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Drug Risks
Do you or someone you love need help with drug abuse or alcohol abuse?
Drug abuse and alcoholism can have devastating effects often accompanied by feelings of hopelessness but there are solutions and one should not give up. Whether it is alcohol abuse, cocaine abuse, heroin abuse, methamphetamine abuse, prescription drug abuse or any other drug, recovery is possible if you receive the effective help for your specific abuse problem.

Every parent feels overwhelmed from time to time. If you feel your family life is continually in turmoil or if you are always worried about your teens, you can reach out to other parents, as parents have always done, for ideas and support. You can look for family life education groups or groups for parents with special needs. There is also a great deal of family life education material available in audio, video and printed form. Similar material for people of different cultural backgrounds is beginning to become available. You can also ask your school, doctor or clergy for names of agencies where you can get professional counseling and parenting advice.

Depending on the extent of drug and alcohol abuse, there are many different types of treatments available. For severe drug and alcohol problems, there are detoxification and treatment programs that require the patient to stay either in a hospital or treatment center. Also, there are programs that are administered at a clinic. This is the type of program that an individual can attend daily. Treatments for less severe problems include individual, family, or couple’s therapy. Also, there are many support groups available for alcohol and drug abusers and their family members or loved ones.

Drug and alcohol use and abuse is preventable
Get educated. Know the facts. Once you do, you will realize that it is not worth endangering your career, your health, your relationships, and your future. Avoid peer pressure. Think ahead about how to say “NO.” Avoid situations where people will be drinking and using drugs. Consult someone for your problems. Educate others.

How to detect whether you need help for drug or alcohol problem?
If you notice any of the following things then it is sure indicator that you need expert help. Increased frequency of use, loss of control over frequency, duration and/or amount of use drinking or using when you don’t intend to, increased spending money on substance of choice personality changes noted by self and others, getting into risky/dangerous behaviors.

Effects of severe drug and alcohol use:
Loss of friends, negative changes in appetite with possible weight loss, possible reduction or loss of libido (sex drive) and/or only able to perform when using extreme mood swings, including anger and depression obsessions about using or procuring drug when not under the influence, lying about drug use to friends and loved ones, loss of memory for times when under the influence, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when not using, involvement in crime to support habit, loss of energy and general health.

Benefits of getting treatment: If you fear that you are creeping too far in to drug use, or one of your friends is, seek help or talk to your friend about what you see happening. Consulting with a trained professional in either case is a good idea; some valuable information and support becomes available once you take that step. And if you vehemently deny, or your friend denies, that drug use is a problem, that often indicates there is a problem. To get one’s life back under control requires using less (or not at all); if you can’t do it on your own, seek help.

Health risks with Drugs:
Drugs interfere with messages to your brain and alter your perceptions, emotions, vision, hearing, and coordination. Drugs affect the way we understand things.

A person having drugs is more prone to accidents and injuries.

A drug addict is prone to accidents and injuries can go into depression.

Irritation nausea, rapid heart rate, memory impairment are some of the after effects of drugs.

Cognitive problems, infertility, weakened immune system, and possible lung damage are long–term effects.

Unpredictable and violent behavior, paranoia and psychosis, respiratory problems, impotence, seizures and death.

Benzoylecognine, a metabolite unique to cocaine, can be detected in the urine in 2–4 days. The disruption to brain chemistry can remain for much longer.

First time users of cocaine may experience seizures or heart attacks, which can be fatal.

Crack can also make you violent or even make you do bizarre repetitive motions. In severe cases, pick at their skin over and over to try to get the bugs out they think are underneath.

Street heroin may have additives that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.

Someone who smokes marijuana regularly may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. Continuing to smoke marijuana can lead to abnormal functioning of the lungs and airways.

Heroin side effects:
Infection of heart lining and valves, Arthritis and other rheumatologic problems, Infectious diseases (for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C).

A major effect of various drugs on the brain is the actual deterioration of brain nerve cells. Alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy all are known to degenerate gray matter, and thereby reduce the volume of some key brain regions. This loss can cause processing problems in many of the decision–making areas of the cortex as well as interfere with memory systems.

Drugs do not affect all brain cells equally. There are two main types of neurons in your brain–fatty and plain. Some nerve cells are covered in a fatty layer called a myelin sheath. These cells are able to transmit electrical signals ten times faster than the uncoated neurons. When nerve cells in the brain are damaged from drugs, it tends to be the gray matter rather than the white.

Substance abuse and addiction can seriously affect one’s life in school, at work and in relationships. It can give rise to troubled relationships. Drug addicts always tend to isolate themselves from social circles, family and friends.

HIV Risks
Anyone can get HIV – young and old, men and women, straight, gay and bisexual, rich and poor, and all racial and ethnic groups – but not everyone faces the same risk. Your risk comes from what you do, and who you do it with – that is, how likely it is that the person you have sex or share needles which is infected. But even if you are part of a community with a high infection rate, you can avoid getting HIV. Staying uninfected takes thinking, planning and follow–through. Often it means talking about things that may make you uncomfortable. It can help to “practice” talking with people you can trust or who are going through the same thing.