Top 10 Substance Abuse Complications


Substance Abuse

Toxicology Topics:


The matter of substance abuse has been widely discussed over the years. Unfortunately, no matter how vividly doctors describe the substance abuse complications, everyday the number of people who abuse drugs is growing at an alarming rate. Smoking, alcoholism and the use of recreational drugs have permeated all classes of modern society, rich, poor and in between.

Please get familiar with the disturbing list of substance abuse complications so you can tell your loved ones to never start substance abuse before it’s too late.

1. Liver disorders are an inevitable set of substance abuse complications. Liver is a major organ in our body responsible for removing toxins from our system and producing vital digestive bile secretions. Due to nicotine, alcohol and drugs acting as major toxins for our bodies, this leads to liver diseases when liver is no longer able to function properly. Substance abuse eventually leads to life threatening liver failure requiring liver dialysis and organ transplants. Many patients with liver disorders die never coming even closer on the list for receiving organ transplants.

2. Lung diseases are caused not only by years of smoking but by being exposed to second hand smoking. Nicotine contains a host of dangerous carcinogenic substances responsible for lung cancer and a myriad of other serious lung complications. In addition, even occasional exposure to nicotine impairs your ability to smell, breathe and limits brain’s oxygen intake. Asthma, chronic bronchitis, recurring pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer are just a few lung diseases that you risk your life with by taking in just another toxic puff.

3. Heart conditions are frequent complications after years of drinking, nicotine and drug abuse. Both alcohol and nicotine are strong stimulants leading to elevated blood pressure, anxiety and low levels of oxygen in blood. Heart diseases are the leading underlying causes for unexpected deaths from heart attacks and strokes that can leave you brain damaged or paralyzed.

4. Dementia is a progressive illness that affects a person’s memory, cognitive functions, judgment, reasoning and mental abilities. Very often dementia is an irreversible complication of long term substance abuse, especially alcohol and recreational drugs. The sooner you stop substance abuse and quit smoking, the sooner you will stop the progression of dementia. Drug and alcohol induced dementia makes it impossible for an individual to hold a normal job, have a family and eventually leads to death.

5. Sexual disorders are an inevitable result of alcoholism, smoking and drug abuse. All these substances damage the delicate structure of veins and arteries impairing their vital function to pump blood to major organs and systems including your genitals. Inability to maintain erection and loss of libido are just a few of the long list of sexual dysfunctions associated with long term substance abuse. You might think drinking makes you a better lover. This might be true initially due to loss of inhibitions, however, in the long run the more you drink the worse of a lover you are becoming. In women, alcohol and drugs impair their ability to have regular periods and conceive compounded by an increased risk of having a child with severe birth defects.

6. Digestive disorders as a result of smoking and alcoholism are very commonly seen complications. Alcohol and nicotine impair the production of gastric enzymes necessary to break down the food. Ingested food can not be properly digested so the body could be supplied with vital nutrients. Furthermore, the alcohol damages the delicate lining of the stomach and intestines leading to ulcers, intestinal bleedings and even stomach cancer.

7. Impaired immune system is the direct result of using dangerous recreational drugs, nicotine and alcohol abuse. A healthy immune system is a strong shield against a host of dangerous diseases and infections. Impaired immune system makes you prone to contracting various infections from simple colds to viral and fungal diseases that might be hard to treat.

8. Diabetes or inability of a person’s body to produce appropriate amounts of insulin is one of the commonly seen complications of alcohol abuse. Intoxication is damaging to the cells of pancreas that produce insulin which leads to its impaired function and diabetes in the end. On the other hand, even if a patient’s pancreas produces enough of insulin necessary to process glucose, the nutritional absorption of the nutrients is so poor that it inhibits the process of glucose breakdown.

9. Bone disease is another dangerous side effect of substance abuse. Minerals ingested with food are not properly absorbed by an alcoholic’s body depleting calcium and magnesium supply in person’s body making him more prone to hard to heal fractures.

10. Increased mortality is another very common complication from substance abuse caused by impaired immune system, toxicity and being prone to various accidents like falls and other accidents from operating machinery or driving while intoxicated. Drug abusers are not only dangers to themselves but to people surrounding them.