Drugs – legal, prescription or street – all have effects on the body. Usually when you take a drug for a particular health reason, the effect on the body is something you are after. For example, pain medication affects the body by blocking pain. However, drugs have effects on your body which can be undesired and perhaps even unknown.
Drug Effects on the Brain
As soon as drugs enter the bloodstream they head toward the brain where the effects of the drugs are often most felt. In fact, the quicker the drug arrives at the brain the more intense the effect.
Drugs affect chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Your moods and feelings are directly affected by these chemicals. For example, ecstasy affects serotonin levels. People with low serotonin in the brain quite often suffer from depression. Too much ecstasy over time can make a person chronically depressed.
Excessive, long-term use of alcohol, (and possibly drugs like LSD, solvents and ecstasy), have proven to lead to brain damage.
Image Credit: Drugs and the Brain (Scientific American Library Series) on Amazon
Drug Effects on the Heart
Drugs can directly affect the heart and exacerbate heart disease. Heavy alcohol consumption can weaken the heart’s ability to pump properly, which can lead to heart failure.
Regular and high doses of stimulant drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines and anabolic steroids increase the risk of heart attacks. This is particularly true if a person has heart problems or high blood pressure to begin with.
Nicotine, found in tobacco products, is a stimulant and causes the heart to work harder while at the same time filling the blood with carbon monoxide, depriving the heart of oxygen. Smoking has also been shown to thicken the blood making it difficult to flow through narrowed arteries. To avoid this kind of physical damage you may consider contacting the best drug rehabs available.
Drug Effects on the Liver
The liver is the main organ in the body that alters and breaks down the chemical structure of drugs. It is the liver that gradually neutralizes the effects of drugs on the body. Excessive, long-term use of alcohol has proven to cause serious damage to the liver, including cirrhosis, which can result in death. Other drugs, like ecstasy are also thought to damage the liver.
Drug Effects on the Lungs
Drugs which enter the body through smoking damage the lungs. Drugs ingested by insufflations (similar to inhalers) also harm the lungs. Both forms of ingestion can cause permanent lung damage because they both attack the lung’s bronchioles – cells inside the lung. An overdose can also occur when the drugs clog the lungs’ bronchioles.
In the case of tobacco smoking and other drugs that are smoked you run the risk of tar build up, asthma, swelling and damage to the lung walls and bronchioles, as well as cancer of the lungs. Apart from tobacco, marijuana has its own carcinogenic, (cancer causing) chemicals. When smoked together with tobacco the dangerous chemicals of both substances double up, greatly increasing the risk of lung cancer.
It’s best to use drugs only under a doctor’s supervision. Recreational drugs pose far too many health risks to be used indiscriminately.