Psychological Effects of Substance Abuse and Addiction

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Why are people who aren't physically addicted to drugs of any concern to most people? After all, they aren't stealing to fund their habit, they aren't laying around all day trying to figure out how to get their next high, what's the big deal? They're just smoking here and there, popping a pill once in a while. Is it really a big deal?

Substance abuse is a more serious issue than addiction in many ways, the most obvious being that people "fly under the radar" when they aren't addicted. But that doesn't mean they are free of problems related to substance abuse. Whether it's getting a DUI on the way home from a fun night out, or an abusive attitude towards co-workers, unstable relationships, or entanglement in a legal system that defines substance abuse as criminal activity—just like stealing, rape, and murder—substance abuse affects life at every turn for many people.

What else happens? Thoughts or attempts at suicide, levels of depression, involving oneself in high-risk situations to acquire the illicit substances, associating with dangerous people, and of course, serious or deadly medical issues, which can include seizures, heart attacks, delusions leading to unsafe behavior, unsafe sex, extreme violence, and jail are just a few things that can be unexpected effects of substance abuse to its victim. Inexperience is one of the substance-abuser’s greatest weaknesses.

Mood disorders are common side effects, including: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia and even antisocial personality disorder can be present as a result of substance abuse.

Abusing drugs as a young person (under 25) is a very different event than abuse by a person whose brain has fully matured and developed. When young people abuse substances, they diminish or destroy the ability of the brain to fully function due to impeded development. We often think "how can they do this to themselves," not thinking how they are unable to understand it because their brain is "fried" from substance abuse at an early age. This often translates into behavioral problems, emotional problems, full-fledged addiction, learning disabilities, diseases, car accidents, and brain damage.

There is one safe, easy, and effective way to avoid potential problems caused by substance abuse—which is don’t try them. After that, it's a game of Russian Roulette.

For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.

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