Substance abuse is usually associated with drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. Let's first take a look at alcohol.
People have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years. Alcohol has been used with meals, religious ceremonies, and social gatherings. Alcohol in moderation is socially acceptable if you are of legal drinking age. You should be aware, however, that alcohol can produce various side effects. Some of these effects range from temporary emotional changes, physical limitations, and can go as far as lapsing into a coma and even death.
Generally, there are two types of drinkers. The first type is the casual drinker. This type of drinker drinks because others do; they are trying to be social. These drinkers tend to drink cautiously and avoid intoxication. The second type of alcohol drinker is the unwise drinker. This person drinks to avoid problems in his or her life and often drinks alone. Generally speaking, drinking is a habit for the unwise drinker.
When someone gets to the point of abusing alcohol, they begin to endanger others without even knowing it. For instance, driving while intoxicated can lead to fatal accidents. Alcohol can also cause fits of violent rage, poor judgment, and lack of coordination. Alcohol abusers have a greater tendency to be in trouble with the police and to experience problems at work and in family life.
One in ten people who drink alcohol become alcoholics. As an alcoholic continues to drink, they develop a greater tolerance to the drink. As a result of this, they increase their daily alcoholic intake to get the same effect. The more an alcoholic drinks, the more they become irritable or moody. Still, most alcoholics will deny that they have a problem. Besides drinking alone, alcoholics may gulp drinks, sneak drinks, and drink in the morning. Physically, they will appear malnourished, have occasional blackouts, and will experience shaking from time to time.
Long term effects of alcohol abuse have been determined to be brain damage, heart disease, digestive tract damage, liver scoliosis, birth defects, and various types of cancers.
The second area of substance abuse involves drugs. Drugs are generally defined as a natural or synthetic chemical substance that affects the physical and emotional processes of one's body. The are two categories of drugs; the first group includes legal over the counter drugs and those drugs prescribed by your doctor. The second group includes drugs that are illegally obtained and designer drugs.
Although drugs may bring a temporary euphoria and relief from everyday problems, the adverse effects may be long lasting. The legal troubles one might incur can literally last a life time. Many drug abusers are in serious financial difficulty because of their addiction to drugs. Social skills begin to falter for the drug abuser as their desire for the drug begins to control their life.
Many of the physical effects on the body of drug abuse are similar to those of an alcohol abuser.
The third type of substance abuse is cigarette smoking. Although most of us know the harmful effects of smoking, heavy duty advertising and peer pressure leads a good number of us to begin smoking. Before we're aware of it, we become addicted to the cigarettes. The short term effects of smoking not to major, just a case of bad breath and the lost of some friends. The long term effects can cost someone their life. Most life long smokers develop severe lung disorders which can lead to a very painful death. Other side effects include oral cancer and emphysema.
As a teenager, you're already going through many changes. Before you decide to try a drug, alcohol or cigarettes, ask yourself why you're doing it? None of these substances have a long term positive side, but all have a long term negative effect. Know what the consequences of your actions now will be on you later on. Forget what the others are doing, stand up for what you know is right for you and you will be better off for it.
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