The psychoactive drugs people take to get relief from insomnia, exhaustion, pain, anxiety, guilt, and boredom are habit-forming for many people across the globe. Although some individuals are able to take mind-altering chemicals without becoming addicted, a combination of early experiences, underdeveloped coping skills, unhealed trauma, and genetic predispositions make some people more likely to become profoundly addicted to substances that are harming their minds, bodies, families, and spirits. If you are worried about a loved one struggling with the effects of drug addiction, or you are concerned about your own drug use, reach out to a drug rehab center and begin the path to lifelong recovery.
Physical Effects of Drug Addiction
Drugs can have a huge effect on the nervous system, especially the brain. In order to compensate for the abnormal surges of dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for the pleasurable sensation, the brain decreases the production, which leads to the person no longer deriving as much pleasure from his activities, including from using drugs, which leads to intake of greater amounts. The production of glutamate also slows down, and as a result, lapses in memory and impaired learning occur. Physical manifestations of drug addiction include:
- Enlarged or dilated pupils
- Sores, abscesses, and infections
- Weight fluctuations
- Organ failure and disease
- Cracked or broken teeth
Apart from the effects on the brain, drug addiction can cause heart and lung problems, stroke, and damage to the liver and kidneys. The abuse of prescription drugs, especially the antidepressants like benzodiazepines and stimulants like amphetamine, slow down the brain while also causing paranoia, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. Ultimately, drug addiction can lead to death. In fact, drugs are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Drugs can also be a cause of the death of unborn babies. Even if the baby survives, there is still a high risk that the baby will have developmental problems as well as behavioral issues.
The behavioral problems caused by drug addiction are even more apparent than the health problems. If the person is working or attending school, the drugs will affect his performance, ultimately leading to him skipping out of work or school. The person may also have frequent mood swings and a short temper, while at other times, appearing anxious or depressed. Behavioral marks of drug addiction include:
- Secrecy and social withdrawal
- Unprovoked anger
- Unexplainable exhaustion
- Lying and manipulation
- Financial or legal trouble
- Erratic or paranoid behavior
The person may also become secretive to the point of being suspicious and suddenly turn their back on the things they used to enjoy doing and the people they used to enjoy spending time with.
Drug users often end up in trouble with the law because using high doses of mind-altering chemicals causes cognitive impairments and erodes impulse control. Being addicted prevents people from becoming self-sufficient and present.
Addiction Harms Families
The effects of drugs on a person’s family may be even worse than the effects on the person who is addicted. Indeed, drug usage of a parent often leads to divorce or separation from his children, while the drug usage of a child also tears the family apart. The sad part is that instead of the family members seeking help for their loved one, they try to hide the problem and deal with it on their own and when they finally realize that they really need to seek professional help, everything is already too late, and too much damage has already been done. People who grow up around people who struggle with addiction are often more likely to develop unhealthy coping skills that lead them down the same path.
Drug addiction can be destructive to individuals, families, and entire communities. It eats away at a person’s health, behavior, and family life, goals, and hope for the future. Addiction ruins the things that matter most to a person. However, professional addiction treatment at The Arbor can help people take hold of their recovery for years to come.