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The damaging effects of drugs


The damaging effects of drugs simply can’t be overstated. As well as posing a major risk to your heart and other major organs, drug addiction can wreak havoc on your life in other ways too. In this blog, Port of Call spells out the health risks, hears how a former cocaine addict kicked his habit and outlines the addiction support that we can offer, including detox and drug rehab.

Substance abuse causes more deaths, illnesses and disabilities than any other preventable health condition. The negative effects of drugs vary from accidental injuries, to domestic violence, medical conditions and in the most extreme cases: death.

Physical effects of drugs

Drug abuse and dependence can have extensive knock-on physical effects affecting nearly every organ in the body. It can lead to a weakening of the immune system, which leads to greater susceptibility to infections.

Alcohol effects

Substance abuse can also result in cardiovascular conditions, from an abnormal heart rate to a full-blown heart attack. The liver also has to work harder, when processing illicit substances, which can cause significant damage or liver failure in the longer term.

It can also lead to seizures, stroke and mental issues like memory problems, impaired attention and decision-making and permanent brain damage. Behavioural issues can also become a concern, such as paranoia, aggressiveness, hallucinations, impaired judgment, impulsiveness, and loss of self-control.

Cocaine’s devastating effects

Dan, 24, from Liverpool, used to be a recreational cocaine user. He said: “A big night out for me and the lads used to always start with some beers and a couple of lines of coke at one of our flats. That was just what we did, we didn’t even think twice about it, and we felt invincible.

It got to the point where we were ‘getting on it’ several times a week; even on weeknights. I’d go to work exhausted, couldn’t concentrate, and generally felt low for long periods afterwards thanks to cocaine’s effects.

“My constant yo-yoing mood swings were too much for my girlfriend and work colleagues. She broke off our relationships and I ended up getting suspended from work after a random drug test came back positive.

“I was at total rock bottom when I decided to reach out for addiction support. I’d run up huge debts from my habit and had cut myself off from friends, family and colleagues. The addiction counsellor put me in touch with specialist drug counsellors and a detox clinic that really helped me to curb my addiction.

“I’ve been clean for six months now. I don’t see those friends anymore and I’ve recently started a new relationship and a great new job. I honestly don’t miss that lifestyle. I genuinely feel happier than I ever did with cocaine. To be honest, Port of Call’s addiction help has completely turned my life around.”

Addiction support from Port of Call

At Port of Call we recognise that each case is different and our expertise is in helping you to find the right help at the right time. People who are struggling with substances get well in lots of different ways; there is no one size fits all solution.

Detoxification, a process that removes a drug’s toxins from the body, is usually the first step towards treating a drug addiction. Sudden withdrawal can be life-threatening, which is why a gradual detox should therefore always be carried out in a medically supervised environment.

Sustained abstinence from drug use can not be achieved through detox alone. Rehabilitation is also a pivotal part of the recovery process and can include treatments such as individual counselling, group work, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), education, and relapse prevention. Rehab for drug addiction is generally most successful when carried out in a residential facility, as part of an intensive, structured programme of treatment.

Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with drug addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. We can find a rehab that is right for you. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free. Call 08000029010, text PORT to 82228 and we’ll call you back, or email help@portofcall.com .

Disclaimer: Names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of case study participants.

Call today for free & confidential advice on 08000029010 (International: +44 161 674 9049)

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