Addiction to drugs and alcohol is damaging in many ways. It destroys relationships, it ruins our self esteem, and it destroys our financial health. Addiction is a terrible disease that causes a lot of psychological problems: anger, depression, mood swings, and low self-esteem, just to name a few. Addiction also affects our physical well being. All drugs take a toll on our bodies in one way or another. Although our bodies can mostly recover from short-term, moderate drug and alcohol use, long-term drug and alcohol use can lead to chronic disease and premature death. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin and crystal meth are all terrible to our bodies when used over a prolonged period of time.
Alcohol Related Damage
Alcohol, moderately consumed by occasional users, poses no long-term physical problems. However, long term abuse of alcohol is very damaging to the body and leads to a number of long-term diseases. The most common of those diseases is liver disease. However, long-term alcohol abuse does not just cause cirrhosis of the liver. It causes and contributes to many other diseases. Alcoholism is linked with increase in risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, gout, and nerve damage, and the list goes on.
If you are an AA member, you know that alcohol usually destroys the health slowly. If the alcoholic has not killed or hurt themselves in a debilitating accident, then the disease takes a long time to work through the body. None the less, it does take its toll. Many people with dietary problems and cardiovascular disease, can point to alcohol as a contributing factor. Fifty year old alcoholics never look like they are thirty, but many thirty year old alcoholics look like they are fifty. On the inside they are wasting away.
Cocaine Related Physical Problems
Cocaine is another drug that is damaging to the body. Like the other substances discussed in this post, cocaine is highly addictive. Moderate short-term use is not that damaging to the body although every use has the potential to harm the body. Like other powerful drugs, you can overdose or have bad physical reactions. So there is always some risk, no matter how often you use the drug.
Using cocaine over a long period of time can be very damaging to the body. The main long-term problem with cocaine is the effect is has on the cardiovascular system. Over time, cocaine can cause serious heart problems such as arrhythmia, strokes, heart attacks, and seizures.
Heroin And Our Bodies
The initial, major withdrawal period for heroin is 24-48 hours after the last use. Then, it takes about a week for the withdrawal symptoms to end. The withdrawal process is painful but relatively quick. However, heroin has some long-term damage to the hormonal system and nervous system from prolonged use. However, the main problem with heroin is that it is highly addictive and easy to overdose. It is extremely difficult to kick the habit.
Overdosing is an ever-present danger. Heroin, because it is a powerful narcotic mostly injected into the bloodstream, can easily kill the addict by accidental overdose. Just recently in Orlando, 11 people overdosed on heroin, 3 fatally. (Read the story here.) Similar stories of heroin overdose are told routinely from all over the country. Although heroin has long-term health consequences, the most serious consequences for a heroin addict are the addiction itself and the chance of an overdose.
Crystal Meth Devastates The Body
Using crystal meth (methamphetamine) for a long time is extremely damaging to the body. People literally waste away when on crystal meth. They loose weight, their teeth begin to rot from gum disease, and the body simply breaks down from lack of nutrients and sleep. There are many horrifying pictures on the web that shows the devastation of meth addiction on people’s faces. They are truly shocking.
When people are on meth, they feel a euphoric high that gives them energy and strength. They don’t feel the need to eat or sleep. The more crystal meth they use, the less they sleep and the less they eat.
Food and sleep are the cornerstones to our emotional and physical well being. As the meth addiction goes on, the body takes a terrible toll. There is a long list of health problems caused by meth. They include, damaged blood vessels, heart damage, malnutrition, tooth decay, and brain damage. Crystal meth addiction is arguably the most physically damaging addiction common in our society.
Our bodies have amazing restorative powers. Our bodies constantly working to remove toxins are repair damaged cells. If we work with our bodies by eating, exercising a and taking care of ourselves, we can live long healthy lives. Once an addict starts on the road to recovery, an overloaded system can begin to heal itself. However, the longer the addiction, the more likelihood that there were changes in the body (disease) that are not so easily reversed. If you are in recovery, look around, listen to the stories. You can see with your own eyes the damage done by long-term addiction. Don’t let that happen to you.
Note: We have not covered prescription drug abuse in this article, although, that is a huge problem in itself. We may do that in a future article.
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