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Effects of Drug Addiction

Deepa Kartha
Substance abuse claims many lives around the world every year. Apart from resulting in aggravated physical and mental problems, it also renders severe social and economic repercussions on an addict's life.
Drug abuse poses a serious threat to the young generation; it has been found that many American children above the age of 12 indulge in substance abuse. When people take drugs, it is said that they feel a sudden rush of energy and also find themselves in a different world where problems do not reach them.
However, what they do not know is the fact that once addicted to drugs, they will have to face a lot of physical, emotional, social and economic complications. There is an inherent risk of miscarriage or pregnancy complications due to drug abuse by expecting mothers. The babies may be born prematurely and underweight.
In some cases, it may even result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Research has proved that drugs during pregnancy leads to compounded physical and mental problems in the children. It may result in deformities of the face and body in the babies. Mothers can also pass HIV, STDs and Hepatitis infections to the newborn babies.
It has been observed that, when these children grow up, their cognitive abilities do not develop fully. They may suffer from attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, etc. The drugs in a mother's body are often passed to the baby through breast milk. Therefore, even for addicts, it is crucial to avoid drugs before, during and after pregnancy.

Physiological Effects

"Dope never helped anybody sing better or play music better or do anything better. All dope can do for you is kill you - and kill you the long, slow, hard way." - Billie Holiday
  • Intake of drugs increases the heart rate and blood pressure, and constricts the blood vessels.
  • Consumption of drugs may also lead to bowel gangrene and liver damage.
  • It results in high body temperature, strokes and brain damage.
  • It also causes heart diseases, heart attacks, and heart failure.
  • Drug addicts may even suffer from cerebrovascular problems and cancer.
  • They also experience irregular breathing, respiratory arrest, and severe lung damage.
  • People who are into substance abuse suffer from appetite loss which leads to sudden weight loss.
  • It may also cause loss of sense of smell and problems related to nasal septum.
  • Seizures, loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting are also caused due to consumption of narcotic substances.
  • It may also lead to numbness of limbs, tremors, arthritis, cramping and muscle twitches.
  • Drugs can alter the looks of a person drastically, and the skin appears bruised and inflamed.
  • Sometimes fights during drugged stupor may also lead to fatal injuries.
  • Craving for drugs can lead to excruciating abdominal pain.
  • Deadly diseases like AIDS, STDs, and Hepatitis B and C are caused due to exchange of contaminated syringes.
  • The combination of alcohol and certain drugs can even cause death.
  • Drug abuse can even cause sudden death due to overdose, or a slow painful death due to side-effects.

Psychological Impact

"Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem." - Kurt Cobain
  • Drugs affect the neurotransmitters in the brain, influencing change in moods and feelings.
  • They often aggravate the state of existing mental health problems.
  • Often, at times, drug addicts are in the initial mental state of elation or euphoric happiness.
  • Experiencing anxiety, tiredness, panic attacks, loss of confidence and depression is common.
  • Feelings of rage, agitation, aggression and violence are also caused due to drug intake.
  • They face paranoia induced hallucinations and pseudo-hallucinations.
  • They exhibit bizarre, confusing and erratic behavior.
  • They experience distorted perceptions, disorientation and forgetfulness.
  • Often, drug addicts suffer from insomnia and vertigo.
  • Heightened emotional sensitivity can also result in chronic irritability and suicidal thoughts.
  • Mixed feelings of dependence, detachment and withdrawal are observed in substance abusers.
  • Exposure to drug induced violent situations of parents during their childhood can have an adverse impact on the psyche of the children.

Social Stigma

"It's stupid to waste your life. Even if you think [doing drugs] is good now and even if you really want to do it, just know that later on it messes up a lot of opportunities for you." - Tara Lipinski
  • Addiction not only affects the person, but also his family and friends.
  • They lead a homeless and vagrant lifestyle.
  • They are socially dysfunctional and like to keep company of other addicts.
  • People who are into substance abuse do not shoulder any responsibilities towards their family.
  • Drug addicts like to lead a lonely life as family and friends keep a safe distance from them.
  • Often drug problems of a partner take an adverse toll on a marriage or relationship.
  • Children of drug addicts frequently grow up with compounded emotional problems due to neglect.
  • Substance abusers enter into legal problems for their delinquent and criminal behavior.
  • Often, it also results in domestic violence and child abuse.
  • Oftentimes, they are involved in car accidents or fights which prove fatal for them and others.

Monetary Hassles

"I used to have a drug problem, now I make enough money." - David Lee Roth
  • Drug abusers often depict a lack of interest in work or education related activities.
  • The ever arising need of buying drugs results in financial problems.
  • Often, they lose their jobs or drop out of education owing to lack of concentration and absenteeism.
  • Sometimes they even sell their homes to get money for narcotics..
  • People indulge in crimes like stealing, mugging, prostitution and even murder to buy drugs.
  • People with drug problems lie for sourcing funds for drugs and end up with huge debts.
It is rather difficult to treat a person for addiction, but it is not impossible. To start with the treatment, the drug addict must first realize that he has a problem which is dangerous himself and for the people around him. Drug addicts should be taken to a rehabilitation center or support group which will help them overcome their dependence on narcotics.
There are many people who have successfully given up drugs and are now leading a healthy and happy life. Hopefully, knowledge about the critical effects of substance abuse will compel people to 'SAY NO TO DRUGS' and inspire many others to give the addiction away.
Disclaimer: The particulars mentioned here are for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.