No one is immune to the reality of drug abuse and addiction. At some point in our lives most of us will encounter this stark reality either personally or with someone we know. What discerns curious experimentation from that of dangerous and addictive behavior is a fine line. While each individual varies in tolerance levels and resiliency, long-term drug abuse will eventually cause physical, emotional and mental damage, some of which is irreversible. As a result, individuals are wise to ask whether these abusive behaviors are worth the risk.
Common Health Issues With Prolonged Drug Use
The use of any street drug – such as cocaine, marijuana, crystal meth or heroin – carries with it a bevy of ill health effects. Since these drugs are unregulated, users never know what they are truly getting when they ingest the drug. Oftentimes, street drugs are cut with household substances so dealers can get more money for their sale, and these household substances may be severely toxic and damaging to users. In addition, the drugs themselves can lead to a variety of health issues, including:
- Respiratory issues
- Circulatory problems
- Memory issues
- Intestinal problems
- Cognitive decline
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular heartbeat
Prescription drugs, when taken outside of a doctor’s orders, can cause many of the same health effects that illicit drugs can. If you regularly abuse drugs, it’s important to seek help from a drug detox program rather than attempting to quit using on your own. Certain street drugs, such as heroin, and certain prescription drugs, like Vicodin and OxyContin, built up a significant tolerance in the body. If a user attempts to stop taking them cold turkey, they can experience uncomfortable and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. In this situation, it’s essential that medical staff members are nearby to help with the withdrawal process.
Risk of Overdose With Long-Term Drug Abuse
One of the most serious health issues that can occur with long-term drug abuse is overdose. When a user takes more of the drug than their body can handle, an overdose may occur. Overdoses are also common when an individual has stopped using drugs for a particular period of time and then returns to drug use. Since their body built up a prior tolerance to the drug, they could handle larger doses of the drug. If they’ve quit using for a period of time, that tolerance has dissipated. If they attempt to take the same dosage level as before, it could lead to overdose. Overdose is incredibly serious, and if you suspect someone is experiencing one, call 911 immediately. In an overdose situation, the body’s systems can slow considerably, to the point that they even stop functioning. An individual experiencing an overdose may stop breathing altogether, leading to coma or death.
Avoid Long-Term Health Effects
The longer you abuse drugs, the more likely it is that these long-term health effects will take hold and cause serious damage. Help is available. With proper treatment and support, you can learn to leave drugs behind for good and move forward into a life of stability and health. Here at Futures of Palm Beach, we offer a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program to help you do just that. Call us today for more information on how we can help you heal.