In low doses, alcohol causes euphoria. Social use is widely encouraged and this general acceptability often hides the traumatic consequences of addiction. Sometimes alcoholics think that because they are able to drink a lot, they are not an alcoholic. Nothing could be futher from the truth. Lowered inhibitions, reduced impulse control, slurred speech and emotional volatility are accepted in the alcoholic circle. Loss of coordination, impaired memory, sexual dysfunction and loss of consciousness (blackouts) are common in alcoholics or potential alcoholics. Alcohol is linked to depression, liver damage, heart disease, hypertension, neurological deficits and suicide.
Marijuana is another widely used and present drug in American society. Because addicts may not exhibit symptoms which derail their lives, effects of addiction to marijuana can be widely understated. Euphoria and mild stimulation can lead to problems with impulse control, slurred speech, emotional volatility and visual distortions. Implications such as impaired memory, increased violence, fetal damage (in pregnant women), depression, brain damage, liver damage, lung cancer, heart disease and potentially fatal overdoses are consistent with marijuana addiction. It is also common for people addicted to marijuana to feel paranoia, anxiety and panic attacks. Addicts will often display a persistent cough, frequent respiratory infections and mental health declines.
Prescription Pill Addiction
Addiction to prescription pain killers is showing up at an alarming rate in treatment centers. Treatment admissions for (prescription) opiates other than heroin rose from 19,870 in 1998 to 111,251 in 2008, over a 450% increase. Both legal methods (given by prescription and paid for by insurance) and illegal methods (easily bought over the internet or gotten on the street) make getting prescription drugs easy, a fact which explains why the number of fatal overdoses involving prescriptions has more than tripled in the last 15 years. Users will need to take more of the drug as time goes on in order to get the same affect. They will experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to come off of the drug. They will take more than they planned, and for longer periods of time. Many will want to stop, but find they are unable to. They will spend extraordinary amounts of time, energy and money, just to get high; working less, missing work, or not bothering to look for work at all. When you’re in the middle of opiate addiction, nothing comes between you and the drug. Users are impervious to consequences which destroy their lives.
Coke and meth are stimulants. These drugs increase heart rates, blood pressure, and body temperature. They speed up the metabolism, giving brief feelings of exhilaration followed by drastic and sharp emotional declines. Increased energy and alertness may lead to irritability, anxiety, panic, paranoia and violent or psychotic behavior. If you’ve ever witnessed an addict coming off of a serious stimulant addiction, you know that their unpredictable and sometimes violent moods necessitate intervention. Stimulants are highly addictive and their users incur serious medical and psychological repercussions including extreme weight loss, damage to nasal passages (cocaine), rotted teeth (meth), reduced appetite, heart attacks, strokes, seizures, cancer and the always possible fatal overdose.
You may often find a heroin addict nodding off (head drooped, dozing) after shooting up. Heroin creates a state of bliss and euphoria, accompanied by drowsiness, impaired coordination, dizziness, confusion, and sedation. There is a feeling of complete peace, heaviness in the body, slowed (or arrested) breathing. In addition to numerous medical consequences of prolonged heroin use, it is highly addictive and often leads to such medical conditions as Hepatitis, HIV and sudden death. Coming off of a heroin addiction is serious business and should never be attempted without medical advice. Addicts will be dope sick, making it hard for them to resist using again and making it difficult for them to be treated in a non-medical or non-recovery atmosphere.
Club drugs include such drugs as MDMA, Flunitrazepan, and GHB. These are commonly known by such names as rophies (Rohypnol—the date rape drug), ecstasy, and Liquid X. This is an extremely powerful and addictive class of drugs with hallucinogenic effects. These drugs are often linked with sexual assault and users may underestimate the severity of consequences related to using these drugs because they are found and used widely in social settings. Increased tactile sensitivity, lowered inhibitions, overt sexuality, muscle relaxation, and impaired coordination lead to chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, sleep disturbance, depression, hyperthermia, and of course seizures, heart disease, liver damage, comas, and possible suicide.
 Norah D. Volkow, M.D., Congressional Caucas on Prescription Drug Abuse, 2010. (http://www.nida.nih.gov/Testimony/9-22-10Testimony.html)
 Volkow, M.D., Congressional Caucus