Effects of Drug Addiction

Effects of Drug Addiction

Effects of Drug

Drug addiction
is a human tragedy. In searching for
pleasure, or a better way, or just a method of feeling better, people get lost
in the black hole of dependence and sadly some never get treated and ultimately
lose everything.

We are all body, mind
and spirit and drug addiction impacts all three areas of the human experience,
destroying everything in its path, leaving nothing behind but empty dreams and

Body Mind and Spirit

The effects of
drug addiction need to be measured in terms of all three areas of life. Because
all three are interconnected, it is difficult, if not impossible, to entirely
separate them from one another.

addiction changes people and not for the better. The stories from family members and friends,
who recall what an addict used to be like and wish so desperately for them to
come back, tell of the decline of the addict not just in terms of their health,
but what the disease has done to their spirit, to their very essence.

Starts before you
have first use

Depending on
your point of view, drug addiction actually begins before the substance is
introduced into the brain. Addiction has
various factors that contribute to the disease.
For example, genetics can play a part, as we are all the product of our
parents. My mother was an alcoholic and
I carried a predisposition to alcoholism because of that. Another factor would be the environment.

If your parents were smokers, chances are
better than average that you too will be a smoker. Another factor is your
personality, which may or may not be related to genetics, but it plays a part
in your way of looking at the world and dealing with problems, large and
small. You may be a thrill seeker, or
perhaps you are more reserved, or sullen.
This would be an indicator of your “drug of choice” and what you might
be tempted to abuse.

All of these points
are very general, but understanding some basic factors does help to identify
some reasons why some people get into trouble.

Many use but don’t
get addicted

Not everybody
who uses an illegal drug for recreation, or takes a drink of alcohol is going
to become an addict. Even people who use
frequently may never develop the disease of addiction, and so all of the
effects of drug addiction would not necessarily come into play. So now we will begin to examine the effects
and how they develop.

Drug addiction
is a disease of the brain. The drug, be
it alcohol or an opiate or marijuana or cocaine, changes the brain chemistry.
If a person is using an opiate under the care of a physician to control pain,
they are given a prescription and instructed to take a certain amount at
certain times of the day. The opiate blocks the pain and the patient feels

The effect of the drug is
positive, but the patient may desire more, so they take more of the drug, more
often. That is drug abuse. Over time
they can develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning that it takes more of the
drug to achieve the same effects. That’s
the start of dependence.

Some people
will choose to ignore the instructions, because they feel better when they take
the drug. The patient’s brain chemistry changes over time with continued use of
the drug. The brain is tricked into
thinking that it needs the drug to feel normal. At some point, addiction sets
in and the person can no longer choose to use the drug, they are compelled to
use the drug. The effects of the drug
become negative.


Some of the
effects of drug addiction are unintended consequences. As addiction develops,
there are several warning signs that trouble is ahead. People will lose interest in their hobbies
and activities, or withdraw from family and friends. They might sleep too much, or very
little. They might not eat and lose
weight. They may not take care of
themselves and become unkempt, whereas in the past they were well groomed.

People may choose different friends, friends
who like to use drugs and drop those who do not. Kids in school may neglect
their studies and suffer poor grades.
Job performance and attendance may be impacted. Granted some people are good at hiding their
disease and they appear to be functional, but the ultimate effect of drug
addiction, left unchecked, is that the drug is going to win.

Devastating effects
on our society

The effects of
drug addiction on our society are devastating. The prisons are filled with drug
offenders, many hospital emergency rooms are flooded with drug overdose
patients, addicts have lost their jobs and are homeless on the streets, the
courts are jammed with DUI suspects and drug dealers, and criminal acts of all
types are committed under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The effect of drug addiction costs
communities countless millions annually.

Addiction robs a
person of his/her humanity. The
emotional effects are huge, as the drug becomes the way a person deals with
life. We are bombarded in America with
television commercials calling for us to use a certain drug to feel better.
People may think the drug is the answer to their problem. As a person develops a psychological and
physical dependence, the drug becomes the focal point of their life. They lose themselves.

Low self-esteem contributes to addiction, as
people struggle to cope with life and the disease becomes, in effect, suicide
by the installment plan. Addiction will
arrest the emotional development of a teenager, twisting and altering his/her
perception of the world and place in it. Drugs will often cause paranoia,
anxiety and other bad emotional side-effects.
Because the drug alters brain chemistry, addicts and even recreational
users, can become psychotic after using their drug of choice.

Drugs destroy many
parts of the body

The physical
effects of drug addiction are many as heavy drug use can destroy the
kidneys. Alcoholics are in jeopardy of
developing cirrhosis of the liver. That
is a part of the tragedy of the disease, as that which the addict feels is
necessary to feel good and to function is killing him/her.

Addicts will
continue to use their drug of choice, regardless of the consequences, until it
literally kills them. That is why
treatment is so essential, because an addict cannot just quit. Addicts have to use their drug. They will forego food, sleep and
relationships with those who love them to chose they high they crave, or just
feel “normal.”

Heart problems are
very common

The list
physical effects are long.
Cardiovascular disease is common, as is respiratory failure, central
nervous system disorders, cancer, malnutrition, dental decay are just some of
the destructive forces at work in the body of an addict. Methamphetamine addicts for example often
appear like walking zombies, seriously underweight, emaciated, and have no
direction in life other than to use the drug they crave.

Addiction will
cause a person to do things they never would have imagined doing. They will lie and steal from their families,
cheat their friends, rob convenience stores, break into pharmacies and engage
in criminal activities of all kinds to support their habit. People ask, “What
happened to him/her?” The drug took
over, that’s what happened. The effect
of drug addiction on that person’s life has turned them from a happy,
productive citizen into a criminal.

Suicide is very
common with addiction

Suicide and
addiction are old friends. Addicts so
often are depressed and even though they think the drug is going to make them
feel better, it isn’t enough. Sometimes, their tortured mind cannot process
information in a logical, healthy manner and they make a fatal decision. Sadly creative and artistic people can often
fall into the trap of addiction and wind up taking their own lives.

Perhaps the most
devastating effect of drug addiction is the toll it takes on families. Addiction is not personal, it is a family
disease as anyone who loves the addict is negatively affected. Organizations like Al-Anon exist to help
families deal with addiction. Like the
addict, the family members need treatment.

Treatment centers have programs for families, like parents who do not
know what to do about their teenager who is using drugs. Addiction rips families apart. Courts will take children out of the home
when the parents are addicts, and sometimes adult children are estranged from
their parents because of addiction.

Seemly endless
effects and all or negative

The effects of
drug addiction are seemingly endless, as so many people have either abused a
drug, or have developed addiction. Just
about every family has a story to tell, or knows somebody who has been addicted,
or who is in treatment. The effects of
drug addiction are cross-generational and the cycle must be broken for families to completely recover. The effects of
drug addiction can be stopped but the entire family must work together to stop them.

Take away the effects of drug addiction in the United States
and you’d probably save taxpayers and insurance companies around $75 billion a
year. It’s really a staggering number.
But the addiction doesn’t have to win.
There is hope. Treatment is the answer.
It may take several attempts, but people can overcome this disease by
learning the manage it and live a healthy and productive life.

This concludes our section on the effects of drug addiction, visit our home page for more information.

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