Tips for Thought

Ways On How Drug Abuse Can Affect Your Life

Life offers a lot of blessings and challenges. As for the latter, it can be difficult for some people to cope because they may feel trapped or overwhelmed by their circumstances. As a result, they might look for ways to cope, whether it involves food, video games, alcoholic drinks, and drugs.

Drugs are chemical substances that can change a person’s mental and physical state. While some drugs are legal and others are illegal, misusing both types can devastate a person’s life.

What Are Legal Drugs?

Legal drugs are substances that are accessible, although they may require restrictions based on age and use. Some legal drugs include alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine which increase one’s risk of developing chronic conditions.

What Are Illegal Drugs?

Illegal drugs, on the other hand, are substances that are against the law due to the nature of users becoming severely addicted. Drugs like cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin and illegal and can severely harm a person when taken in large amounts.

What Are Illicit Drugs?

Illicit drugs are substances that are frequently abused. They can be natural or artificial substances that alter a person’s physical and mental state. Most illicit drugs can also risk people’s social circumstances since most are illegal. Illicit drugs may be categorized according to their effects like:

A. Depressants

These substances are also known as “downers.” They create feelings of relaxation and tiredness. While some may be used to fight against mental illness and sleep conditions, they are easily abused because of their pleasant effects. Many depressants can likely lead to overdose. Some examples include:

  • Alcohol;
  • Opiates; and
  • Barbiturates

B. Stimulants

These substances are known as “uppers” because their effects include increased energy, concentration, and alertness. People who abuse uppers mainly do so because they believe it will increase productivity and performance while experiencing a rush of heightened pleasure. Long-term use of stimulants can cause addiction. Some examples of this type include:

  • Adderall;
  • Cocaine;
  • Meth;
  • Caffeine

C. Hallucinogens

These substances alter a person’s perception of reality. Most of these drugs result in auditory and visual hallucinations, commonly called “tripping.” While hallucinogens are less addictive than other drug types, their effects can be dangerous. Some examples of hallucinogens:

  • LSD;
  • Psilocybin Mushrooms (“Shrooms”); and
  • Phencyclidine or phenyl cyclohexyl piperidine (PCP) or Angel Dust

D. Inhalants

Inhalants are chemicals that are ingested primarily by breathing them in or huffing. Many inhalants cannot be digested. While the effects vary between substances, most inhalants create feelings of euphoria or a “high.” Many inhalants are readily-accessible, and while they’re less addictive than other substances, they have serious adverse health effects. Some examples include:

  • Paint thinners;
  • Nail polish removers; and
  • Gasoline

Drugs can also be classified according to their legal system. The United States has a unique schedule that classifies drugs according to the legitimacy of their use, the potential for abuse, and the risk for addiction.

How Can Drug Abuse Affect Your Life?

Drug addiction is a severe condition because it makes a person dependent on a dangerous substance. Long-term use of certain drugs can have permanent and irreversible effects on the body. 

Aside from your health, drug addiction can also affect other areas of your life, including your relationship with others, social standing, work or school life, and financial status.

A. How Drugs Affect Your Health:

Drug abuse alters a person’s physical and psychological state. Misuse of these substances can have short-term and long-term effects on the body and mind. Nearly every organ can be affected by certain drugs depending on the type and how much the person uses them.

Some effects of drug addiction include:

  • Weakened immune system;
  • Cardiovascular like abnormal heart rates, collapsed veins, and blood vessel infections from injecting drugs;
  • Nausea and abdominal pain;
  • Liver damage;
  • Seizures, strokes, mental confusion, and brain damage;
  • Lung disease;
  • Issues with memory and judgment;
  • Death

Drugs uniquely affect the person’s brain because it affects the mind’s “reward system.” Drugs target the limbic system, which affects instinct and mood. The dopamine rush from drug use floods the brain, creating a high that eventually leads to addiction.

Your brain becomes addicted to the drug’s effects because of its pleasurable effects. Withdrawing from drugs is incredibly challenging because the brain has created a dependency where it must have its next fix. While it’s possible to withdraw oneself from drugs permanently, it can be challenging and excruciating for long-term users.

B. How Drug Addiction Can Affect Your Relationship

Drug addiction seriously affects a person’s relationship with their partner, friends, and family. Addiction makes maintaining trust, respect, and communication difficult—all essential in a healthy relationship.

A person addicted to drugs circles their life around obtaining these substances and will engage in risky behaviors to get their next fix. This effect can be incredibly distressing, especially for parents who don’t want to see their children on a darker path.

C. How Drug Addiction Affects Your Professional Life

Drug addiction has a long-reaching effect. It’s not just the person who is addicted that is affected by their drug use but also the people around them, including friends, family, teachers, and bosses.

Students struggling with a drug addiction may find it challenging to focus on their school work, affecting their future in getting a solid career. Additionally, people struggling with substance abuse may be unable to perform at their best level. As a result, employers may fire them—which can affect a person’s financial standing.

D. How Drug Addiction Affects Your Financial Status

A person with a severe dependence on drugs tends to focus their entire lives on these substances to get their next fix. As a result, they may spend most or all their money obtaining illegal drugs, which can lead to financial issues like poverty, incurring debt, and getting into a gambling addiction as a desperate attempt to make fast cash. Since most housing units have a strict no-drugs policy, landlords can kick a person out of the housing unit. As a result, drug addiction can easily lead a person to homelessness if they’re not careful.

E. How Drug Addiction Can Affect Your Social Status

In most states, using, dealing with, and producing illegal drugs are grounds for legal repercussions. A drug-addicted person on a drug binge can easily land in jail. Moreover, some substances also lower a person’s sense of judgment, enabling them to engage in risky and criminal activities.

What Can We Do To Reduce Drug Addiction Cases?

Drug addiction is a systemic issue that needs to be tackled on a nationwide scale. Education on its effects and uses is beneficial, especially for children or teenagers. Peer pressure and the glamorization of drug use in media may affect a teen’s perception of drugs and encourage them to engage in it because it’s “cool.”

However, by educating them on its harmful effects on a person’s life, they can become more conscious in making decisions and find healthier ways to cope with life’s struggles.

If you’re a parent, consider having a heart-to-heart talk with your children about drugs and why they should avoid using them altogether. Always remind your children that real friends will never ask you to harm yourself, all for the sake of fun.

If you’re currently struggling with addiction to drugs or other substances, contact a mental health professional who can recommend a practical and effective detox program. Additionally, many therapists can provide healthier ways to cope with life’s struggles, thus making them less dependent on substances. While it may be challenging to stop addiction altogether, it’s still possible and can improve your life.