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The Link Between Addiction and Disease

Substance abuse and addiction are epidemics in many parts of the world. Addiction to any substance, whether legal or not, can cause serious damage to multiple bodily functions. Listed below are some of the most common health conditions caused or made worse by drug or alcohol abuse.

Cardiovascular Problems

Stimulants can spike a person’s heart rate while depressants that affect the Central Nervous System can slow it down to dangerous levels. Repeated blood pressure fluctuation is associated with increased risk of blood clots and other circulatory disorders. Cocaine and methamphetamines in particular can cause an irregular heartbeat.

Respiratory Problems

Drugs that are smoked can damage lung alveoli, making the upper respiratory system more susceptible to infections. CNS depressants such as opioids cause adversely affect breathing, cause hypoxia and oxygen deprivation with sustained use. Bacterial pneumonia is a lesser known but serious problem caused by heavy alcohol abuse.

Kidney Damage

The kidneys play a vital role in filtering toxins from the bloodstream. Drugs such as heroin and opioids result in reduced oxygen levels which directly impact kidney function. Impurities and additives in street drugs overload the blood with toxins which the kidneys cannot easily flush. Rhabdomyolysis is associated with certain drugs which damage muscle tissue, flooding the kidneys with myoglobin which overwhelms the kidneys. Progressive kidney damage can lead to renal failure, which could require dialysis treatment.

Liver Damage

The liver is crucial to the detoxification of the body. Certain drugs and substances can overwhelm the metabolic functions of the liver and cause organ tissue to break down. Liver disease is most commonly associated with alcohol, but steroids, inhalants and opioids also have serious impacts on the liver.

Alcohol abuse alone can lead to a range of liver diseases that include fatty liver, severe inflammation known as alcoholic hepatitis and scarring of the liver parenchyma or cirrhosis. Cirrhosis has been linked to the development of liver cancer.

Neurological Issues

Drug and alcohol abuse causes physical changes to the brain as well as to brain chemistry. These disruptions to normal brain function play a role in creating a physical dependence on certain drugs. Regions of the brain responsible for pleasure, impulse control and decisions are adversely affected.

Substances like benzodiazepines, sedatives and alcohol act as depressants, affecting the Central Nervous System. High doses of any of these cause serious muscular and neurological issues that cause cognitive damage, memory loss, and affect movement.

Cocaine, ecstasy and designer drugs are stimulants that create a sense of euphoria and physical energy when consumed but cause the brain to slow down as they leave the body, making it difficult to restore function of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Alcohol and Drug Detox Program

When making the decision to stop drug use, it is important to safely detox under the guidance of trained medical professionals before entering a rehab program. Rehab Melbourne is a comprehensive rehab facility that offers an end-to-end treatment program that covers every aspect of addiction treatment.

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