Drug abuse can have a significant impact on the human body. Most anti-drug campaigns focus on the interpersonal and overall physical damage caused by drug abuse, but the public is rarely made aware of the specifics concerning the effect drugs have on your body.
Your gastrointestinal, or GI, tract is a dynamic system of organs including the mouth, stomach, intestines and esophagus that work to break down, digest and expel food. But, the trauma to the GI tract caused by introducing large amounts of drugs to your system is something that can last well beyond active drug use.
Drug Abuse And The Breakdown Of The Digestive System
The negative effects of drug abuse on the digestive system are due mainly to the deterioration of the mucous membrane lining that runs through the entire GI tract. The mucous membrane helps to break down food in a process called perastalsis. When this lining is damaged, it leaves areas like the intestine and stomach walls vulnerable to damage and more serious ailments.
Once the intestine and stomach wall are vulnerable, you’re susceptible to things like ulcers and perforation of organ walls. Drug addiction can also lead to dehydration, which leaves your body incapable of making the saliva it needs to begin the initial breakdown of food, effecting the entire GI process.
Signs of Drug Abuse on the Stomach
Individuals suffering from drug abuse will experience signs well in advance of permanent damage to the digestive system, but most experienced users attribute these symptoms as normal, and tend to ignore them. The process usually begins with nausea, whether you’re abusing amphetamines or laxatives.
From there, users can experience vomiting and diarrhea which can aggravate dehydration, creating a vicious cycle that leads to a weakened immune system. Once you begin to see blood in the stool, chances are, you’re dealing more serious concerns like stomach ulcers, gangrene or internal hemorrhaging. Your only option, in addition to stopping drug use, may be to have a procedure which closes the site of the perforation.
The effects of drug abuse on the stomach and GI system can arise even after a person has stopped using, so it is important to share a history of drug use with your doctor. Opiates are particularly hard on the digestive tract when it comes to recovery, because the body is actually re-learning how to produce endorphins which causes severe stomach cramps. Some drug counselors work with clients to determine safe remedies to these problems during recovery.
The Importance of Finding Help
Drug abuse can impact many different organs in your body, both in the short term and long term. It is important to always be honest with your healthcare professional about active or past drug use so that you can be properly treated. If you or someone you love is suffering from drug addiction or substance abuse, please call us today. Destination Hope is a full service drug addiction treatment facility in Florida for men who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues. We have aftercare and alumni programs that can help put you back on track.