Alcohol and drug abuse are on the rise. Unfortunately, so are the drug-related deaths occurring in the U.S. on a daily basis. With this problem becoming increasingly apparent, it is vital that before an individual engage in drug or alcohol use that they learn just how detrimental substance abuse can be to their health and well-being. Hopefully, then, by learning the cold hard facts about substance abuse can someone think twice before using a drug that can lead them down a destructive path of addiction.
Awareness of the destructive nature of substance abuse is one of the best ways to mitigate the chances of an individual heading down such a devastating path. In this article we will explore how drugs affect the body, especially the brain, and how to get help if one is heading down the path of addiction (or already on it). But first, let’s start with the sad reality of how prevalent, and how much of a problem, drug use is in our world today.
Statistic Facts About Drugs
Drug use and abuse has become so pervasive in our culture that the U.S., alone, has had to implement numerous laws in order to try to help stop the spread of this infectious disease. You may have even heard about the “War on Drugs” and the “Opioid Crisis” that has gained increasing media attention as a means to try to stop the illegal spread and abuse of drugs in the U.S. However, you may not realize just how much of a problem substance abuse is in our culture. Think about these statistics for a moment:
- The average age a child experiments with drugs is 13
- 50% of all violent crimes committed, along with 50% of all suicides is drug-related
- 50% of traffic violations are due to drug use
- 80% of domestic violence causes are related to drug use
- 19.7 million people aged 12 and older battled a substance abuse disorder in 2017 (according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
- An estimated 1 out of 8 adults struggle with both alcohol and drug use disorders at the same time
- Around 40% of adults battle an illicit drug use disorder (more than 7 million people)
Drug abuse and addiction costs America more than $740 billion annually. Obviously, the drug and alcohol problem is much more prevalent than one might have guessed and, as such, needs serious attention in order to mitigate its widespread effects.
Facts About The Side Effects of Drugs & How They Affect the Brain
While many people, particularly youth or college-aged students, try drugs out of curiosity or for recreational use, the truth is that drug use can negatively affect an individual even upon their first use. In fact, because each drug can have a different impact on the user depending on what substance is used and that individual’s unique chemical makeup, it is imperative that one does not try drugs out of mere curiosity, especially any illicit drugs. Furthermore, any medications taken by an individual needs to be closely monitored by a trained medical professional.
The effects a drug can have on an individual can depend on a variety of factors, including how the drug is taken (injection, inhalation, ingestion), the genetics of the individual, what type of drug it is, the dosage of the drug, and if the drug is taken with other substances. However, one commonality among all users and drug types will be the way misuse of drugs affects the brain. Drugs, in fact, can change the way one’s brain operates and can ultimately interfere with the person’s ability to make decisions.
Certain drugs, like marijuana and heroin, mirror that of a neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in our bodies. However, because they don’t operate the same way as these naturally-occurring neurotransmitters, they end up sending abnormal messages through the brain, which creates a significant problem for how the brain and body functions.
Other drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamine, release too much dopamine into the brain, which can create communication problems within the brain. As most likely assumed, any interferences in the brain can create issues in the user’s normal day functioning and result in severe health consequences to the user. In fact, with repeated drug usage, some neurons in the brain may even die. This can cause the user to lose the ability to feel pleasure, leading to feelings of depression and lifelessness.
One of the most commonly abused substances, alcohol, blocks chemical signals between neurons in the brain, leading to impulsive behavior, slurred speech, poor memory, and slowed reaction time. If abused long-term, alcohol can create neurotoxicity, causing neurons to eventually die, and “brain shrinkage”, reducing the healthy matter in the brain.
Cold Hard Facts: How to Get Help with an Addiction to Drugs
With time, drug use can not only lead to substance dependence or a drug addiction but it can also create a host of devastating health consequences to the user, as briefly mentioned. As such, it is imperative that if one is suffering in the grips of abuse or addiction that they seek professional, trained help immediately. This is vital in ensuring the health and safety of the individual is well protected from the harmful, even fatal, effects that drug abuse and addiction can have on the user.
One of the best ways to ensure an individual suffering from addiction receives appropriate, effective help is through an inpatient drug facility environment. An inpatient rehab facility is proven most beneficial to eliminating drug use out of a person’s life because it offers the individual space to focus on their recovery in a safe environment without the distractions and temptations the outside world can offer. Furthermore, an inpatient rehab facility can help one get to the root of the addiction and help the individual choose healthier coping mechanisms for the future, as a means to ensure the individual walks the path of sobriety long-term outside of the facility.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, the time to get help is now. You deserve the freedom and fulfillment that a drug-free life has to offer. Reach out today and see what a difference investing in your recovery can make to your overall well-being and happiness right now.