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Many of us have somehow been associated with an alcoholic or drug addict at some point in our lives.  Either it was a parent or relative while growing up, or friends and spouses in our adulthood.  It is an extremely stressful relationship to be in because not only is the alcoholic completely unreliable and in some cases dangerous, we all know that they are also partaking in an extremely unhealthy habit.  Alcoholics and drug addicts often don’t believe that they have a problem.  Many are able to function in life, perform most of their responsibilities and somehow get by.  Convincing an addict to stop their behavior is a daunting task.  Sometimes it takes a particular situation to arise where the person has hit an all time low, sometimes it’s an intervention from family and friends, or a health scare.  Whatever it is, the addict has to be ready and want to change his behavior or it won’t stick. 

As we all know, drug and alcohol abuse over a prolonged amount of time will wreak havoc on the body.  When having a conversation with someone about drug or alcohol addiction, it is useful to be armed with a quick list of the predominant negative health effects on the body.

To begin with, a few of the negative side effects of alcoholism include liver damage, certain forms of cancer like esophageal cancer, hypertension, pancreatitis, damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.  It is also associated with impaired memory and alcohol related dementia as one gets older.  Additionally, studies show that while many people might initially turn to alcohol to help in social situations, the long term abuse often worsens social phobias and can cause panic disorders to develop. 

Amphetamines, which are even sold legally in some cases, have a very adverse effect on a person’s cardiac system.   The individual simply does not feel any fatigue , therefore they keep on pushing until their heart cannot physically keep up with their physical activity. This drug is commonly found in ADD medication which is fine for those it is prescribed for.  If it is not your prescription, it is not safe to take!  The dangers of MDMA are rather similar, with the addition of dehydration and the possibility of a cardiac arrest when mixed with alcohol.

Harder drugs such as heroin give the user a sense of euphoria and are highly addictive.  However, it suppresses the central nervous system causing users to breathe at a slower rate, with the possibility of complete respiratory failure. Also, because this drug is used intravenously it puts the abuser at high risk for infection of the heart lining and valves, and hepatitis C and liver damage.  You will also begin to see skin infections and abscesses at the injection points due to the lack of sterile equipment. 

All of these facts are horrifying and should scare anyone into kicking the habit.  To continue this conversation, a good place to start is by taking an online alcohol and drug awareness class.  You can sit with the family member or friend, in the comfort of your own home and choose the course length that is right for you.  Skills and techniques for overcoming the cravings and addictive behaviors will be discussed.  Along with taking classes, alternative healthy activities should be introduced to help keep the addict on track for a healthier lifestyle.  Try occupying time with a new sport, an instrument, needlepoint or volunteerism.  Many recovering alcoholics will say that getting involved with helping others gives them a new sense of purpose and direction and helps redirect their own destructive behavior.  Furthermore, a focus on eating right and exercising regularly will help your body to rebuild after all the damaged it has endured.  There is no time like the present to start over by utilizing the support of online alcohol and drug awareness classes.

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