Effects of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism

Effects of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism


This term paper discusses the effects of substance abuse and alcoholism and how they relate to biological and psychological perspectives. This paper contains two sections. The first is the biological approach that examines physical characteristics that govern individuals’ behavior. Second, the psychological perspective involves studying the brain, genetics, and hormones and how they can be affected by the excessive intake of drugs and alcohol. We will focus on how the abuse of drugs affects the brain.

Additionally, the paper discusses drug use’s effects on women and the adverse consequences upon engagement in drug abuse and alcoholism. We will also discuss how the abuse of drugs and alcohol affects body organs (physical health). The report will also present the worldview perspective on the impacts of substance abuse and alcoholism concerning our term paper research. Furthermore, we will also incorporate religious views and recommendations regarding biological psychology.

Effects of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism


Since time immemorial, the consumption of alcohol has been on the rise. The use of drugs has been the day’s talk across all populations and whether male or female, young or old. Some medications are not allowed by some set regulations by the government bodies, societies, or families. However, when used against their prescription, some other legal medicines are also said to be generations.  When individuals use these drugs that have been said to be illegal, we refer to this as drug abuse( MacNicol, 2017). Commonly used illicit drugs in the world include cocaine, heroin, tobacco, and Marijuana. According to the World health organization report in 2019, 35 million people suffer from drug use disorder, and that one in seven people received treatment.

Additionally, a report conducted in Vienna 2019 revealed that drugs’ adverse effects were more severe than what people thought (Salas-Wright et al.,2017). From a global perspective, approximately 35 million people were said to suffer from drug use disorder; they require some attention and treatment services. The use of drugs has both biological and psychological implications on individuals. This term paper discusses how drug abuse and alcoholism have impacted a person’s physical and mental well-being.

Alcohol and substance abuse affects the liver at great depths. It causes liver disorders such as Alcoholic Hepatitis and Cirrhosis (Wang et al., 2019). Alcoholic hepatitis develops due to liver inflammation. It occurs when the alcohol processed in the liver produces harmful chemicals that injure the liver leading to inflammation. On the other hand, liver cirrhosis is severe damage to the liver. Alcoholic toxins cause damage after long-term exposure to the liver. The liver shrinks and hardens, making it difficult for rich-nutrient blood to flow into the liver. It reduces the ability of the liver to process nutrients, drugs, toxins, and hormones.

The gastrointestinal tract comprises of esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Alcohol abuse also causes gastrointestinal disorders such as gastric mucosa in the stomach (Botticelli et al., 2020). It also damages the mucosal lining of the esophagus leading to esophageal cancer. Reflecting on the above liver and gastrointestinal disorders, let discuss two ways alcohol and drug abuse leads to such diseases.

Alcoholic Hepatitis can develop when an individual drinks a lot of alcohol in a short period. Cirrhosis- The use of alcohol causes liver cirrhosis in this way; a person drinks a lot of alcohol for an extended period, scar tissue begins to replace the healthy liver, and the liver starts to function slowly. Gastric mucosa can be damaged due to the abuse of alcohol. Alcohol inhibits the stimulation of gastric acid, and this further leads to stomach complications. Esophageal cancer is also caused by the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. It also increases the risk of squamous cell that breeds cancer. Another way is that smoke abuse also raises the risk of squamous cell, a type of esophageal cancer.

The Biological Perspective on Drug Abuse and Alcoholism

There are many reasons that individuals present as the reasons for the use of drugs. When drugs are used for the proper purpose, they have no significant impact on the human body. However, when used against the specialists’ prescription, we say that it is drug abuse. Some individuals use drugs when they are sick as prescribed by the medical specialists; others use drugs when grieving, others to end a relationship, and sometimes environmental influences. Many reasons may make people take drugs; however, excessive use of drugs may result in addiction. It is a situation where these drugs condition the body; this may be viewed as a disease that affects the human brain and behavior. A person with this condition is incapable of resisting the use of these drugs. Additionally, an individual can be addicted even to legalized drugs such as alcohol, painkillers, sleep, and anti-anxiety medications.

Biological Perspective

In the psychological field are many perspectives are presented. In this section, we will discuss the biological perspective. It is a condition that states that physical actions cause all thoughts and feelings, and behavior. This psychological perspective involves studies such as the brain, genetics, hormones, and nervous systems. Various theorists in natural philosophy have attempted multiple studies to establish how genes affect behavior. The natural approach states that most of the actions are passed genetically and may have an adaptive function. In this paper, we will discuss how substance abuse may influence the role of the body and human behavior. The purpose of this evaluation is to relieve or eliminate mental illness symptoms.

Many effects are attached to substance abuse and alcoholism. These effects result from excessive use of drugs, which have been said to cause addictions. Other than habit, various biological effects are directly associated with drugs’ help; these impacts affect humans’ well-being and psychological constraints. When we expose our bodies to drugs and alcohol, the body starts responding just from the first sip. Then follows gradual damage to health then significant injuries until the situation gets out of hand and sometimes unmanageable. Biologically, drug and alcohol use affects almost every part of the human body, from head to toe. This is possible as all parts are coordinated by the brain, connecting to all other parts of the body.

Below are some of the biological characteristics or features that define an illicit drug user. These effects are, in a way or the other, interconnected with psychology. However, the intensity at which they impact individuals varies from person to person. Some factors that determine how the person may be affected by drugs may include the general health, the strength of the medicine, and sometimes body size. Generally, drugs have been found to have both long-term and short-term effects; these are either psychological or physical. Primarily, medications of all nature target the central nervous system of the body. They, therefore, affect how individuals think, feel, and general behavior.

The most common types of drugs are depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants. Depressants have been found to slow the functionality of the nervous system significantly. The hallucinogens make people see or hear things that are not real, while stimulants speed up messaging to and from the brain. All these actions are abnormalities and may result in alteration of human body coordination and functioning. Below are some of the long-term effects of drug abuse. They include respiratory complications, such as using drugs such as smoked tobacco causes lung cancer and chronic bronchitis, which negatively affects life. The long-term effects are heart damage, liver destruction, cancer, and lung infections. These complications result from the consumption of illegal substances as well as alcoholism. However, other effects of drug abuse may be short-lived; these include shrinking brain, behavior changes, dependence over the substance abused, continuous fatigue, and sometimes slurred speech for those who take excessive alcohol (Basimov et al.,2019).

Furthermore, it is essential to address the biological or physiological effects of alcohol and drugs on women. In most cases, women portray a more significant challenge when coping up with drug consequences. It is also true that women are also subject to drug- and –alcohol-related diseases that may destroy somebody’s organs in the long run. The abuse of drugs with women has exposed them to infections such as lung cancer or respiratory damage. There are also chances of contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, especially where the drugs are injected. Besides, drug and alcohol use affects women’s menstrual cycle to either experience lower periods or increased cramping, body aching, and other discomforts with menstruation. All these changes in the biological perspective have negatively impacted the psychological being.


Psychological Perspective

There are many complications associated with brain disorder and behavior. Individuals are experiencing psychological diseases and conditions every day. The psychological problems result from alcohol and substance abuse. The abuse of alcohol causes the body to be dependent (addiction), which leads to alcoholism disorder. On the other hand, substance abuse happens when individuals take illegal drugs or excessive consumption of legal substances. Its focus is on the abuse of drugs such as cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana (cannabis), heroin, opium, and ecstasy. This part of the research will focus on most brain and behavior change disorders about substance abuse. As the drugs interfere with the brain system of the individual’s body, it, directly and indirectly, affects behavior change. The psychological effects of substance abuse include the following:

An individual may experience severe memory loss, brain damage, and impaired judgment ( Caplan et al.,2020). People who abuse alcohol will, at times, have this tendency of forgetting things quickly. Furthermore, the victims always seem to do risky actions and irrational behaviors. For instance, an alcoholic will stand in front of an approaching vehicle without fear. They also change their behavior, e.g., they tend to talk too much or less than their condition when they have not drunk. Alcoholism is one of the primary causes of psychological defects. Other psychological problems associated with alcoholism are; walking difficulties, blurred vision, and slow response. Alcohol has releases toxic substances that block the signals between neurons (brain cells), leading to brain damage that later leads to the related mind and behavior change. Adolescents are also involved in alcoholism practices (Das et al., 2016).

Other psychological disorders include paranoid and erratic behaviors, hallucinations, anxiety, confusion, depression, and psychosis. Paranoid behavior is when the victim suspects other people and thinks that other people want to harm them. The victims may also see things that are not real (hallucinations); the individual starts to imagine things, which affects their behavior. Besides, the individual loses interest in food, and sex desires slow down. These psychological problems stated above result from the consumption and abuse of cocaine. Cocaine creates a condition called “cocaine psychosis,” whereby an individual loses interest in family, friends, hobbies, and touch loss. The psychological risks affect the social lives of individuals negatively and may result in more health complications. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that can erode physical and mental health, giving temporary illusions (Zhuo et al.,(2020). Since it is a stimulant, it directly affects your nervous system and damages brain cells. Cocaine causes a victim to have a feeling of excitement or pleasure, restlessness, and energy surge.

Based on the psychological perspective, you may note that victims experience catatonic syndrome. They become immobile, rigid, mute, lazy, stare, and sometimes make repetitive movements. It is a mind-effect problem caused by the abuse of hallucinogens. These drugs destroy the sense of direction, distance, and time, distorting the fundamental objective. The drugs have lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) that lures them to take higher dosage levels. It poses a significant danger as the intoxications accumulate into the body leading to lung and heart failure, convulsions, coma, and even death. The most known hallucinogens are phencyclidine (PCP), mescaline and peyote, and psilocybin. The drugs usually arouse unpredictable and erratic behaviors due to alteration of the mind.  Other effects of hallucinogen abuse related to cocaine effects include depression, anxiety, violent actions, confusion, suspicions, distancing away from friends, and lose touch with reality (psychosis). Many substance abuse cases such as Marijuana, tobacco, bhang, and opium also pose a danger to mental health.

In conclusion, mind-associated defects (psychological problems) are mainly long-term, and they are very risky, as individuals may lose their lives. There is a need for individuals affected to seek medical advice and diagnosis from medical experts and psychologists. They can help the victims to have a light on how they are risking their health every day. The abuse of alcohol and substances increases the risks of lowering the body’s immunity, destroying vital internal body organs, and brain damage—these problems extend to the social and economic environment.


World View on Substance Abuse

A report from the world health organization (WHO) shows that cannabis is the most used illegal substance in Africa. The highest rates are in West and Central Africa, with an average speed of between 5% and 13% (Witkiewitz et al., 2019). The report also says that population density, gender, age, occupation, and urbanization rates influence substance abuse rates globally. The report records that 15 million people have drug disorders, 3million people die every year due to alcoholism, 148 countries use drug injection methods to abuse drugs. To compact this, the WHO is putting more effort into the progress, organization, detection, and evaluation of treatment measures (Weersink et al.,2018).


Religion/Spirituality and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and alcoholism are diseases, which can be compacted. In the past years, religion has played a vital part in minimizing the rate of drug abuse. Religion is when an individual has an affiliation, participation, and association with great devotion to a faith system (Lund, 2016). spirituality is viewed from the perspective that an individual has a connection with God, in that the person searches for himself or herself and meaning. According to a research study conducted in Mexico, it was noted that religion is one of the significant factors and reduces substance abuse.  It is true the many religions are against drug abuse. Spirituality also increases the recovery process from drug addiction. This is achieved through prayers, meditations, bible study, and devotions to God. There is a saying that says, “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.” It means that whenever people are committed to religion and spirituality, they usually have no time to idle. Idling creates room for youths to think of drug abuse and other evil thoughts.

Although some research says that particular spiritual aspects might trigger substance abuse, it is evident that religion and spirituality play an essential role by inhibiting substance abuse and alcoholism (De Sousa, 2016). When individuals distance themselves from God, they increase the chances of getting into drug abuse temptations and related immoral activities.