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Effects of Substance Abuse

Everybody knows that the effects of substance abuse can be destructive.
But when it ends up happening to yourself or a person you love, that’s when you need our addictions treatment advice. Having run superb quality substance abuse rehabs in both the UK and South Africa we’re ideally placed to help you find a treatment centre that can help you to a contented recovery.
Sometimes media coverage of horror rehab stories lean public perception towards a nearly hysterical view.  Let’s try to take an objective view and demystify the illness and look at its symptoms.
You may have noticed that I referred to the effects of substance abuse as symptoms of an illness.  Contemporary medical thought has a name for this condition – substance abuse disorder.  They differentiate between this and addiction, which is formally known as substance dependence disorder.  We’ll touch on this later.
There are physical, mental, social, vocational, and spiritual effects of substance abuse.  In other words this illness affects all areas of life and is not constrained to one particular sphere.
The physical effects of substance abuse are possibly the easiest to observe and understand.  The chemicals that are abused can lead to problems with the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and of course the brain.  Additionally the person who is drinking alcohol or abusing drugs may suffer from malnutrition as a result of failing to take proper care of him/herself.
Drugs and alcohol have mind-altering properties as a result of their effect on the brain.  It is therefore no surprise that mental problems are listed amongst the effects of substance abuse.  Persistent use of drugs that are hallucinogenic can lead to an altered sense of reality.  Some cases of schizophrenia are thought to be related to heavy use of psychoactive drugs.
It is very common for drugs and alcohol to cause troubles at work.  This can be through absenteeism as employees stay away to either use drugs or recuperate from the effects of substance abuse.  Of course if a person is using drugs or alcohol they are less likely to perform well at their job.  They may feel physically ill or still be under the influence to some degree at work resulting in foggy thoughts.
The spiritual effects of substance abuse are perhaps less cut and dried than the others.  While some people don’t believe in spirit at all those who have some sort of religious or spiritual belief describe how their sense of connection is lost when they use drugs or alcohol.  The root of the spiritual malady lies in the selfish behaviour that using drugs and alcohol engenders.
In the pursuit of drugs or alcohol, addicts and alcoholics lose interest in the people around them.  This leads to being disconnected from their family, loved ones and others around them.  An African proverb says “A person is only a person through his/her connection to other people”.  Thus we can see how a spiritual breakdown can be one of the effects of substance abuse.
The symptoms of substance abuse lie primarily in using drugs or alcohol despite the problems this creates.  If you can see any of the foregoing effects of substance abuse in your own life then you may have a problem and should consult with a specialist to get an expert opinion.
Addiction, which is known formally as a substance dependence disorder, includes another two symptoms – those of tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.  These are both physical symptoms that manifest when the body adjusts itself to the presence of the substance.  Tolerance is the ability to withstand the effects of substance abuse and so require a larger dose to get high.  Withdrawal symptoms occur when the body has adjusted to actually require some level of the substance to be present in the body.
If you are worried about the effects of substance abuse and want to stop this disorder from getting worse then please contact one of our addiction treatment consultants.  The longer you leave this medical condition untreated the worse it will get.  Remember that this can be a fatal illness – don’t delay in calling for addiction advice.

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