The dangers of substance abuse span a range of different areas of life. These can include those effects that substances have on the individual who is taking them, as well as their loved ones and society at large. Indeed, when drugs and alcohol are abused, the negative effects ripple far and wide.
What Is Substance Abuse?
At its core, substance abuse is the use of drugs or alcohol using methods or amounts that cause harm to the individual or to others. Substance abuse is considered to be a substance use disorder.
Substance abuse differs from substance use in that the individual is not necessarily addicted to the substance when it is being used. Continued substance use can — and often does — lead to substance abuse.
Dangers Of Substance Abuse
There are significant dangers of substance abuse. One of the most damaging for the person who is struggling with a substance use disorder is the effect substance abuse has on their physical and mental health.
There are many factors that can affect the damage that drugs and alcohol do to a person’s body. These include the specific drug that is used, the method in which it’s consumed, the person’s overall general health, the amount that is taken, the length of time that it’s been abused, and other factors.
Some short-term dangers of substance abuse can be fatal or permanently debilitating. In some cases, the following side effects can occur after just a single use of the substance. These include the following:
- Changes in blood pressure, appetite, sleep patterns, heart rate, and mood
- Cardiovascular issues such as stroke or heart attack
Continued use of drugs and/or alcohol can lead to additional complications and dangers that can put the health and life of the user in grave danger. These can include the following:
- Mental illness
- Lung and/or heart disease
Substance Abuse On The Brain
Today it’s understood that addiction is a brain disorder. It’s not a character flaw or something that someone can control. While not everyone who uses alcohol and/or drugs will become addicted to these substances, it is possible to do so after just a single use of them.
For certain people, substance abuse can change the ways their brain circuits function. Certain substances are also more likely to do so than others.
When these changes occur in the brain, they can affect how people experience normal pleasures in life including sex and food. In addition, one of the dangers of substance abuse is that a person might have a decreased ability to control their emotions and stress. Their decision-making skills could also suffer. Because of these changes, it can be extremely difficult for a person to stop abusing substances even when they want to do so or are faced with devastating consequences.
Indirect Dangers Of Substance Abuse
There are far-ranging indirect dangers involved in substance abuse. There are often negative consequences felt in the relationships with loved ones, for example. The person might also have difficulty in holding down a job or upholding their responsibilities to their family.
In some cases, there are criminal repercussions involved when a person is struggling with substance abuse. Even a person who might not be prone to criminal activity might turn to it in an effort to get more of the substance that their mind and body is addicted to.
The Santé Center for Healing understands the complexity that makes up substance abuse. With the ability to treat the entire person — mind, body, and soul — we also have a strong family component. If you’re ready to take that crucial step toward recovery, we’re here to help. Contact our experts today at 866.238.3154 to get started.