Home Life & Style Health What are the effects of alcohol abuse and drug addiction?

What are the effects of alcohol abuse and drug addiction?


If you, or a loved one, is battling with alcohol abuse or drug addiction problem then it’s time to be aware of the effects that either of these things is having on your mind and body.

 Alcohol abuse

Alcoholism is a serious medical condition, and the effects it has on your body are usually determined by the amount that you drink and how frequently you drink. Progression of the condition can start to severely disrupt the life of the addict and those closest to him/her, particularly if the addict begins to reach levels of intoxication that become life-threatening.

Long-term alcohol abuse can have huge effects on a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing including irreversible damage to some of the body’s most critical organs including the liver, heart, brain, stomach, and nervous system. Further medical issues can also begin to manifest such as high blood pressure, cancer, and osteoporosis.

In time, alcoholism will also start to cause severe social problems. Unemployment, domestic violence, legal problems and isolation from others are often common consequences of alcohol abuse.

What happens when you drink alcohol?

Alcohol acts as a depressant on the nervous system meaning that it can begin to affect systems in the brain. It binds to GABA receptors in the brain, causing the release of the main inhibitory neurotransmitter found in the central nervous system. This physiological effect is one of the main reasons that long-term alcohol consumption can lead to deaths, with a huge amount of people dying because of alcohol-related motor accidents.

Drug addiction

Addiction to drugs, whether illegal or prescription, can have enormous short and long-term effects on a person’s health and wellbeing. These effects will often depend on which drugs are being misused, how much is taken, and how frequently.

In general, short-term effects can include issues with blood pressure, changes in appetite, insomnia, psychosis, stroke, and even death. These things can happen after only one use. In the long-term, drugs can begin to affect your vital organs including your heart and lungs, increase your risk of cancer and provoke mental illness.

 What are the signs of drug addiction? 

A long-term addiction to drugs is itself a serious medical condition, changing the way the circuits in your brain work and interfering with the way you experience certain things in life. These changes usually make it much more difficult for the person to stop taking their chosen drug, impacting negatively on their life, physical health and mental state.

There are a number of classic warning signs of a drug addiction, whether that person is abusing prescription medication or illegal substances. An addict may exhibit a few or all of the following symptoms:

  • Cravings As addiction develops, people will start to develop intense urges or cravings for the drug.
  • Dependence When the drug is no longer in the system, an addict can begin to show a change in behaviour leaving them struggling to function.
  • Lack of judgement An addict may start to engage in risky behaviours so that they can obtain more of the drug.
  • Withdrawal If someone tries to stop using a drug abruptly, withdrawal symptoms are likely to become present.
  • Neglecting responsibilities Addicts will often start to choose drugs over going to work or attending social outings. This will also usually lead to financial trouble.
  • Unhealthy relationships Those with an unhealthy habit will seek relationships with those who have a similar addiction who will only encourage the addiction to progress.
  • Isolation An addict may withdraw from society, hiding their drug problem from family and friends. As a result of this, they may feel depressed, anxious and paranoid.

If you believe that you or a loved one is showing signs of alcohol or drug abuse, contact a centre for drug rehab in East Sussex that can help or advise you on the best route to take to battle the addiction and start living a healthy life.