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Many people think that experimenting with drugs is harmless, as long as they know when to stop. However this is not always the case. Most of the time, they either find it difficult to stop, or experience fatal side-effects. The effects can vary from person to person, and some may show mild symptoms while others experience more severe effects. Factors like age, mental condition, physical health and genes may all affect the way people react to drugs. The type of drugs also plays an important role. Let’s take a look at some of these effects of drug abuse on the body.

Psychological

A lot of people start taking drugs to get over psychological problems like depression, anxiety, bipolar and so on. However, self-medicating is extremely harmful since the user may eventually become addicted to the drug and seek it out. It may even make their previous mental condition much worse. As a result, this could affect a person’s brain and even cause mental disorders that were not present earlier. There is quite a strong link between substance abuse and psychological disorders, and one may spring from the other. The symptoms of depression, for example, can become stronger due to drug abuse and withdrawal would be extremely tough. Withdrawal from the drug itself could lead to depression. Anxiety too could be caused during the withdrawal stage. More severe than depression and anxiety is paranoia, caused by the long term abuse of drugs such as marijuana. This can even lead to psychosis and the sufferer will need to check into rehab centres as soon as possible.

Physical

Although the psychological effects of long term drug abuse are probably more marked than the physical aspects, they are still severe. The short term effects of drug abuse depend on a variety of factors such as a person’s overall health, the specific drug used and how it’s taken. However there are some common side effects such as loss of appetite, inability to fall asleep, increased heart rate and blood pressure. Fatal effects can also occur with just one use, such as heart attacks, stroke, overdosing and death. The long term effects are more complex and varied. Long term drug abuse can damage the kidneys, lead to muscle breakdown and even cause kidney failure. The liver is also affected, especially when a mixture of drugs are taken. This can lead to cancer of the liver. Heart attacks and lung problems are also common. If unclean needles are used, users may end up with HIV/AIDS or hepatitis. Another long term effect is addiction, and the user may find it extremely difficult to give up drugs.

Behavioural

Finally, drug abuse affects a person’s behaviour in several ways. Since these substances are so addictive, they may completely take over a person’s life and change their personality dramatically. Some of these signs include lying about taking drugs, giving up activities they previously enjoyed and distancing themselves from family and friends. This will also depend on the individual and the drug itself. Many drug addicts also have a desire to give up the drug, but are unable to. As a result, they will spend most of their time around other addicts. They will also give up their responsibilities at home or at school and spend large amounts of money procuring these substances.

The only way a person can come clean is to make a conscious effort to get over their addiction and seek help as soon as they can.

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