Substance abusers don’t seem to realize the destruction they are doing to their bodies when they are abusing drugs or alcohol. And it is not only the physical destruction caused by substance abuse, if you are abusing drugs or alcohol, you are also causing destruction in every facet of your life. Many times substance abuse continues until it has caused irreparable damage to individuals’ lives.
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “1 in 12 American adults is an alcohol abuser or alcoholic.” Young adults between the ages of 18 to 29 are most likely to have alcohol-related problems. Alcohol abuse is defined as a drinking pattern that results in significant and reoccurring consequences. Alcohol abusers likely have major problems at school, work, or home.
When you drink alcohol, it first goes to your stomach and then the small intestines. There, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated through the entire body. It reaches many organs and most importantly, the brain. Once there, alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways. This affects how the brain works and can change mood and behavior. It also makes it more difficult to think clearly and move with coordination. In addition to affecting the brain, over-consumption of alcohol causes heart, liver, pancreas and immune system problems.
Researchers at the University of Missouri recently published a report showing that alcohol turns off the “alarm” in your brain that normally goes off when you make a mistake. Bruce Bartholow, the lead psychology professor who ran the study, commented that “our study shows that alcohol doesn’t reduce your awareness of mistakes — it reduces how much you care about making those mistakes.”
The study involved measuring the brain activity of almost 70 volunteers that completed challenging computer tasks designed to elicit some errors. The brain’s “alarm signal” in response to the computer errors was significantly reduced for those who drank alcohol compared with the others. Professor Bartholow concluded that “having a strong brain response to mistakes promotes better self-control and helps people avoid making further mistakes in the future.” Therefore, alcohol decreases the ability to react to mistakes. This is the foundation of poor decisions and reacting poorly when mistakes are made.
Drug Abuse and Addiction
Below are some chilling facts that should scare any drug user straight:
- All research points to drug use having direct negative effects on memory, cognition, and learning.
- Brain scans of cocaine addicts show almost no brain function. Normal brain functioning only returns after months of abstinence.
- Drug use floods the brain with dopamine, which causes an increase in pleasure. However, brain cells that are constantly exposed to excessive dopamine will become damaged or die.
- According to the National Institute of Health, “drugs can alter important brain areas that are necessary for life-sustaining functions and can drive the compulsive drug abuse that marks addiction.” That is, drugs directly negatively affect the brain stem (controls basic life functions), the cerebral cortex (thinking and senses) and the limbic system (emotions).
Help is Available if You are Abusing Drugs or Alcohol
Don’t continue ruining your health and well-being by abusing drugs or alcohol. You can get help from many different alcohol and drug addiction treatment facilities. They are located all over the United States today. Inpatient treatment is one of the safest and most effective ways to beat drug or alcohol addiction. The benefits include:
- Tools and resources
- Different therapy options
- 24/7 professional support
- Clinical medical supervision
- Zero access to drugs or alcohol
- Reduced social negative influences
Abusing drugs or alcohol can be harmful to you in many different ways. It will disrupt your work and school. It will diminish your quality of health and life. It will weaken and destroy your relationships. Changing your life is only a phone call away. Don’t wait any longer. Get professional rehab help today!