A common fallacy about drug use is that it won’t affect your health. Especially if it’s a one-time thing, or in moderation. But the truth is, it will affect your health, and therefore your future.

Addiction Facts

  • Addiction is classified as a disease, characterized by compulsive use or seeking of drugs.
  • Even after years of being clean, it is possible to relapse. Relapse, however, does not mean treatment is not working.
  • Genetics account for about half of a person’s addiction risk, making some people more likely to be affected than others.
  • Taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, but if drug abuse begins early, the chance of addiction rises.

Drugs and Your Health

  • Drugs affect your brain chemistry. One of these ways is by affecting the “reward” centers of the brain, creating more dopamine. Prolonged use of drugs causes your brain to adjust to the amount of dopamine, requiring more of the drug to get that pleasure.
  • Drugs have a long-lasting effect on your brain, affecting functions like learning, judgment, decision-making, and stress. The longer you use them, the harder it is for your brain to return to “normal” after you quit or enter rehab.
  • Some drugs have damaging effects on the rest of your body, such as a change in blood pressure, a raised risk of heart attack or stroke, psychosis, kidney or liver damage, or cancer. If a user is pregnant, this is very likely to have serious effects on the fetus as well.

Drug Abuse Symptoms

Individual drugs and their symptoms will vary. However, in general, you may be able to detect drug abuse by social behaviors. These behaviors include:

  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Getting new friends who abuse substances
  • Arriving late to work/school or not at all
  • Losing a job/failing in school
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Possessive and private about belongings and personal space
  • Sneaking out
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Lying about using or drinking
  • Irritability and agitation

If you notice these changes in someone else, it’s time to intervene and have truthful conversations about drug and alcohol use.

Need Help?

If you are using drugs, it’s time to get clean. There are many programs that can help with getting off drugs, as well as dealing with the physical and psychological effects. When you’re fighting cravings, you can call a drug abuse hotline for immediate, anonymous, free help.