Many people find the use of drugs and alcohol to be glamorous. But most individuals who have experienced their short- and long-term effects would likely tell otherwise. The problem with abusing drugs and alcohol is not just the immediate hit that your body takes while you're under the influence of these substances, but also the long-term effects that will last long after your high--and even desire--for these substances have ended.
Long-term Effects of Alcohol
Excessive drinking can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, strokes and heart attacks. Since alcohol is processed by the liver, heavy drinking can wear the liver down, causing it to become fatty or diseased by cirrhosis or liver cancer. According to the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, alcohol abuse is also responsible for two per cent to four per cent of all cancer diagnoses.
Immediate Effects of Alcohol
Excessive drinking can cause an individual to become so drunk that they experience vomiting, nausea, dizziness and unconsciousness. Alcohol poisoning can also result from heavy drinking, which can result in serious illness or even death. Once the effects of alcohol wear off, an individual who drank excessively will likely experience the uncomfortable effects of a hangover, which include a pounding headache, vomiting, nausea, dizziness and body aches that can last anywhere from a few hours to more than a day. Individuals under the effects of alcohol may experience a loss of sensation, motor control and judgment, which can cause them to injure themselves or others or to make poor decisions that they would not otherwise make.
Immediate Effects of Drugs
There are three serious conditions, aside from death, that can result from ingesting too much of a drug, mixing incompatible drugs or taking a drug that has been laced with another ingredient, such as rat poison or chloroform. These conditions, according to the Bowles Center, include respiratory failure, heart attack and coma. Some prescription drugs, when taken in excess, can also cause hangover-like symptoms after the drug leaves the body. In addition to causing symptoms common to drunkenness, some drugs, such as cocaine, LSD, barbiturates and tranquillisers can cause rapid heart beat and seizures.
Long-term Effects of Drugs
Tremors and heart palpitations are two long-term effects caused by prolonged drug abuse. Amphetamines can cause open sores and other skin conditions that may or may not remain for long periods of time. Sexual dysfunction can also occur from abusing amphetamines and narcotics.
Effects of Addiction
Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol may or may be very likely to become addicted to their substance of choice. Addiction can result in a loss of jobs, friends, family, income and even home. It can also cause varying amounts of irritability, depending on how addicting the individual's substance of choice is. Some drugs, such as heroin, even cause withdrawal sickness, which is marked by bouts of nausea, vomiting, irritability, hot flushes, shakes and cold sweats.
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