The first time someone decides to do drugs or drink alcohol, it’s a voluntary decision. Depending on their mindset and how their body reacts to it, that first-time use can quickly turn into the disease of addiction.
There are a plethora of harmful effects that occur after addiction sets in. Short and long-term issues arise from all kinds of chemical dependencies from alcohol and marijuana to cocaine, heroin, meth and more. After the recreational or “fun” part is over, there are consequences with health, physical condition, and legal and financial standpoints. Before that conscious choice turns into something that can no longer be controlled, it’s a good idea to get a clear picture of exactly what can happen.
Short-Term Harmful Effects of Addiction
The moment a chemical substance enters the bloodstream, some things start to happen. There is a range of severity on what takes place based on the kind of drug taken, the amount, and how potent or pure it is. In general, a user is going to experience one or more of the following:
- Impaired thinking
- Changes in energy levels
- Mood changes
- Reduced inhibitions
- Difference in problem-solving ability
- Impairment in decision-making
- Coordination issues
- Slurred speech
- Itching skin
The longer the drugs are taken, the more intense these feelings are going to get. Eventually, they will lead to more significant health problems that are longer lasting and, in some instances, even permanent.
Harmful Health Effect of Addiction
A variety of conditions to the mind and body can start to occur after prolonged substance abuse has taken place. There is a severe amount of strain on the body’s organs, neurological system, and the respiratory system to name a few. Prolonged use can be defined as a couple of weeks of use. It doesn’t necessarily take years for something terrible to start happening.
When drugs and alcohol are consumed, the brain is altered. The chemical that is produced naturally called dopamine is flooded throughout the system giving the user a euphoric feeling. It also makes that person want more drugs. After a while, the brain can no longer function properly without that boost of dopamine.
Heart attacks, abnormal heart rate, and collapsed veins are serious harmful health effects. Intravenous drug use can lead to infections as well. Muscle cramping, improper bone growth, overall body weakness, and damage to the liver and kidneys are also common problems that people with drug addiction face.
Individuals that are under the use of substances also aren’t always the best at making decisions. When it comes to sexual encounters and sharing needles, safe practices aren’t the first thing to come to mind. That can result in sexually transmitted diseases like HIV being contracted. People with addiction are also more prone to contracting hepatitis.
Social Side-Effects of Drug and Alcohol Addiction
When a user slips into the realms of addiction, they are going to have a hard time keeping up relationships with friends and family that don’t use. Soon, he or she will be spending more time with other users or alone.
Loneliness, depression, social anxiety, and other mental health issues can start to take hold. Mood swings are unpredictable, and it can make it nearly impossible for professional and personal relationships to stay intact. For some people, mental health conditions can get so bad that suicide seems like it’s the only option and they end up taking their own lives.
Legal and Financial Problems of Addiction
The first thing to remember in this aspect is that drugs are illegal. Being in possession of them or under the influence both have consequences. Depending on the quantity, a person in possession of drugs can get sentenced with 40 years in prison.
If they are employed, there’s a good chance that their employer is going to require drug screenings. When they fail a test, they lose their job. That’s where the financial problems start. Drugs and alcohol are expensive. It can be difficult to satisfy the craving the body is having if there’s no money coming in to support the habit.
Then, the domino effect of legal issues can start to kick in. People who need drugs that don’t have the money to get them will begin breaking the law to get them. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can also land a user in jail. A suspended driver’s license, fines, and even an extended stay behind bars can all result from breaking that law as well.
It can be challenging to advance in life with a felony or misdemeanor criminal record. Many employers will take that as a sign that person can’t be trusted or relied upon. The result is the vicious cycle of financial struggles and legal issues repeating over and over again.