29 Jul Getting Clean Knowing your Body May Never Fully Recover from Drug Abuse
Recovering from an addiction is one of the most difficult and bravest things you will ever do in your life. Whether you are addicted to prescription medication, alcohol or illegal substances, your journey will be full of obstacles. Some of challenges that you will face include: depression, irritability, anxiety, nausea, vomiting and muscle tension. Despite these hurdles, it is important to continuously remind yourself of why you are coming clean: addiction is quite likely ruining your life.
Keep this in mind when you read the following paragraphs: your family loves and needs you. Repeat this to yourself as you take in some of the damage that may be irreversible. Indeed, some of the effects of drug abuse will be with you your entire life.
Stimulants are those drugs that elevate your mood and make you feel euphoric. It’s somewhat understandable why someone would want to boost their mood in such a seemingly simple manner. Cocaine, methamphetamines ("crystal meth"), MDMA or "ecstasy" and even nicotine all classify as stimulants.
These drugs, mostly available through illegal means (except for nicotine), give an instant "high." They release chemicals in the brain that make you feel awake, energetic and happy. These are only the short-term effects. According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, long-term use of such drugs causes the blood vessels within the body narrow, which makes the heart work harder and eventually lose its rhythm. Inevitably, the brain tells you that you need the drug to feel good. It eventually changes the brain and users become paranoid, have hallucinations, severe mood swings, panic attacks and psychosis.
We don’t need to look far to see the devastating, long-term effects of alcohol abuse. It is estimated that about 1 in 6 Americans have a drinking problem. The most obvious effect is emotional, with family and friends wanting to distance themselves from you. However, even after years of sobriety, many still feel linger effects from alcohol abuse. The liver is heavily damaged by alcohol and heavy drinkers can suffer from hepatitis and cirrhosis. Cancer is more likely in heavy drinkers – specifically that of the liver, mouth, esophagus and breast.
Physicians with good intentions prescribe many drugs. They are used to calm nerves, reduce pain or aid in sleeping. Unfortunately, many become hooked on the euphoric effects of these medications and begin to abuse them. The repercussions are devastating.
Ritalin is one such drug that can cause a plethora of problems when used and abused long-term. Ritalin is a stimulant that counteracts the effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). When abused over long periods of time, Ritalin can cause psychosis, organ damage, high blood pressure, depression and strokes. It is commonly abused by being injected or snorted in large quantities – two methods that are not recommended as they put too much strain on the body.
Of course these drugs are only the tip of the iceberg. Other drugs in the classes of inhalants, depressants, hallucinogenics and steroids each come with their own set of risks. Some of the devastating long-term physical effects may not be reparable, but the relationships that you have destroyed along the way might be.
- Get support. Find a treatment facility or recovery group in your area. They will be your best means of support while you are overcoming addiction. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous will give you strength and help you overcome challenges following rehab.
- Reach out to family and friends. Talk to you family about your decision to change. Most will be supportive.
- Take care of yourself. Eat well, get exercise and take part in something spiritual. These will encourage the body to heal.
- Look toward the future, rather than at the past. Recognize that your past wrongs have hurt people, and make an honest effort to be a better person in the future. Life is too short to relieve old grievances. Take part in community events, volunteer your time and show your partner that you love them.
If you are already addicted to drugs and fear that it’s too late to stop, it’s not. Many former addicts go on to lead very successful lives. Fergie, the lead singer for the well-known pop group The Black-Eyed Peas, is a former methamphetamines addict. She admits to wasting away to 90 pounds and suffering from delusions and psychosis. She is no longer a drug user and instead finds an outlet in her music. Anthony Kiedis of the funk/rock group the Red Hot Chili Peppers abused heroin for years, starting at the age of 14. Today he is drug and alcohol free.
While you may not be a singer or a rock star, you can have your own success story. Don’t be discouraged by the scary damage that may have already occurred in your body. Instead, focus on preventing further damage and healing relationships.
Find relief in recovery. Life gets better with addiction treatment.
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