Nearly 20% of people over 12 have substance abuse disorder (SUD). More than the simple use of drugs or alcohol, SUD represents a turning point where use has become excessive and dangerous. But despite the dangers of substance abuse, you may feel unable to quit using this substance, legal or not. Your body becomes more dependent on the drug to feel normal. While you can get effective treatment for substance abuse at any point, early intervention can save you a lot of hardship from the dangers of substance abuse.
For that reason, knowing the real risks you face if you continue may be precisely what you need to stop this now, reclaim your life, and begin steps toward a healthier life in recovery. At Recovery Ranch TN, our team understands how hard it can be to recognize when an SUD begins and get sober. Our substance abuse treatment programs in Tennessee include medical detox, residential treatment, outpatient options, and aftercare resources. Learn more about our continuum of care by calling 1.844.876.7680 today.
7 Dangers of Substance Abuse
Addiction and long-term substance abuse can wreak havoc on your body, mind, social life, and job. Here are some of the most common dangers of substance abuse:
1. Health Effects
Abusing drugs and alcohol has long-term effects, certainly. But you’re also doing immediate damage to your body.
Depending on the drug you’re using, you may be causing:
- Constipation, which can turn deadly
- Abnormal cell growth, which is the precursor to cancer
- Heart stress, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke
- Malnutrition and dangerous weight loss
- Tooth and gum decay
- Stomach and nostril rot
- Sunken skin
- Liver damage
In some cases, the damage is reversible. But you may experience life-long complications and scarring.
2. Increased Injury Risk
Another of the dangers of substance abuse is the risk of injury. When you use drugs that alter your mood and perceptions, you’re more likely to engage in risky behaviors like:
- Sharing needles
- Attempting stunts
- Going to dangerous places
- Committing crimes
In the early stage of drug use, you might be more aware of safety. But as the addiction progresses, you experience lowered inhibitions and increased risk.
On top of all of that, because you’re impaired, even walking around can be dangerous. Slipping and hitting your head can cause brain damage or death.
A significant risk for some drugs is overdosing. Overdose can happen even when you think you’re being safe. For example, if you buy heroin, it may be mixed with fentanyl. Fentanyl is sometimes 100 times stronger than heroin. But if you use it thinking it’s heroin, you’d take too much.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of an overdose, especially on opioids. The signs of an opioid overdose include:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Confusion and disorientation
- Loss of consciousness
- Fingernails or lips turning blue
An opioid overdose is a medical emergency. If you recognize these signs, call 911. If you are trained in using NARCAN, a life-saving medication, administer it and call emergency services.
4. Poor Hygiene
Poor hygiene might not sound very dangerous. But consider this, if you have a cut on your arm and don’t keep it clean, you run the risk of a severe infection. Infections that go untreated may lead to the loss of a limb. So yes, losing your body parts is among the dangers too.
5. Damage to Babies During Pregnancy
Often, women don’t always know when they first become pregnant. Thus, drug use can cause permanent damage to a baby. They may develop anything from learning disabilities to significant heart defects.
6. Mental Health Disorders
Sometimes mental illness leads to drug abuse. And sometimes vice versa.
When you abuse drugs, you physically alter the way your brains function, increasing the risk that you will develop a mental illness such as:
- Bipolar disorder
If you’ve already begun to experience the symptoms of disorders, any addiction treatment you receive must be in a dual diagnosis program. This means they treat mental illness and addiction together.
Otherwise, either one will cause a relapse.
7. Broken Relationships
When someone abuses drugs, family and friends may stick around for a while. They may try to help.
But to protect themselves, loved ones eventually have to say, “Get help, or we can’t see you.”
Drug abuse cuts you off from your support system. This may cause you to fall deeper into addiction. But remember, you’re the only one who can help yourself by seeking treatment.
Overcome the Dangers of Substance Abuse
Recovery Ranch TN offers you a way to escape the dangers of substance abuse. We give you the tools you need to begin reclaiming your life.
Each program is built around your unique needs. And yes, we offer dual diagnosis treatment so that you experience more lasting recovery.
You may benefit from our addiction treatment programs like:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Heroin and opioid addiction treatment
- Meth addiction treatment
- Cocaine addiction treatment