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Article Summary

Physical Effects of Drug Abuse

The physical effects of drug abuse are extremely harmful to the user's health. The health problems associated with the drug abuse and addiction are many and varied, as well a potentially lethal. Drugs which are ingested by smoking tend to result in increased lung problems, mouth and throat cancers, etc. The physical effects of drug abuse on the central nervous system tend to list similar strings of symptoms involving psychotic behaviors. Stimulants give increased risks of heart attacks and so forth. Another common thread is pregnancy. The physical effects of drugs can have very strong adverse reactions in fetuses and cause associated problems. These problems can kill the baby and mother, or lead to lifetime health problems. Additionally, there are strong effects from mixing drugs.

Physical Effects of Drug Abuse

When someone abuses drugs they experience physical effects of the substance they have taken. The stimulation of using cocaine, for instance, is followed by a "crash" : a period of anxiety, fatigue, depression, and a strong desire to use more cocaine to alleviate the feelings of the crash. Marijuana and alcohol interfere with motor control and are factors in many automobile accidents. Users of marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs may experience flashbacks, unwanted recurrences of the drug's effects weeks or months after use. Abrupt abstinence from certain drugs results in withdrawal symptoms. For example, heroin withdrawal symptoms cause vomiting, muscle cramps, convulsions, and delirium.

With the continued use of a physically addictive drug, tolerance develops. This means constantly increasing amounts of the drug are needed to duplicate the initial effect. Sharing hypodermic needles used to inject some drugs dramatically increases the risk of contracting AIDS and some types of hepatitis. In addition, increased sexual activity among drug users, both in prostitution and from the dis-inhibiting effect of some drugs, also puts them at a higher risk of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

  • The Physical Effects of Amphetamine Abuse:?
    • Swallowed or snorted, these drugs hit users with a fast high, making them feel powerful, alert, and energized.
    • Uppers pump up heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, and they can also cause sweating, shaking, headaches, sleeplessness, and blurred vision.
    • Prolonged use may cause hallucinations and intense paranoia.
  • The Physical Effects Cocaine and Crack Abuse:
    • Cocaine is a stimulant that rocks the central nervous system, giving users a quick, intense feeling of power and energy.? Snorting highs last between 15 and 30 minutes; smoking highs last between 5 and 10 minutes.
    • Cocaine also elevates heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
    • Snorting can put a hole inside the lining of your nose
    • First-time users-even teens-of both cocaine and crack can stop breathing or have fatal heart attacks.? Using either of these drugs even one time can kill you.
    • ?These drugs are highly addictive, and as a result, the drug, not the user, calls the shots.? Even after one use, cocaine and crack can create both physical and psychological cravings that make it very, very difficult for users to stop.
  • The Physical Effects of Cold and Cough Medicine (DXM) Abuse:
    • Several over-the-counter cough and cold medicines contain the ingredient dextromatorphan (also called DXM).? If taken in large quantities, these over-the-counter medicines can cause hallucinations, loss of motor control, and "out-of-body" (or disassociative) sensations.??????
    • Small doses help suppress coughing, but larger doses can cause fever, confusion, impaired judgment, blurred vision, dizziness, paranoia, excessive sweating, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, headache, lethargy, numbness of fingers and toes, redness of face, dry and itchy skin, loss of consciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.? Sometimes users mistakenly take cough syrups that contain other medications in addition to detromethorphan.? High doses of these other meds can cause serious injury of death.
  • The Physical Effects of Marijuana Abuse:?
    • Marijuana also elevates heart rate and blood pressure.? Some people get red eyes and feel very sleepy or hungry.?
    • Marijuana is as tough on the lungs as cigarettes-steady smokers suffer coughs, wheezing, and frequent colds.
  • The Physical Effects of Inhalant Abuse:?
    • Inhalants make you feel giddy and confused, as if you were drunk.?
    • Long time users get headaches, nosebleeds, and may suffer the loss of hearing and sense of smell.?
    • Inhalants are the most likely of abused substances to cause severe toxic reaction and death.? Using inhalants, even one time, can kill you.

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