Dangers of Substance Abuse
Addicts who have the ability to function each day may not realize how their substance abuse use patterns are harming them. However, the longer they ignore their addiction, the apter they are to suffer mental, emotional and physical consequences.
A substance use disorder, over time, can significantly reduce an individual’s life expectancy. Living with untreated addiction is akin to drinking poison on a dare while having full knowledge of the consequences. It’s easy for functioning addicts to ignore the issue and promise themselves, and those around them, they are fine. However, as time goes by, they begin suffering adverse long-term physical, emotional and mental damage. Functioning addicts may not experience serious physical side effects resulting from their substance use.
They may only experience stomach upsets, headaches or hangovers. This seems like a negligible price to pay compared to the high they get. Yet, there can be serious negative effects of an untreated substance use disorder. The type of substance, purity, dose, frequency, and length of use determine the severity of effects on the body. Prevailing medical conditions such as mental health disorders, genetics, and environmental conditions also contribute to the dangers. The body can be seriously affected when one continues to take drugs.
Consequences of Long-Term Substance Abuse:
Drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy can present the body with a myriad of cardiovascular problems. These include irregular heart rhythm or even worse–a cardiac arrest that may be fatal. Injection drug use can also lead to collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.
Studies show that drugs not only temporarily affect behavior; they can permanently change the brain’s structure by destroying brain cells. This means that these drugs can change the way one comprehends, thinks, learns and retains. As a functioning addict, brain activity is bound to gradually slow down. Substance abuse can stimulate mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression by influencing the production of biochemical’s and hormones. Untreated addiction also increases the likelihood of spontaneous suicide and trigger episodes of hallucinations or paranoia.
Liver failure falls among the greatest risks for alcohol addicts. Furthermore, liver problems like cirrhosis or liver cancer claim the lives of over 40,000 people annually. Over 20,000 liver-related deaths are caused by alcohol. You may think your alcohol abuse is under control, however, there’s a high probability one will later face the consequences.
Tolerance can also change, requiring the person to use or drink more in order to achieve the same effect. This brings the individual closer and closer to the brink of accidental overdose, bodily injury, and worse.
Should you or someone you know be struggling with substance use, it’s time to kick the habit and choose a healthier life. Even if you are functioning day-to-day, adverse health effects are apt to cause distress to your body sooner or later. Make a decision to stop using drugs or alcohol and reach out for help today.
D’Amore Healthcare is a dual diagnosis and substance abuse addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA.
We provide information and treatment for people dealing with the life-shattering cycle of substance abuse and addiction. We refer to people that deal with substance abuse and other mental health disorders as having a “dual diagnosis.” You can learn more about dual diagnosis treatment here.
If someone needs immediate help, call 24-hours a day at 714.375.1110 or contact us online.