Learn more about drugs and how to support your health and wellness
Health and wellness are core necessities whether a person has an active drug use disorder or is in early or long-term recovery. In short, health and wellness means taking care of yourself in any healthy way to help improve your life.
Repeated patterns of drug use can lead to chronic health conditions (physical and/or emotional) that impact both the length of a person’s life, and the overall quality of life that can be experienced and achieved.
Recovery from a drug use disorder can be hard, but you can help yourself by improving your physical and mental health, or supporting a loved one in doing so. This may mean starting to exercise more, relaxing by listening to music, or it may mean seeking help from a professional, like a mental health therapist. If you need ideas to improve your health and wellness, talk with your healthcare provider, ask for advice from healthy and sober supports or search the internet for ideas. Always pay attention to your personal needs and remember, there is hope wherever you are. Stories of recovery happen every day.
Types of Drugs
- Club drugs
- Crack or cocaine
- Prescription drugs and cold medicines
- Steroids (anabolic)
- Tobacco and nicotine
Fact. 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is one common drug found in synthetic bath salts. A scientific study found that MDVP affects the brain in a way similar to cocaine, but it is at least 10 times more powerful.
Drug use, in both single and repetitive forms, has a significant effect on how people function and perceive the world. It is very common for people to struggle to understand just how much and how strongly their drug use has or is influencing their function. A drug’s effect varies from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, including:
- How much and how often you use
- Type of drug you use
- Your age and gender
- Your health status and mental health status
- Your family support system
- Your family history
Substance use disorders develop when the brain is exposed to an amount of a drug that causes structural and chemical changes to occur in the brain. The reason some are more affected by a certain amount of a drug while others are less affected is unknown. What we do know: depending on the person and the drug, any amount can cause the development of an addiction. The structural and chemical changes that occur in the brain cause the pleasurable feelings one experiences when under the influence of drugs. This is why people with a substance use disorder feel compelled to use more, even if it causes harm.
All drugs, regardless of whether they are illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter (available without a prescription), change the body’s function or chemistry, and can be harmful. OTC drugs are available to the public with the understanding that they will be used only as directed and to treat a particular ailment.
An overdose on over-the-counter drugs can vary greatly depending on what other drugs they are mixed with, the amount of drugs taken, and how they are taken. Some over-the-counter drugs can cause serious problems or even death if used incorrectly. The only safe way to take over-the-counter medications is exactly as directed on the bottle and to treat the symptoms for which they are intended.
Are prescription drugs dangerous?
ALL drugs are chemicals that affect the body. But some people don’t realize that prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs can be equally as dangerous as street drugs. The very reason prescription drugs require a prescription from a doctor is because they are powerful substances, and need to be regulated and taken under a physician’s care to ensure that patients take them safely. Even if a person is prescribed a medication, taking more of that drug, or taking it more often than recommended, is dangerous.
Additionally, getting prescription drugs without a prescription is illegal and may subject a person to arrest and prosecution. Regardless of how you acquire a prescription medication, using these types of drugs without a valid prescription and medical supervision is unsafe and illegal.
Source: Above the Influence
How quickly can someone become addicted to a drug?
There is no easy answer to this common question. If and how quickly you become addicted to a drug depends on many factors, including your biology (your genes, for example), age, gender, environment and interactions among these factors. While one person may use a drug one or many times and suffer no ill effects, another person may overdose with the first use or become addicted after a few uses. There is no way of knowing in advance how quickly you will become addicted, but there are some clues—an important one being whether you have a family history of addiction.
Can you get addicted even though you only do it once in a while?
No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to be an addict.” Addiction is a process – not an event. Most people who start using drugs do so with the intention of only using once or occasionally. But drugs affect the brain, so even with only occasional use, changes are happening that could lead to addiction. The “occasional” use of drugs can quickly change to frequent use and then to constant use. No one knows when the “chemical switch” goes off in your brain or who will get addicted. It’s a little like playing Russian Roulette—you just never know. The only thing we do know is that if you don’t do drugs, you definitely won’t get addicted.
Source: Above the Influence
You can never have too much support. Especially when you’re facing a problem with alcohol or drug use, gambling, suicidal thoughts or mental health challenges. That’s why Your Life Iowa created our supportive text messaging program. So you can sign up to receive messages designed to provide you encouragement, no matter what you may be facing.
Brain injuries can be a multi-occurring condition with substance use.
Brain injuries are often a multi-occurring condition with substance use. Screening for brain injury is a best practice when responding to, and/or planning clinical and community-based responses for clients in health, community, and corrections services. Brain injury screening tools can provide a brief assessment of a person's exposure to brain injury, but do not provide a diagnosis or indicate an absence of a brain injury. Learn more with the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa.
Want to find help on your own?
Your Life Iowa is always here to help you find resources near you. However, we understand that sometimes you’d like to look for help on your own. Our map will let you do just that.
Would you like a substance use treatment professional to contact you?
Fill out a simple contact form and a professional will reach out to you.
Are you family or friends with someone who is having problems with their drug use?
Find out how Your Life Iowa can provide support for them -- and you.