In 2017, around 70,237 people died of a drug overdose in the United States. When a person keeps abusing substances like drugs or alcohol for a long time, long-term and short-term health-related consequences are inevitable.
Most such health problems depend heavily on the medical history of the person, how much drug is being used, and what type of substance it is.
What Is Substance Addiction?
Identifying substance addiction is not always easy as it seems. According to The American Society of Addiction Medicine, substance addiction is defined as a disease that activates the reward system of the brain and also interferes with the brain’s memory and motivation functions.
Most addicted individuals experience intense cravings for the drug they use. They often avoid their everyday responsibilities in order to satisfy their substance-related desires.
Common Signs Of Substance Addiction
Here are some general signs of substance addiction:
- No control over substance use
- Risk-taking attitude
- Withdrawal symptoms
These signs depend on the duration of substance abuse and are interlinked. Healthy and normal people can easily detect some type of negative behavior in them and work on overcoming it. As long as addicted individuals are concerned, they will keep coming with excuses to hide their secrets or justify their actions. That is why they need the right rehab treatment.
The very first step to help someone with substance addiction is to identify physical, mental, and psychological symptoms and seek medical help at reputable alcohol rehab centers.
Health Problems Associated With Addiction
HIV And Hepatitis
Drug addicts are often seen sharing used needles for drug intake. The chances of them having unprotected sex are more. Such actions are responsible for weakening the immune system and making them more susceptible to contracting hepatitis, HIV, and other contagious diseases.
The following are the substances that can lead to infectious diseases:
- Prescription opioids
Damage To Kidney
Addiction can lead to an extreme rise in body temperature, dehydration, and muscle breakdown. These health conditions can cause damage to the kidney and even kidney failure.
Here are some examples of substances that can damage the kidney:
- Synthetic Cannabinoids
Addicts experience the feeling of euphoria when they are high. However, they don’t understand the other effects of drugs on their brain. Substances can damage blood cells and lead to stroke or seizures.
Here are the substances that cause neurological problems:
Prolonged substance abuse can lead to heart diseases such as increased heart rates and even heart attack. Addicts that are into injection use are more vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases such as infections in the heart valves and blood vessels, collapsed veins, and more.
The following are the substances that contribute to cardiovascular diseases:
When people start using steroids in adolescence, an unnatural rise in sex hormones occurs. This condition is the body’s signal to bones to restrict growth much earlier than they normally would. Ultimately, this leads to health conditions such as muscle weakness, extreme cramping in muscles, short structure, and more.
Here are the examples of substances that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders:
- Synthetic Cathinones
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Frequent opioid abuse can lead to severe constipation, acid reflux, and pain in the abdomen. Cocaine abuse can cause bowel tissue decay and abdominal pain. Moreover, drug abusers often experience vomiting and nausea after intake.
Here are the substances that lead to gastrointestinal diseases:
Cigarette smoking can lead to neck cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer, and stomach cancer. Even passive smokers are at great risk of lung cancer and several other health concerns. People who start smoking marijuana in adolescence are more likely to develop testicular cancer if they continue abusing it over several years.
The following is the list of substances that can lead to cancer:
Respiratory health conditions such as bronchitis, lung cancer, and emphysema are common in people who are addicted to smoking marijuana and cigarettes. Marijuana, cocaine can severely damage the lungs and lead to some serious respiratory deficits. Opioids abuse can block air from entering into lungs, cause slow breathing and worsen asthma symptoms.
The following drugs can lead to respiratory deficits:
- Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
- Dextromethorphan (DXM)
Deaths due to substance addiction have significantly increased in the last couple of decades. No other preventable health diseases have caused more disabilities, illnesses, and death than drugs and alcohol addiction. Currently, 1 out of every 4 deaths occurs due to tobacco, alcohol, and legal or illegal drug abuse.
Addiction is a severe chronic disease and can lead to one or more dangerous consequences. It is always smart to identify the signs of addiction in you or your loved ones and seek medical assistance.
Thankfully, you can count on effective options such as IOP programs, ibogaine treatments, support groups, therapies, sober living homes, and more to help you or your loved one through addiction recovery. But make sure you don’t wait to contact a reputable medical facility, as delay can worsen the symptoms.