Toxicity- this refers to a degree to which a substance can be poisonous to anybody who uses it. Most of the drugs of recreation are toxic or are high in toxicity and using them for a long time results in damaged neurotransmitters among other problems. The degrees of toxicity can be categorized as acute, Sub-chronic and chronic. Acute toxicity involves harmful effects in an organism through a single or short-term exposure. Sub-chronic toxicity is the ability of a toxic substance to cause effects for more than one year but less than the lifetime of the exposed organism. Chronic toxicity is the ability of a substance or mixture of substances to cause harmful effects over an extended period, usually upon repeated or continuous exposure, sometimes lasting for the entire life of the exposed organism. This explains why those addicted to drugs are severely affected. The more you expose yourself to the substance the more the toxicity you are subjecting yourself to. Toxicity is not only a worry when dealing with recreational drugs, there are also other substances of high toxicity that you need to avoid. These may include pesticides, some window cleaners and other inhalants. With that said it is crucial to mention that in most cases we get these toxic substances by our own intervention especially through the use of drugs of recreation. Even some drugs that are used in hospitals may be toxic when recommended dosages are surpassed. For example benzodiazepines are very effective drugs when used within the specified dosages but are high in toxicity when used beyond the recommended dosages.
Since exposure to different substances will result in different symptoms of toxicity in the long-term, I suggest we focus on one type of drug and for this purpose we will work with benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are also good in this case as they drugs that are used clinically hence the result of their misuse can be of help to many.
Depression and anxiety
Using benzodiazepine for a long time results in depression. It has been found that alcoholics who use benzodiazepines for a long time become depressed. It is possible that benzodiazepines cause or aggravate depression, perhaps by reducing central monoamine activity. However, anxiety and depression often coexist, and benzodiazepines are often prescribed for mixed anxiety/depression. Sometimes, the drugs seem to precipitate suicidal tendencies in such patients. It also causes Emotional anesthesia which is the inability to feel pleasure or pain. It is therefore recommended that benzodiazepines should not be used alone in treating depression.
Due to high toxicity of some drugs they will affect the brain causing dependence on these drugs. The long term effect use of benzodiazepines for example can lead to both psychological and pharmacological dependence. After getting dependent on drugs other problems like tolerance and other withdrawal symptoms sets in whenever the person tries to stop using the drug.
Structural Brain Damage
There is insufficient to support the fact that long term use of benzodiazepines can cause structural brain damage. However some drugs have high toxicity and continued exposure to such drugs can cause structural brain damage.
Hemorrhoids – this is not limited to benzodiazepines alone. Long term use of other drugs with high toxicity can cause hemorrhoids where the varicose veins of the anus become painful, swell and itch. This is often caused by constipation and lack of dietary fiber.
Tolerance- long term use of certain drugs results in tolerance where a person will have to use more of a drug to feel the effect. This is a common problem that most people on long term use benzodiazepines go through.
Inhalants are chemical vapors or gases that affect how the mind works when abused or misused by concentrating and intentionally inhaling these fumes. The inhalants may include volatile organic solvents, fuel gases, nitrites, and anesthetic gases. These inhalants may cause death when a person is exposed to them for a long time. Some of the common inhalants include;
Amyl nitrites (poppers) – poopers are normally sold under such names as ram, rush, thunderbolt among other names. They are mostly used by gay men to prolong orgasm and enhance the sensation. Over a time the person will be dependent on these poppers so much that he can’t have sex without them. These poppers have been found to be responsible for many deaths especially through increased risk of HIV. However giving up on poppers isn’t easy since some people depend on it entirely for their sexual purpose. There is insufficient information on the number of deaths that have been caused by use of poppers however in one study it was found that 96% of gays who were HIV positive were using poppers.
Benzenes (gasoline) – CDC defines benzene as a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. It is one of the inhalants that are greatly abused. When inhaled it alters the way the body cells work for example it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells. At extreme intoxication it causes death.
Finally, We at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center are committed to availing help to addicts by availing some of the most integrative approaches to healing an addict. We advocate for natural healing to all kinds of addiction. Call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for help.