteristically violent with severe addictions.
Overcoming Drug Addiction
Understanding the negative effects of drugs and the importance of identifying signs and symptoms that are commonly associated with drug abuse is imperative to steer clear from addiction. When you are aware of how drug use affects the body and impacts those around you, choose to seek treatment from a rehabilitation center or program that is right for you.
If you are currently living in the Nashville, Tennesee area and need help with an addiction you or a loved one is facing, contact Music City Interventions. From intervention to aftercare, we help in the treatment program selection process, and ultimately, enable you to overcome addiction.