Head to Toe: Healthy Minds- Substance Abuse and Addictions

by Regina Gaines on January 21, 2021

 Substance abuse and addictive disorders are quite common in many communities.  Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are some.  These psychobiological disorders can be described as having the loss of control over one’s use or behavior with such things despite these causing problems in one’s life.  Many people that have either one are usually in denial about their habits and may have the attitude that they can “stop whenever they want, but it's not causing any problems for them so there’s no need to stop”.  All the while, it is affecting their health, their family’s well being and other parts of their lives.

Adverse effects of substance misuse can lead to intoxication, injuries, and in worse cases cancer and other life threatening ailments. With alcohol it helps relieve stress for most of us and helps relax us.  There is nothing wrong with consuming it, but when it is consumed in excessive amounts, that’s when things get a little scary.  You could have motor impairment, poor judgement, loss of memory, respiratory depression and in large amounts of consumption it can cause death. With drugs, particularly benzodiazepines, barbiturates and opioids, one can have similar effects as with alcohol along with sedation, disorientation and loss of consciousness, which can be very dangerous.  Tobacco is a slow killer, with long term effects leading to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.  Even using smokeless forms of tobacco can lead to sores and cancers in the mouth. All of these are well known substances that are abused often.  It would not be an easy task, but one can always turn their life around and quit, with help if needed of course.

Luckily there are so many different programs that one can look for.  Joining groups or getting those you can trust to assist you can help you during withdrawals and make positive behavioral changes.  You could learn techniques that can help maintain sobriety as well.  If you do struggle with quitting substance abuse or addictions of any kind don’t be too hard on yourself; set goals and reward yourself for your accomplishments on your journey, even on the first day!  Because by acknowledging that there needs to be change makes a difference and you’re already  halfway there!


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