and Misuses of Drugs and Alcohol
by Darren O'Handley
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When asked what are the effects of using alcohol and other drugs,
most people think about what the actual high is like or what are
the immediate risks of the drug. We generally know that by using
drugs, we run the risk of being involved in accidents, doing things
we may later regret or overdosing on the drug.
risks are present regardless if this is the first time you use
the drug or the one hundredth time. But what are the life changes
that occur as using becomes a problem for the user? To sum it
up, as drugs become more important in a person's life, other things
become less important. People find changes in their family relationships,
school/work, behaviour, ability to have fun, ability to deal with
emotions, not to mention possible legal problems.
relationships change as a person's usage starts to become a problem.
One finds one's self spending less and less time with family members.
A misuse of drugs and alcohol can lead to one becoming evasive
about what they are doing, and where they are spend their time.
A great deal of time is spent avoiding being caught, and lying
in order to continue using. As families find out what is really
going on, arguments about the using begin and youth find themselves
not being trusted by those around them.
and work become affected as using becomes a regular occurrence.
Young people stop attending regularly, or find themselves unable
to concentrate when in class. Teenagers may start having difficulty
with remembering information, skipping classes to get high, or
coming to class high. It is common to see people losing student's
lose part time jobs because of being high at work or becoming
unreliable on the job. In terms of behaviors, people find themselves
doing all kinds of things that they never thought they would do,
from lying,, to telling off everyone around them. Users start
to feel that everyone is out to get them and that they begin to
feel that how they are acting is a result of others not the drug
use. Some people find themselves taking items that are not theirs
in order to maintain their using.
ability to have fun sounds like a strange change. Most users ask
me, "What do you mean? . I use for fun." In a way, this
is the problem. Before using becomes an issue, people tend to
have a number of interests, hobbies, etc., things in their life
they do to have fun. As using becomes a problem, people tend to
stop or cut down on these activities because they get in the way
of using. After a while, all a person does is use. The irony is
that, in time using stops being fun to people.
some, using becomes a way to escape or deal with difficult emotions.
If I feel sad, I get high. If I'm mad I get high. After a while,
people stop knowing how to deal with these feelings without getting
high. The quick fix has become the only fix. In addition to becoming
dependent on a chemical to deal with feelings, it is common that
over time people become numb to feelings.
terms of legal difficulties, the more using changes your behaviors,
and outlook, the greater the risk of getting involved in illegal
tend to think, if any of those things started to happen to me,
I would stop using. The problem is that the changes can be gradual,
and a lot of the time, people do not notice them, or they blame
the changes on others.
can affect people physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
In general, the earlier you start to use, the quicker the impact
as people are developing in these areas as they grow. If you see
yourself in the descriptions given, or if you are questioning
whether or not using is effecting your life, talk to someone about
your usage. A Drug Counsellor can help to assess the effects of
your usage and make some recommendations. After all it is up to
you if you want to take the recommendations or not.
is a Youth Counsellor with PEI, Queens County Addiction Services
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