You will find below detailed information on the most common drugs and their devastating effects on human health. If you need further information on how to quit drugs, please call us at 1 (123) 456-7890.
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Alcohol is made of fermented carbohydrates, including sugars and starches. It encompasses a wide range of drink options, including ale, beer, wine and hard liquor. It can vary in strength and flavor, and how it will affect different people also varies based on factors like gender, body weight, tolerance levels, whether other foods were consumed and how much alcohol is ingested.
How Alcohol Affects the Body
The CDC estimates that roughly 50 percent of adults over the age of 18 drink on a regular basis. This is defined as enjoying at least 12 drinks in the last year. While many people can enjoy the occasional drink without a problem, there are some serious risks associated with drinking.
As you consume liquor, it interferes with your brains ability to function. Response times become sluggish, and coordination is impaired. As the drinking continues, it can start to cause permanent damage to the heart, liver and pancreas. It can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, fibrosis, cirrhosis and pancreas failure. Excessive drinking has also been linked to cancer of the mouth, esophagus, liver, breast and throat. Another concern is the impact on your immune system. Regular drinking weakens your body’s natural immunities and puts you at a greater risk for diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis. Drinking to excess impairs your ability to ward off infections for up to 24 hours.
However, alcohol in moderation can be a good thing. The esteemed Mayo Clinic reports that consuming alcohol can possibly reduce your risk of heart disease, ischemic stroke and diabetes. Women can have one per day, and men can typically have up to two drinks per day. One drink is defined as five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or 12 ounces of beer.
Also known as speed, bennies, crystal, crank, glass, uppers and pep pills, amphetamines have been around since the 1930s. These medications were first used for nasal congestion. In their pure form, they’re white, odorless and bitter tasting. They mimic adrenaline ad give people more energy. Currently, they’re used by the medical establishment to treat ADHD, but the potential for abuse is high.
How Amphetamines Affect the Body
Stimulating the central nervous system, these drugs enhance the synaptic activity in the brain. They mimic dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. They reduce appetite and help people feel more energetic. Short term use bring about an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and people report feeling happier, more in control and more alert. They can give you an artificially high sense of self-esteem and confidence.
However, the effects can become dangerous with long-term use. The feeling of power can become problematic as behavior is altered. Insomnia may become an issue, and users may feel restless all the time. Paranoid psychosis can develop with chronic use or high doses. Hallucinations, extreme weight loss and aggressive behavior are also seen. The patient can become addicted to the high, and withdrawal from methamphetamine use can be physically difficult as you experience mental fatigue, depression and hunger. The withdrawal symptoms can last for months in long-term users.
Commonly prescribed by psychiatrists, benzodiazepines are used to treat a range of conditions like anxiety, seizures, insomnia and even alcohol withdrawal. These drugs affect gamma-aminobutyric acic (GABA). This neurotransmitter chemical is calmed down and becomes less active when patients take Benzodiazepines, and that helps them to relax. This makes it an appealing medication for general anesthesia, sedation prior to surgery and for general muscle relaxation. Examples of benzodiazepines include Valiu, Tranxene, Serax and Xanax.
How Benzodiazepines Affect the Body
Common side effects include feeling relaxed, dizziness, weakness and unsteadiness. While these are to be expected, other side effects like depression, headache, sleep disturbance and a general loss of orientation are also common. The main threat with benzodiazepines is the physical dependence that can develop over prolonged use. Suddenly stopping the medication without being properly weaned off it can lead to seizures, tremors, vomiting, sweating and muscle cramping.
The medication is considered reasonably safe when used in accordance with doctor’s instructions for a short period, but there is always the risk of abuse or overuse. Scientists are concerned that long-term use of this drug can increase the risk of dementia. They’re designed to be used for short periods of time, yet some patients have been taking these medications for years, and a recent study showed that those who were on Benzodiazepines for long periods of time were up to 50 percent more likely to develop dementia. They can erode the mental facilities of an individual without that person realizing the damage is occurring. The drugs can also lead to altered judgment, memory problems and issues with self-control. Yet another study shows permanent brain damage as a result of long-term use, including brains that have actually decreased in size.
Derived from the cocoa plant, cocaine is a crystalline alkaloid known as benzoylmethyl ecgonine. It’s available in a fine powder that can be cut with other substances to boost profit levels. The powder is commonly snorted through the nose to achieve the high within a few minutes, but it can also be injected for faster results. Crack cocaine is slightly different and is usually smoked. The drug produces a feeling of euphoria that people find addicting.
How Cocaine Affects the Body
Initially, users feel a rush and a sense of alertness. Their levels of dopamine are increased, and that increases feeling of pleasure. As the effects wear off, however, users are likely to feel depressed or down. Often, they will feel worse than they did before they took the drug, and this leads to a desire for another dose. This makes the drug highly addictive.
Unlike other drugs, cocaine does not require long-term use to be fatal. Even someone who uses the drug only occasionally runs the risk of sudden death. It’s the short-term euphoria that makes this drug so additive, but there are other feelings that will start to intrude on the high. These include irritability, restlessness, anxiety and paranoia. People who regularly use the drugs have dilated pupils, high energy levels and very excited speech. Feeling pleasure becomes more difficult, aches and pains may set in, and the desire for another fix will grow at a steady rate.
Use of this drug can cause irreparable damage to the body. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, and that can lead to excessive strain on the organ and eventual heart attack. Even those who only use is occasionally will increase their risk of heart disease. It can lead to strokes as it constricts blood vessels in the brain. The lungs become irritated and can be permanently damaged. Nasal passages are perforated, and the gastrointestinal tract can develop ulcers and perforations. Kidney failure is a serious concern with cocaine use, and it can also impair sexual function although the drug has a reputation as being an aphrodisiac. While the desire may be there, the ability to follow through with the desire will diminish.
Originally known as MDMA, Ecstasy dates back to 1912 when it was developed by Merck Pharmaceutical. It was used by the military in psychological warfare tests and was prescribed by therapists to lower inhibitions. It only emerged as a party drug in the early 1980s. A synthetic substance, it has properties of both amphetamines and hallucinogenics, and it is classified as a stimulant. Available in a pill, it’s commonly taken for mood enhancement.
How Ecstasy Affects the Body
Users continue taking Ecstasy for the intensely pleasurable feelings it promotes. They feel more self-confident and energetic. It also helps people feel more peaceful and at ease. A desire to feel close to others is common, and users may experience a stronger need to be in physical contact with others. However, there are other side effects that are far less pleasurable.
The less enjoyable, and even dangerous, side effects of Ecstasy include involuntary teeth clenching, chills, sweating, increased heart rate, blurred vision, transfixion on sounds and sights, nausea and seizures. Combined with the hot and crowded conditions at many clubs, Ecstasy use can lead to dehydration and hyperthermia. There have also been reported cases of cardiovascular failure as a result of Ecstasy use.
More damaging long-term effects have also been found. The regular use of Ecstasy disrupts the body’s natural ability to produce serotonin, so it becomes more difficult to regulate mood, appetite, memory and even pain.
Volatile substances that form chemical vapors are sometimes inhaled for the mind-altering effect. While many drugs can be inhaled, this term specifically refers to products solvents, aerosols, gases and nitrites that serve industrial or household purposes but can be used to achieve a high.
How Inhalants Affect the Body
Getting a high from inhalants is particularly dangerous. The chemicals were never meant to be internally ingested, and the effects can range from a headache to sudden death. Known as Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, inhalants can cause death in children with the first attempt. Butane, propane and some aerosol products are known for causing cardiac arrest resulting in death.
Other potential problem and short-term effects include apathy, impaired judgment, dizziness, visual disturbances, muscle weakness, numbness and abdominal pain. Long-term inhalant users typically experience weight loss, disorientation, inattentiveness, irritability, depression and lack of coordination. The kidneys and liver can be permanently damaged, and brain damage can also be permanent.
Used by doctors as an inducing anesthesia, ketamine is known for producing dream-like states as it wears off. People who are under the influence of this drug are encouraged to have a responsible adult monitor them during the first 24 hours after using the substance.
How Ketamine Affects the Body
Known on the street as Special K, abuse of this powerful drug is on the rise. A single dose can lead to psychosis-like effects and impair your thinking. Frequent users are found to have more disturbances in verbal memory, forgetfulness and trouble recalling conversations. The threat of addiction is high, and the full impact of long-term use is not yet known.
Referred to as acid, doses, microdot, hits, sugar cubes, tabs or trips, LSD is a common and very potent hallucinogen. Manufactured using lysergic acid, it can be found in a clear liquid or thin squares of gelatin. Taken orally, it can also be put in the eyes to reach the high. The effects are unpredictable because the amount taken, individual personality, mood, expectation and surroundings can all affect how the substance affects the user.
How LSD Affects the Body
Most users will feel different sensations and changing emotions, and hallucinations may occur. With repeated use, people can experience flashbacks of their high. Most users stop taking it on their own or reduce frequency with time, so it’s not considered an addictive substance. However, it is still dangerous.
Users may get into accidents while they’re high, leading to serious injuries. Mixed with other drugs, LSD can be fatal. On the long term, it leads to mental damage, and long-term users often have mental damage and psychosis such as major depression or schizophrenia.
Derived from Cannabis sativa, marijuana is now legal in a few states. Rolled into joints and smoked, the leaves, flowers, stems and seeds can all be consumed. Referred to as weed, herb and pot, the use of marijuana has remained stable since the 1990s. After using the drug and feeling the initial high, people experience depression as the drug wears off. They may also be more tired than normal after a high runs its course.
How Marijuana Affects the Body
People should not view marijuana as a completely safe substance. It still carries certain risks and dangers. Side effects include rapid heart rate, rising blood pressure, increased breathing rate, slowed reaction time and increased appetite. The drug also has a psychological effect, and people can develop paranoia, a distorted sense of time and short-term memory loss. Anxiety and depression are common. Experts believe that the drug is addictive, and long-term problems include aggression, anxiety and decreased appetite.
Other long-term effects of marijuana use include a reduced resistance to illnesses like the common cold. Growth disorders are common among users, and abnormally structured cells can increase. Male sex hormones decrease, and sexual capacity will decrease along with the hormones. It’s more difficult to study and retain information, and personality changes are common. Prolonged use makes it more difficult to think clearly and understand things. There is also a concern that marijuana is a gateway drug. The belief is that using marijuana prompts users to seek better or faster highs, and that leads to more serious drugs like ketamine or PCP.
A chemical substance, methamphetamines are available in a crystalline form. Referred to as crystal meth or meth, it has been used by women for weight loss. It gives a long-lasting high that some people crave, and reports show that the high can last as long as 12 hours. Commonly used as a stimulant, it improves energy, concentration and alertness.
How Methamphetamines Affect the Body
The feeling of euphoria is desirable among users, but other side effects can be dangerous. This drug can cause diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, agitation, violence, and confusion. Libido levels are increased, but so are blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and sugar levels. The walls of the arteries can constrict.
The damage from prolonged methamphetamine use can be permanent. Studies show that addicts can suffer severe tooth decay and even tooth loss, and skin sores are common. As the brain is affected by the drug, it can cause permanent deficits in motor skills and thinking ability, and increased distractibility. Regular use of the drug also damages the liver, and it can lead to permanent brain damage, stroke and even death.
Used for treating pain, common opiates include codeine, Vicodin, oxycontin, duragesic and dilaudid. Prescribed by doctors, they can help with chronic pain, but the risk of addiction is high. They should be used only under a doctor’s care, and they should be limited to short-term use whenever possible.
How Opiates Affect the Body
Opiates produce a feeling of euphoria or overall wellbeing that’s calming and relaxing. Many people start out with opiates because they need pain relief after an injury, but they soon start to develop an addiction to the relaxed feelings it produces. Tolerance quickly develops, and people need larger quantities to reach the high. This makes opiate users particularly vulnerable to overdose.
Side effects include constipation, drowsiness, vomiting and nausea. As a tolerance develops, you may encounter more side effects, such as muscle pain, anxiety and irritability. Trying to stop the medication can lead to painful withdrawal symptoms, including muscle aches, yawning, abdominal cramping, low energy, hot and cold sweats, agitation and insomnia. There are medications available to help patients deal with withdrawal symptoms when they’re being treated for opiate addiction. It seems ironic that long-term use of opiates will cause more pain. This occurs when the nervous system experiences changes in the way pain signals are transmitted, and it results in hypersensitivity and more pain.
Part of the opiate family, OxyContin is used to treat extreme pain. It’s typically prescribed by a doctor so that dose levels can be adjusted to achieve the desired results. It’s available in a pill that’s taken orally. Abuse of this medication can lead to problems with breathing, and it can even lead to death.
How OxyContin Affects the Body
This is a highly addictive drug, and many users become physically dependent on the medication. Even those who start out needing the pill to handle chronic pain can become addicted and face serious side effects. The changes to the body include breathing difficulties, mood changes and behavior changes. Over time, it can start to harm the brain and heart. Increasing pressure in the skull alters mental functioning and can lead to confusion. The heart rate can slow too much and lead to heart failure. Bladder and bowel control problems have also been reported among long-term users.
Also known as PCP, this drug was introduced in the 1950s as an intravenous surgical anesthetic. It produces a calm feeling, and the result is a trance-like state. Patients report feeling as though they are out of their bodies when PCP was used. Commonly used by veterinarians, it was never actually approved for human use. It became available in a pill form in the 1960s and abuse of this pill rose as a result. Still in use on the party scene, it’s known as ozone, rocket fuel, love boat, embalming fluid, superweed, or hog.
How PCP Affects the Body
Smoked or snorted, this drug passes quickly to the brain and will disrupt the functioning of NMDA receptor complexes. This interferes with the ability to feel pain, learning and memory. It also affects your emotional state. Low doses cause shallow, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure and elevated temperature. Other side effects include nausea, dizziness and blurred vision.
All of the effects can be unpredictable. It only takes a few minutes after ingestion to feel the side effects, and they can last for several hours. Some people report feeling the altered state for several days. A distorted sense of space, time and body image is common.
This is a highly addictive drug, and withdrawal symptoms are common when use of the drug is ceased. The effects of long-term use can be disabling. People may have trouble with memory, speaking and even thinking clearly. Depression is likely. Communication with others is more difficult, and they may become more withdrawn. Psychotic states are a risk with long-term use, and drug-induced psychosis will become more lasting. The PCP can store in fatty tissues, and that means that the effects can be felt for months or even years after use is stopped. While recovery is possible, it will take longer and require a great deal of work to overcome this addiction.