Substance abuse can completely devastate the human body. Both adults and children are at risk of the damaging effects of alcoholism and substance abuse. Unborn babies in the womb are also highly susceptible to damage from substances. Various functions of the body slow down or stop working altogether with prolonged use, so it’s important to seek treatment before there are permanent consequences.
The physical damage alcohol and harmful substances can wreak lifelong damage to the organs inside the body. Individuals may not be aware of the lasting consequences on their addiction and may not be alerted to health issues until they reach a treatment facility or a hospital. Some of the effects of prolonged drug use are:
- Difficulty sleeping, thinking, and remembering things
- Hepatitis and other diseases from risky behaviors
- A weakened immune system
- Cancer of various parts of the body
- Abnormal heart rate or heart attack
- Collapsed veins and bacterial infections
- Chronic bronchitis
- Dangerously slowed breathing
- Abdominal pain
- The decaying of tissue within the body
- Stunted growth
- Muscle weakness
- Kidney damage or failure
- Liver damage or failure
- Seizures or strokes
- Premature birth
- Changes in appetite
- Mood swings
- Cold or hot flashes
- Severe intestinal problems
The list could continue on much longer, but the picture is clear: substance abuse does entirely more harm than it is worth. Substance abuse affects every person that is involved in the individual’s life, from older adults to unborn children. Pregnant mothers that continue using drugs or alcohol during their pregnancy endanger their baby and bring about all sorts of ill health effects like:
- Low birth weight
- Developmental delays and learning difficulties
- Behavioral issues
- Congenital disabilities in the kidneys, brain, and genitals
- Withdrawal symptoms upon birth
- Fetal death
- Placental abruption
- Low blood sugar
- Difficulty breathing
- Bleeding within the brain
- HIV and other diseases
- Poor muscle control
- Brain damage
- Mood disorders
The list of consequences for drug and alcohol abuse is long, and it continues getting longer the more individuals to use the substance. Substance abuse can even influence younger children that see it in the household and learn from those behaviors.
The environment is a significant factor in the likelihood that addiction will develop in individuals and setting children up in a situation where they learn harmful habits is what addicts do unless they get help.
Children that emulate the behavior of their addicted parents or loved ones are at risk of exposing themselves to drugs and alcohol at a very young age. Small children can accidentally get into stashes of drugs and face complications. Young children are more likely to overdose due to their smaller body composition. They may need to be rushed to the hospital if anyone believes they have gotten into drugs or alcohol.
Don’t wait until something tragic happens, like a loved one getting involved in your substance abuse habit and putting themselves in danger. Do not let them travel the same harmful road you have travelled, be an example and show them an environment of recovery and positivity. The Health Center of Colorado can bring you closer to bonding with your loved ones without fear of influencing them negatively.