Alcoholism and substance abuse can negatively impact all aspects in your life, from relationships, to your overall health, and to your financial stability. This could include altering brain chemistry, creating devastating health complications, financial problems, legal issues, accidental injuries, and death. If you’re dealing with alcoholism or substance abuse, contact us today. The therapists at Bull City Psychotherapy, PLLC provide highly effective, research-based therapy that can help.
Fully understanding the side effects that these substances inflict on us, is very important starting from an early age, hopefully, as a prevention to beginning use. Most people, especially those that haven’t admitted that they’re addicted, feel that their drinking or drug related habits aren’t destructive, that they’re just consuming them “for fun”, or just to “feel better” or to simply be “social drinkers”. In reality, that’s usually not the case. The fact is, that although it might seem like they’re making you feel better, they’re actually inducing long-term damage, and a possible addiction could be brewing.
How Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Effects Brain Chemistry
Even though it weighs less than 3 pounds, the brain is the most complex organ in the body. It mysteriously controls the physiological and thought processes that help keep us alive and active. Alcohol and drugs change how you feel by altering the chemicals that keep the brain working efficiently. When drugs are used, a chemical called dopamine in the brain is released, creating euphoric feelings, causing the user to want more of the drug. With time, the mind gets so used to the added dopamine that it’s difficult to function normally without it. Basically, at this point, everything about the addict begins to change, including their memory, personality and bodily processes.
Health Related Complications
Alcohol and drugs have an impact on every part of the body. Substance abuse can trigger abnormal heart rates and heart attacks, and injecting drugs cause infections in the heart valves and collapsed veins. There are even drugs that can stop the bones from growing appropriately, and others that cause severe muscle cramps and weakness. If drugs are used for a long period of time, they will damage the liver and kidneys.
Infections are another side effect of drug and alcohol abuse. While under the influence, users don’t use good judgment when it comes to safe sex practices. Having unprotected sex increases the chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, sharing needles can result in getting diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. For obvious reasons, the user is also likely to experience physical injuring and to be involved in car accidents. Addicts are also at an increased risk of death due to homicide and suicide.
Legal and Financial Consequences
Alcoholism and substance abuse are expensive, especially when if you’re at the point where you’re using a lot and consistently. Alcohol and drugs also impact productivity and how successful you are at school or work. Then there are the legal issues that are commonly tied to drug and alcohol use that will definitely have an effect on finances. Auto and health insurance rates also come into play, along with costly factors like legal counsel for DUI’s, arrest warrants and more.
The main way addiction affects others besides the addict, is in relationships. Addiction is in many ways a relationship disorder. Both physical and process addictions affect not just the addict’s ability to be healthy in relationships, but also those around the addict, like partners, children, siblings, parents, co workers, etc. Recovery is essential for healthy relationships.
With alcohol, substance abuse disorders, and process addictions, such as sex addiction, controlling cravings is only part of the solution. Addicts need to learn new skills and strategies to apply in day to day life. Therapy can do just that, teaching you how to:
- Build a strong support system
- Handle stress and other triggers
- Establish goals and objectives and reach them
- Heal the trauma and/or move through the painful feelings that led to the excessive use of alcohol or drugs in the first place.
The therapists at Bull City Psychotherapy have certifications in multiple behavior and substance addictions. We have expert training in the most effective and research-based treatments that can help you find recovery. Please call us, so you can get professional recovery support.