10 Ways Alcohol and Drugs Impact Your Health

10 Ways Alcohol and Drugs Impact Your Health

Casual drinking or drug use may be more common now than ever with the legalization of certain soft drugs around the world. Using drugs or alcohol every once in a while may not deem someone an addict, but there are still things that happen to your body when using substances.

Here are 10 ways alcohol and drugs can impact your health.

1. Fertility Problems

Today, many couples are waiting until their careers and lives are more in order to have children. Some couples begin trying to conceive and struggle. Infertility impacts more people today than ever and lots of aspiring parents turn to medical science to get help with having children. One of the risk factors for potential fertility problems is using marijuana. Studies have shown that marijuana could impact sperm quality or have a negative effect on a woman’s ability to ovulate.

2. Dental Disease

Next, there have also been studies that have shown a link between using drugs and alcohol and problems with the teeth and gums. Even sporadic use of methamphetamine can lead to severe tooth decay. Meth use can destroy the user’s tooth enamel and leave the mouth vulnerable to cavities and more dangers. Some drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana, also have a side effect of a dry mouth, which can lead to more issues with the teeth and gums.

3. Heart Health

Drugs and alcohol also do damage to the heart and cardiovascular system. Even having just one drink could potentially lead to a dangerous situation for your heart. If you take prescription medication and drink, this is a serious problem. The effect of one drink medically on your body differs from person to person. Mixing drinks and prescription drugs may cause an irregular heartbeat, sudden drops or spikes in blood pressure, or even a heart attack. Check with your doctor before taking any new prescriptions or drinking alcohol while on any medication.

4. Sleeping Patterns

Getting a full night’s sleep is an essential part of your overall health and well being. Casual users of drugs and alcohol can sometimes experience sleep interruptions, which could lead to loss of work productivity, sleepiness during the day, and problems staying focused on tasks like driving. Drugs that stimulate, such as cocaine, may make it more difficult to go to sleep at night, forcing a user to stay up too late. Many other types of substances are the opposite and cause drowsiness, giving the body even more mixed signals.

5. Weight Gain

Another issue that plagues many social drinkers and drug users are weight gain. Having a sweet, sugary drink or carbohydrate-loaded beer every night with dinner is an extra source of empty calories and could lead to a few extra pounds. Cutting back on drinking is one effective way to lose weight gradually. Additionally, some marijuana and opiate users struggle with overeating and snacking too much, which can also lead to unintentional weight gain.

6. Liver Damage

Your body’s liver is one of the hardest-hit organs for alcohol abuse. If you’re a casual drinker, it may not be happening as quickly or be as devastating, but the reality is that alcohol does damage to the liver’s cells. Combining some social drinking with prescription drug use could also seriously damage the liver. The drugs and alcohol relationship causes more toxins to enter the bloodstream and impact your liver’s cells, which could lead to weight loss, fatigue, or jaundice.

7. Mental Health

The impact of using drugs and alcohol on mental health varies from person to person. Any time someone is under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, decision making and inhibitions are going to be affected. Social drinkers and drug users may do things they normally wouldn’t and put themselves into situations that could have serious consequences. Being under the influence may make someone more sexually promiscuous, more likely to spend money frivolously, or take part in risky behavior.

8. Infectious Diseases

Using drugs or alcohol could also lead to an increased risk of contracting an infectious disease. Users may be more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease because of how substances lower inhibitions and could potentially increase someone’s chances of having casual sex without protection. Drugs that are associated with needles, such as heroin and steroids, also are linked to higher instances of contracting hepatitis and HIV.

9. Digestive System Problems

Having a few drinks one night, using cocaine, or taking opioids can all lead to problems with the digestive system. Using prescription painkillers has a nasty side effect of severe constipation, even if it’s just for a few days. In contrast, cocaine use is associated with increased bowel movements and diarrhea, even for people who use it sporadically. Many people have also experienced stomach problems from drinking too much in a short period of time, which could lead to vomiting.

10. Pregnancy Risks

Lastly, any use of drugs or alcohol while pregnant can be dangerous and lead to lifelong problems for an unborn child. Doctors recommend that women avoid all drugs and alcohol during their pregnancy and limit their use if breastfeeding to protect their babies. Using drugs or alcohol while pregnant could lead to low birth weight, premature birth, developmental problems, and potential behavioral problems.

While most people are aware of the dangers of drug or alcohol addiction, even using these substances in small doses during social settings could have an impact on your body. The best thing to do is to educate yourself about the things you put into your body so you don’t put yourself and your health at risk.

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⚠️ Liza is in training with WMHA and may not always provide the most accurate information.