Effects of Drug and Alcohol Addiction


Overview of Drug Abuse

  1. Introduction of Drug Abuse (Olurishe, T. O. (2019)

The main reason why most people turn to drug and alcohol abuse is that they find it as an easy way to escape from reality.  A few pills to get a fleeting sense of euphoria in an otherwise stressful world, a few drinks to take their mind off a rough day at work. However, what might seem like a fast and efficient way to get rid of uncomfortable feelings is actually an impermanent solution and one that often results in adverse health effects in the long run (Olurishe, 2019). Drinking alcohol or doing drugs can considerably lower one’s inhibitions mainly because they target the reward center of the brain by flooding it with dopamine. An overload of dopamine in the brain, on the other hand, severely impairs decision-making capabilities. Continued drug and alcohol abuse ultimately results in addiction.

  1. Diagnosing Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Saunders, J. B. (2017).

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) serves as one of the best tools for spotting addiction (Saunders, 2017). The criteria outlined in the tool are generally used and accepted by professionals to aid in determining the severity and presence of a substance use disorder. They include:

  • Cravings
  • Relationship problems
  • Sustained use despite dangerous circumstances
  • Withdrawal
  • Lack of control, etcetera
  1. Effects of Alcohol Addiction on Fetal Development (Guerri, C., & Pascual, M. (2017).

According to experimental and clinical studies, alcohol is a teratogen, and its addiction, especially among pregnant women, can lead to growth retardation, congenital disabilities, and facial dysmorphism. Apart from that, it can result in a wide-ranging range of outcomes referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (Guerri & Pascual, 2017). These profound impacts occur on the child’s developing central nervous system and comprise long-term behavioral and cognitive dysfunctions. During the development of the brain, alcohol acts via numerous targets on dissimilar developmental stages and cell types, and its actions involve several signaling pathways and mechanisms. Thus, to avoid these detrimental effects on the fetus, pregnant women should not consume alcohol when pregnant.

  1. Physical Effects of Drug and Alcohol Addiction (Jabeen, I., Venkataswamy, M., Sadaf, J., Reddy, M. N., Mallika, A. N., & Sushmitha, M. (2018).

According to Jabeen et al. (2018), drug addiction is responsible for impacting how the body perceives pleasure and changes the way the brain functions. The effects come about due to the serotonin and dopamine chemicals that flood the brain during drug use. Babies born of drug addicts and mortality statistics also showcase the physical impacts of drug addiction. Babies become cognitively affected throughout their lives. Other effects include the contraction of hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, and other illnesses, etcetera.

  1. Psychological Effects of Addiction (Badiani, A., Berridge, K. C., Heilig, M., Nutt, D. J., & Robinson, T. E. (2018).

Psychological impacts of alcohol and drug abuse come from addiction and the changes that occur in the brain once an individual becomes addicted. Primarily, most people begin using drugs to cope with either pain or stress, and an impact of drug addiction is that a cycle is generated whereby anytime an addict is in pain or is stressed, they feel the urge to use the drug (Badiani et al., 2018). Other psychological effects include depression, violence, wild mood swings, desire to engage in risky behavior, a complication of mental illness, and hallucinations, among others.

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