Lasting Health Effects of Drug Addiction
A few moments of pleasure can easily turn into a lifetime of pain for unsuspecting drug addicts.Even after an addiction has been treated, the health effects of drug addiction can linger. Sadly, many drug users will inject, ingest or inhale a substance without giving any serious thought to the consequences. Outside of lost jobs and ruined relationships, drug addicts will also face setbacks when it comes to their health.
Weakened Immune System
Drugs that are inhaled will cause damage to the nose, throat and lungs. This will lead to increased risk of lung infections and upper respiratory tract infections. Methamphetamines contribute to decreased immune function by drying out the mucous membranes. Defective mucous membranes are not able to help the body in its removal of harmful bacteria. This will allow foreign bacteria to wreak havoc on the addict’s body. Even when a drug is used just a few times, the health effects of drug addiction are plentiful, and chilling.
A number of drugs contain chemicals that are structured similarly to those created by the brain. Using such drugs will send those chemicals to the brain and activate nerve cells under false pretenses. Other drugs trick the brain into releasing high amounts of neurotransmitters that stimulate the reward center of the brain. In order to compensate for this release, the brain begins producing less and less of these chemicals. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult for drug addicts to experience feelings of joy and pleasure.
Damage to the Cardiovascular System
Drugs like marijuana and cocaine will create an irregular heart rate and constrict the blood vessels. This will force the heart to work at an elevated intensity. If the heart is forced to work too hard for too long, then it will not be able to supply adequate amounts of oxygen to the rest of the body. This can result in chronic muscle fatigue, stroke and cardiac arrest.
Long-term drug use can have an impact on a couple’s ability to conceive children naturally. Male addicts may experience low sperm count, poor sperm mobility and low amounts of seminal fluid. Female addicts may experience disruptions in their menstrual cycles and destruction of mature eggs in the ovaries.
Drugs like ecstasy and meth can cause dry mouth. Without enough saliva in the mouth, harmful bacteria will have free reign on tooth enamel. In other cases, tooth decay occurs in response to cravings brought on by drug use. For example, marijuana use produces cravings for junk food. The additional sugar will eat away at enamel.
Putting drugs into the body will interfere with how the body communicates with itself. When nerves are unable to communicate, it is often the result of toxic neuropathy. This disorder produces tingling and numbness in various parts of the body.
Addicts who receive treatment may be able to regain some nerve functions. Treatment centers like the Action Recovery Group, for example, will be able to implement a safe 12-step recovery program that will help restore the mind and body of drug addicts.
Addicts are constantly chasing the euphoric feeling of their very first high. As they continue to search, they end up taking their bodies down in the process. Once they decide to get help, they can begin taking steps towards reversing some of those damages.