1) Brain DamageThe National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that substance abuse can alter the way that the brain sends messages and understands information. Even after a single use of a particular substance, the brain can be negatively impacted by the substance.Damages to the brain can vary slightly between different substances; however, an addiction to the substance means that the brain has been altered to cause cravings or urges to abuse the drug. Some substances, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse, can even cause permanent damage to the nerves in the brain.
2) Risk of Heart AttackAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many substances can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of a heart attack. When a heart attack occurs, the damages to the heart can be significant.Although it is possible to live after a heart attack, the damages will persist and the heart will not be as strong as it was before for the substance abuse. When an individual does go through a heart attack, there is a risk of death or severe health concerns that may persist.
3) Potential Cancer RisksSubstance abuse and addiction can lead to an increased risk of developing cancer. Hartwick College explains that some substances, like marijuana and certain steroids, have a greater risk of cancer when compared to cigarettes if an individual uses the substances for an extended period of time.The specific form of cancer that may develop can vary based on the substance. For example, a substance that is smoked may cause lung cancer or cancer of the throat. Substances that are injected into the blood stream may cause different forms of cancer due to the way that the body is exposed to the drug.Regardless of the specific substance, there is a possibility that cancer will develop when an individual has abused a drug for an extended period of time. The risk of cancer will often increase based on the duration of the addiction and the specific substance that was abused.
4) Risk of Sexually Transmitted DiseasesSexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, can be passed from different individuals through needles or increased sexual behaviors. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that substance abuse can increase the risk of contracting an STD and some STDs are potentially life-threatening.In particular, the risk of developing HIV and AIDS can be a concern when a substance is abused. HIV cannot be cured and will cause permanent damage to the body over a lifetime. In some cases, an STD can directly cause an individual’s death.
5) Damage to the LiverDrugs and alcohol can damage the liver, especially when substances are combined or when the substance directly impacts the function of the liver. Although liver damage is not always obvious, drugs can cause permanent damage to the liver and may increase the risk of developing hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver and other liver-related conditions.Substance abuse can damage the organs of the body or increase the risk of severe health concerns. Although it is possible to recover from substance abuse, some of the physical effects can persist for many months, years or even a lifetime.
Sources http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/addiction-health http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs/health-effects http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse http://www.hartwick.edu/campus-life/health-promotion/health-risks-of-alcohol-and-drug-abuse
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