More often than not, substance abuse will be accompanied by one health issue or several. If it is not a physical health problem, then it can be mental. Even abusing prescribed drugs like Benzodiazepines can still have some adverse effects, such as impaired judgment. Continued use of substances weakens your body. Eventually, it will destroy your vital systems. When this happens, your body becomes weak and makes you vulnerable to diseases and infections. Here are some of the ways addiction affects your health.
Besides nutrient metabolization, another role of your liver is detoxification. But if you are constantly using alcohol, at one point, your liver is going to get overwhelmed with its metabolic duties and start breaking down. Alcohol, steroids, and heroin can all damage the liver, causing hepatitis and cirrhosis. Alcohol can lead to various liver diseases, from something mild like alcoholic steatohepatitis to severe inflammation referred to as alcoholic hepatitis. Cirrhosis increases your chances of getting liver cancer.
One of the side effects of addiction is that a user neglects a healthy diet. Most people who are addicts will choose to buy drugs over buying food. Poor nutrition combined with substance abuse starts interfering with normal body functions with time. Most addicts do not eat enough food as drugs can suppress their appetite. On the other hand, even if they are eating, they do not spend money on healthy foods but rather on junk most of the time. Another typical behavior of an addict is binge eating. As people come down from a high, they will have an insatiable appetite, leading to consuming large amounts of foods at once, which can be unhealthy.
Substances ingested orally, such as opioids or alcohol, can affect one’s digestive system. Opioids have been known to lead to chronic constipation. At the same time, other drugs can cause indigestion, stomach upset, nausea, or vomiting. Chronic indigestion associated with regular drinking is referred to as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), which damages your digestive system. Frequent vomiting because of substance use can also damage the esophagus. Methamphetamine and cocaine lead to gastrointestinal issues like mesenteric arterial vasospasm.
Substance-use disorder often impairs one’s judgment, causing them to make decisions they would not have if they were sober. One of the choices one is likely to make is engaging in unsafe sexual behavior. Because of this, contracting HIV becomes very easy. Besides sexual behavior, one can also contract diseases when sharing drug injection needles. Once you are infected with the virus, your body becomes susceptible to other health issues. Since HIV has no effective cure, you will stay with this condition for the rest of your life.
Because your kidneys also filter toxic materials out of your bloodstream, they can also get affected if the blood has large amounts of harmful substances. That is why most people addicted to alcohol have kidney issues like renal failure, which requires dialysis. Some drugs like opioids and heroin, which cause respiratory depression leading to a low amount of oxygen intake in the body, can also cause kidney damage.
Mental Health Issues
Using drugs for a long time causes some changes to your brain. Prolonged alcohol use eventually leads to depression. Drugs like cannabis, meth, cocaine, and benzodiazepines will affect how you sleep and relax. They can also lead to some anxiety disorders and depression. You should not let alcohol and drug use get to this point. Pinnacle Recovery Center suggests getting help for your addiction to manage both mental health issues and addiction.
Addiction can damage most organs in your body. To avoid that, abstain from addictive substances. If you are already an addict, find a recovery center that can help you become sober as that can undo some of the damage substances are causing to your body.