2 minute read

Chemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family

Chemicals Are in ControlLong-term Effects Of Chemical Dependency

Chemical dependency, or drug addiction, can have very serious consequences.


Some drugs are called stimulants. These drugs, like cocaine and amphetamines, make you feel powerful or alert. Some people refer to them as uppers. Stimulants include cocaine, crack, amphetamines, and prescription drugs such as Benzedrine and Sanorex. Stimulants increase your blood pressure, pulse rate, and energy level. They can cause you to feel excited. They produce insomnia, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Long-term consequences can include weight loss, anxiety, severe depression, violent behavior, heart failure, and suicide. Cocaine and crack also can damage the inside of the nose and cause other serious problems.


Some drugs are called depressants. These drugs, such as alcohol and sleeping pills, can make you feel tired, indifferent, or sad. Some people call them downers. These include alcohol, barbiturates, and prescription drugs, such as tranquilizers and Valium. Depressants slow down bodily functions. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, convulsions, and memory loss can follow an initial sense of pleasure.

Over a long period of time, depression, fatigue, insomnia, respiratory failure, psychotic episodes (losing contact with reality completely), and suicide can occur. Alcohol also can cause blackouts, memory loss, weight gain, and cirrhosis of the liver.


Narcotics, also called opiates, include codeine, heroin, methadone, morphine, and prescription pain pills such as Percodan. They relieve pain. You may feel sleepy, relaxed, and extremely happy. But your pain does not go away forever. It simply is postponed. Narcotics are some of the most addictive drugs.

They can increase your risk of contracting HIV if you share needles. They can also cause heart and breathing problems, mood swings, and tremors.


Hallucinogens include marijuana and hashish, both from the cannabis plant. They make you feel relaxed. Large doses might cause agitation or excitement. Other hallucinogens, such as LSD and magic mushrooms, change your thinking and your perception of reality. You may hallucinate—see or feel things that aren't there. Hallucinogens impair judgment and coordination, putting you at risk for self-injury.

Long-term consequences, including violent behavior, paranoia, depression, and flashbacks, may occur. Marijuana also may cause low sperm count in men, infertility in women, and weight gain.


Inhalants are drugs such as nitrous oxide, called laughing gas. Many common products, such as hair spray, nail polish remover, glue, paint, and gasoline, produce fumes that are inhaled and can be abused. Taking inhalants may slur your speech, impair your coordination, and cause you to feel drunk. They can slow your breathing and cause nausea and vomiting.

Over a long period of time, use can lead to brain damage, severe depression, nerve damage, suffocation, and sudden death.

Chemical dependency has severe consequences for your body, brain, and relationships with other people. What starts out as a careless experiment with drugs can begin a long journey toward drug addiction. For some people, that journey ends in disease or even death. That's why it is important to get help before it is too late.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional FamilyChemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family - Chemicals Are in Control - Drugs And Chemical Dependency, How Does Chemical Dependency Occur?, Long-term Effects Of Chemical Dependency