Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Substances are bad! This is not breaking news. They damage your health and relationships. People get into drugs for different reasons, some due to experimentation, peer pressure or emotional problems. Once you get into substance use, your life is no longer the same. Drugs impact your mental and physical health which can be fatal if the abuse is not treated. The impacts of drug abuse can be felt not only by the family, but even the society is affected.

The cravings for substances are very strong and might make one do shameful things such as stealing from the family or employer to get money to buy the drugs. If one is caught, they might face the legal consequences of theft. An addict’s behavior is dishonorable and may make the family members lie to cover up their behavior or isolate themselves from communal or the extended family’s activities.

Effects of Drug Abuse

drug addictionSubstances are chemicals that affect the functioning of the brain and body. Drugs are different, and so are their dangers. Some cause permanent health impacts which can continue even after one quits using them, while others have effects that can be treated. There are multiple ways of taking substances depending on the drug; injection, ingestion, and inhalation.

Short-term effect of substances may depend on how the drug is taken. For instance, substances which are injected, affects the user instantly, since they get into the blood directly, whereas for ingestion it might take some time. All substances, despite the method used to consume them, affect the brain. Drugs trigger the secretion of large amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that assists in regulating feelings, motivation, and joyful emotions to the brain hence being “high.”

The following are some dangers of abusing substances;

1. Health
Effects of drugs on the body often depend on the substance taken, amount, how it is consumed, and the person’s health. The effects range from short-term to long-term. Short-term effects of a substance abuse on the body can include loss of appetite, alertness, insomnia, heart rate, blood pressure, mood swings, and many others. The short-term effects can be experienced even after consuming the substance once.

Long-term impacts can be heart complications, lung problems, cancer, mental illness, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and many others. These occur after a period of abuse of the substances, and some may be permanent. Drugs alter the functioning of the central nervous system. It interferes with a person’s normal pleasures like sex and food. Also, abuse of substances weakens the immune system, making a person more vulnerable to diseases.

Long-term use of a substance can permanently damages the brain through the destruction of the brain cells. It alters how a person thinks, learns, retains, and understands information. As one continues using the substance, the functioning of the central nervous system declines gradually. The abuse of drugs triggers depression and anxiety.
Moreover, when one starts abusing drugs, their decision-making process changes; they might lose memory and ability to learn. These changes in the brain make it difficult for one quit the substance, though it might be damaging his or her health. One may get into substance use with the thought that they are casual users, and that the drug has no effect on their health.

Heavy consumption of alcohol can put the user at higher risk of health complications such as cancer, anaemia, liver cirrhosis, depression, hypertension, and many other chronic diseases. Drugs abuse doesn’t affect the user only, but even those around them. They get stressed and their health is affected. Most cases they blame themselves for their loved one’s behavior.

Drug Abuse and Pregnancy

Substances contain harmful impurities that can affect the growth of the unborn baby. Pregnant women who consume drugs may harm the baby through their poor feeding habits. Use of drugs while you are pregnant, puts the fetus in a great danger. One may experience miscarriage, low development rate of the fetus, and complications of the growing placenta.
Also, at birth, the baby can be underweight or have withdrawal symptoms, sometimes in the form of the neonatal abstinence syndrome. In some sad circumstances, drug use may claim the life of the mother and the baby. If you are already expectant and abusing drugs, you should seek medical attention immediately for you to have a healthy pregnancy.

Common Drugs and their Effects on the Body

Different drugs affect your body in different ways, but the most impact on your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. The following are three common types of drugs and how they affect your body.

detoxI. Depressants
Just from the name, “depressants” they “depress” the function of the brain. They slow down the transmission of signals from the central nervous system. If depressants are consumed in small quantities, they can make you calm, and less inhibited. Taking large quantities of the substance can cause vomiting, nausea, or death. They impact on your concentration, coordination, and reaction time to situations.
Examples of depressants include alcohol, cannabis, opiates (heroin, codeine,) and benzos. One should not operate heavy machines while under the influence of depressants.
II. Stimulants
Stimulants stimulate or “speed up” the functioning of the brain. They increase the speed of sending signals to and from the central nervous system. This makes the person using the stimulant to be more alert and self-assured, which can increase heart rate, body temperature, loss of appetite, insomnia, and blood pressure. If one consumes stimulants in large quantities, they may experience anxiety, paranoia, and seizures.
III. Hallucinogens
Hallucinogens alter one’s perception of reality. The user may see things which are not real or things in a distorted way. They may cause emotional and psychological euphoria, nausea, paranoia, and many others. Examples of hallucinogens include Ketamine, cannabis, and “magic mushrooms.”

Risk Factors Related to Drug Abuse Effect

The impacts of a substance on a person are depended on multiple factors. They affect how long the effects last and are inclusive of;

• Type of substance you consume and its strength.
• The chemical composition of the substance – drugs which are formulated at home may have harmful and unsafe chemicals and bacteria. Their strength is also unknown hence, the first consumption can damage the brain or lead to death.
• Physical characteristics of the user which include weight, age, fat levels in the body, height, and metabolism rate.
• The amount of drug you consume- mostly, if you consume small dosage the effects may be mild, though some drugs, even when taken in small quantities, can severely damage your body.
• Mental health – the mental health of the user, surrounding or how one is secure or happy in a place they are abusing drugs can impact the experience you feel after taking the substance. If you have a mental problem, consuming drugs may worsen the condition.
• Combining drugs – mixing drugs may complicate how you feel after taking the substance which can result into serious harm.

2. Legal Problems
Drugs are largely associated with crime. The abusers engage in theft and crimes to get money to buy the drugs whenever they lack money. This involves them in crime, hence legal issues with the state’s law. Most drugs are illegal to possess, transport, or to consume, and if caught you face the law. Drugs are classified as illegal or legal according to the strength of abuse and medicinal properties.

Consumption of any drug, whether licit or illicit has harmful impacts on your life. Though alcohol is legal, it can cause legal problems. Driving under the influence of alcohol attracts harsh penalties, and the worst, it can lead to accidents. While drunk you can commit other offenses, making you face legal charges and punishments such as jail term, fines, and loss of property.

3. Financial problems
Substances and alcohol are expensive, especially if you consume them daily and in large quantities. As you start using the drug, the body experiences the effects even with a small quantity, but as you progress you will require to take more quantities of the drug for you to achieve the desired impacts.

Ideally, the more you consume the substance, the more you will require to quench the cravings, and the more money you will spend on them. The drug consumption lifestyle expensive, even though you might be in a stable employment.

Substance use triggers bad habits like missing work, laziness at work, which reduce your production at work and may cost you your job. Sadly, even when a person who uses the substances loses work, they don’t stop taking the substance. They use all the means to ensure they keep their drug abuse habit. They can borrow from friends and families or even steal.

4. Dangers of Substance abuse on your work
Drug AddictSubstance abuse whether at workplace or outside, hurts your job. No matter the drug you consume, abusing drugs can affect your job stability. At the start, sleeping, hangovers, missing work, and many other excuses can be the norm and short-term effects of substance abuse on your job. After a period of drug abuse, the body develops tolerance to the drug, addiction, which may force you to steal and lie about your behaviors.

Alcohol and drug abuse can not only cause you to lose your job, but it also affects the company. A person working under the influence can get injuries at work which costs the company. Most drug abusers if they run out of money, they divert resources from their employers to drug use. The following are some problems you may have due to substance use;

• Sleeping at workplace -Some drugs if consumed slowly the function of the brain thus making you sleepy even at day time. Also, one might have suffered insomnia at night which may make them sleepy during the day or tired.
• Hangover or withdrawal symptoms- you may experience painful feelings if you stay without taking the drug such as a headache, dizziness, nausea and many others, which may affect your production.
• Illicit activities at work – one may be tempted to sell to other colleagues or consume the substance at work place.
• Constant troubles with the boss and other co-workers – substance use interferes with the brain and may do or say regrettable things to people around them.
• Missing work – scientists have claimed that drug abusers usually go for sick leave three times more than other staff who do not abuse drugs.

Drug addiction is defined as the use of a substance despite the harm and consequences it has on one’s health and relationships. All drugs can be addictive, though not every person who abuses drugs can be addicted. But chances are they might be addicted even though the use may be recreational.
However, substance addiction is a condition that can be treated medically. Experts, family members, and friends can help an addict recover from addiction.