Drugs can interfere with a person’s ability to think and act clearly. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there’s a biological reason for this – compounds in drugs disrupt neurotransmitters in the brain, flooding the brain with the feel good chemical dopamine. Over time, the person using drugs has to have more and more in order to achieve the same high as before. This is because the brain adjusts to the in pouring of dopamine and stops producing as much naturally. Over time, drugs can cause permanent damage to the parts of the brain that control reasoning, judgment, and learning, challenging the user’s ability to think rationally.
Those who engage in drug use may partake in risky behaviors that further put their health and protection in jeopardy. Examples include having sex with numerous partners or not using protection, sharing needles with others, driving while high, or stealing from others to support one’s drug habit, which could result in incarceration.
A drug habit makes it hard to focus on the world outside of drugs. It may be difficult to hold down a job or go to school. Parents may neglect their children. Relationships with family and friends suffer and lack of income and stability could result in homelessness.
While the effect of drugs may be pleasurable initially, overtime, they take a toll on a person’s physical and psychological health. Drugs like amphetamines cause double vision, sweating, sleep problems, hypertension, and increased breathing and heart rate. Over time, a person may experience paranoia and loss of touch with reality. Street drugs like cocaine and heroin cause extreme cravings that could lead to overdose. Even household drugs like cough medicines, when abused, can cause nausea, hypertension, deliria, unconsciousness, and permanent brain injury. Breathing inhalants like glue and paint thinners is also extremely toxic and could result in death.
Breaking the cycle of drug abuse is a difficult feat to tackle on one’s own. It requires a strong commitment to getting better and oftentimes, the help of a professional. Family Guidance Center offers both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment services. To learn more, visit familyguidance.org.