The Medical Effects of Drug Abuse

The Medical Effects of Drug Abuse

People enjoy using and abusing drugs and other substances because they like the alteration in their mood and perceptions. But mood and perception are not the only things altered when chemicals are introduced into the body. Drugs touch most of the body systems and are likely to cause damage when they do.

Circulatory System

Drugs often affect the heart either dangerously speeding or slowing the rate at which it beats. Heart attacks are not an uncommon side effect of drug use. For those who inject drugs, infections in blood vessels and/or collapsed veins pose another danger. The liver is also taxed by drug use and may wind up damaged or destroyed entirely.

Endocrine System

Drug use can result in appetite and body temperature changes. In some cases, abuse leads to physical manifestations such as men developing breasts.

Central Nervous System

The brain is definitely affected by drug use. Drugs interfere with normal brain circuitry. Most often, the brain is washed over with the chemical dopamine which completely redirects the normal function of the body’s reward operation. Dopamine is behind the euphoric high that abusers crave. Drug use heightens the reward and pleasure sensations but it lowers the brain’s cognitive function. Drug abusers have more trouble reasoning through problems, staying attentive and making sound judgments.

Immune System

Drugs are notorious for weakening a person’s immunity to disease. Drug users are left more open to infections and sickness as a result.

Health Impact

Drug abuse also impacts the body’s health and well-being. To begin with, drug use alters the person’s perception and makes them vulnerable to accidental injury. People are injured, disabled and die as a result of drug abuse at an alarming rate. It is estimated that one out of every four deaths occurs as a result of drug use. Drug use also contributes to acts of violence, including domestic violence.

Behavioral Changes

Drug abuse usually negatively impacts relationships because it has a strong effect upon behavior. Drug users can become paranoid, impulsive and aggressive. Their motivation centers upon achieving their next high rather than on work, family, friends or other social obligations. Focus on drug use can lead to inattention to diet and personal hygiene and thereby change the person’s entire appearance. Intense cravings for the drug can even lead to criminal behavior in an effort to fund the addiction.

Drug users experience an intense but momentary high. The feelings of euphoria or changes in how they perceive their surroundings create cravings for more drug use. Rarely can a person escape addiction by their own efforts. It is possible to overcome drug abuse, but it most often will require the help of someone trained to help with addiction recovery. Sadly, those brief experiences sometimes cost many years and even lifetimes of medical and health effects in return.

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