Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Risk Factors, Signs, and Effects on the Brain

For many who have experienced the difficulties of dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, it all starts from a small experiment or the need to feel good. This later develops to a habit that most of them wish they could walk away from. Unfortunately, drug addiction can be hard to stop if you do not have the willingness to do so.

Once you have decided to start your recovery journey, this will be the best decision towards changing your life for the better. With the right rehab center, professional assistance, and support from friends and relatives, it will be easy to overcome this menace. So, what are the effects of alcohol and drugs to the brain, and what risk factors are involved? Read on to know more.

What is addiction?

When you take any drug, it changes the function of the brain in terms of its structure and how it works. Addiction is a relapsing, chronic disease that makes the brain want more of a substance even if it is aware of the harmful effects. When people take drugs for the first time, they always have the perception that they will be able to control it, and that it is just for a short time. The problem arises when drug abuse becomes a habit and later develops to something that the body demands. This is where everything goes out of control and the person becomes an addict.

What are the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain?

Recent research has shown that there is a big relation between drug abuse and mental illnesses. While some mental issues are caused by a combination of psychological, environmental and biological factors, drug abuse increases the risk of mental illness.

The brain of a human being makes you desire to repeat things that create a good feeling to you. This gives the entire body the motivation to want to do things repeatedly. Addictive drugs normally target the brain by flooding it with a chemical known as dopamine. This chemical usually triggers a good feeling of deep pleasure that makes the body want more.

What are the risks of drug and alcohol abuse?

Drug and alcohol abuse have adverse effects on the psychological, physical and social welfare of an individual. Drugs can hurt your judgement, memory, ability to learn and decision making among other things.

Drugs can cause both long term and short-term problems. Some of the short-term problems include:
• Coordination problems
• Slurred speech
• Memory loss
• Coma
• Mood swings
• Troubled concentration
• Impaired judgement
• Hallucinations

Long-term effects of drugs and alcohol abuse include:
• Death
• Sexual problems
• Damage of body organs such as liver and lungs
• Brain damage
• Ulcers
• Injuries from falling and poor coordination
These are just a few risk factors; there are many effects that arise from drug use.

What are the signs of addiction?

Some of the most probable indicators of drug and alcohol addiction include:
• The urge to use the drug on a daily basis
• You go beyond your financial ability to access the drug
• Spending more time alone
• You use the drug even when you know it harms you
• You can steal or do dangerous things to get the drug
• Your body feels sick if you try to quit
• You take excess drugs even when you are not aware

You can decide to turn your life around by seeking treatment and professional assistance to stop alcohol and drug abuse. For guidance on how to stop this habit, click here.