Chemical dependency can have damaging effects on a person in a number of ways. It affects both psychological and physical health. The effects are different depending on the substance and are quite damaging to the mind, body, and spirit. The causes which lead a person to chemical dependency can be numerable. Maybe the person is curious as to how a certain substance would affect their mood, or maybe they reach for it as a desperate attempt to ease the pain caused by issues they are unable to deal with in a healthy way. Regardless of the cause, the addiction can happen without the person even realizing their dependency on the substance. Not long after constant consumption, the person will likely experience physical effects of the substance.
Physical Effects of Chemical Dependency
Statistics show that the alcohol abuse is the leading cause of preventable death in the US, with almost 88 000 casualties every year. The effects of the alcohol abuse may include:
- Changes in brain function, causing further behavioral and mood changes.
- Destruction of the liver, resulting in cirrhosis, fibrosis and alcoholic hepatitis.
- Increased chance of certain cancers such as cancer of the mouth, throat, breast, and liver.
- Damage to the heart, causing high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and stroke.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drugs such as sedatives, painkillers or stimulants can be dangerous if not used properly. In the US in 2012 improper prescription drug use led to 13.000 fatalities. The common effects of prescription drugs are:
- Opioid painkillers such as Percocet and OxyContin can cause slow breathing, choking, disrupted cognitive function, mood changes, coma, and death.
- Sedatives and tranquilizers such as Ativan and Klonopin can cause sleep disturbances, seizures, and slowed or irregular heartbeat.
- Stimulants such as Adderall increase your heart rate, cause paranoia, and can result in deadly seizures or heart failure.
Amphetamines, Cocaine, and Heroin Use
Drug addiction is becoming more and more common and there has been a significant increase in drug-abuse related deaths in the US. Statistics show that the number of fatalities related to the abuse of heroin has gone up from two thousand in 2001 to almost nine thousand in 2013. Among many illegal drugs that people abuse, the three most common ones are heroin, amphetamines, and cocaine.
- Heroin is a strong opioid. It slows breathing, damages brain function, and increases the risk of serious infection, damages teeth, causes pustules on the skin, and can lead to coma and death.
- Amphetamines cause psychosis, extreme weight loss, changes in brain structure and function, severe mental health issues, and death.
- Cocaine causes psychosis, weight loss, permanent damage to the heart and brain, kidney, liver, and lung damage, and death.
Part 2: Desperation
Alcohol started to rule Tim’s life. He pulled away from his friends and family, he left college, lost his driver’s license due to driving under the influence and fell away from his faith. He was denying that he had a drinking problem until one night it almost cost him his life.
Tim once used alcohol to relieve himself of pressures caused by the society around him, but now alcohol was causing serious problems. While he was intoxicated, Tim was almost successful at taking his own life when he attempted suicide. This, however, was a sobering experience for Tim, which caused him to recognize that he had a problem and that he needed to get help immediately.
It’s common for people to reach rock bottom before they realize they need to get help. At that point, it may feel like all hope is gone and there’s no way out. Rest assured that you are never too far gone. At Culver City Christian Counseling, we provide counseling for addiction to different substance abuse such as those mentioned above, and also including inhalants, marijuana, hallucinogens, and more. The most difficult part of the addiction is being aware of the negative effects of the substances, but not being able to stop using them. Through our professional counseling, we will support you in your fight with the chemical dependency, ensuring a safe and encouraging environment.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Your Relationships
Being addicted to substances or alcohol can damage your relationships, whether personal or professional. Often people seek help for chemical dependency when they realize they don’t want to keep hurting people they love. Often in a major crisis, they realize they might lose everything if they don’t change their ways. Substance abuse can easily destroy relationships, tear apart marriages, destroy families, and ruin careers. Addicts will often seek the companionship of other addicts, while pushing loved ones away, making it harder for them to seek help. Chemical dependency puts a strain on families, and often includes:
- Mood swings
- Physical violence
- Verbal abuse
- Traumatized children
- Financial hardship
- Irrational anger
Marriages are put under incredible strain since the spouse of the addict can become quite codependent. They may put the needs of their addicted partner ahead of their own and they can suffer from emotional damage. Your partner may experience:
- Intimacy issues
- Feelings of abandonment
- Stress due to increased responsibilities and financial strain
Chemical dependency can have severe consequences for both the addict and their families. At Culver City Christian Counseling, we understand the level of difficulty you face in your struggle. With Christian counseling for chemical dependency, we will help you overcome these difficulties and struggles brought upon you by your addiction. In order to help you heal relationships that have been affected or damaged by your addiction, we also offer Christian family counseling and Christian marriage counseling.