When a person uses drugs, many changes occur in his body, both physically and psychologically. Some of these changes occur immediately, while others only happen over time. Every side effect of drug use has the potential to be severe, but the physical effects can be especially dangerous. A person should, therefore, try to avoid combining drug use with any type of physical activity.
Common Physical Effects of Drug Use
Physical exercise makes many of the body’s systems work faster and harder, and drugs also interact with the body physically in several ways.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists several common physical side effects of drug use, including:
- Change in appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Distortions in perception
- Dry mouth
- Flushing of skin
- Impaired coordination and balance
- Increased energy and alertness
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
While the changes that a person experiences during physical exercise are usually healthy, the physical side effects of drugs have the potential to be damaging and occasionally life-threatening. And when the effects of physical exercise and drug use are combined, the body can go into shock or shut down completely. If the person engages in especially demanding physical activities, such as those that require high levels of cardiac fitness, he puts himself in danger of causing permanent damage to his body.
Dangers of Performance-Enhancing Drugs
Using drugs and engaging in physical activities is dangerous, but some people still do it. Some people engage in physical activity right after drug use unintentionally, or because they are influenced by the psychological effects of the drug. Others combine drug use with physical activity intentionally in order to improve their physical ability.
Professional athletes are particularly prone to using drugs while participating in their sport.
The use of these “performance-enhancing” drugs are prohibited in most sporting events, and the World Anti-Doping Agency states that drugs that fall into any two of the following three categories are illegal:
- Substances that have the potential to enhance sport performance
- Substances that present a potential or actual health risk to the user
- Substances that violate the spirit of the sport
One type of performance-enhancing drug that is particularly abused by athletes is anabolic steroids. The National Institutes of Health explain that these drugs are synthetic substances similar to male sex hormones and that some athletes use them to build muscle and increase their athletic ability.
These drugs, which are illegal to use in the United States, can cause severe health problems such as:
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Kidney damage
- Liver disease, including cancer
Because of the many harmful side effects of using drugs while engaging in physical activities, it’s best for a person to avoid mixing the two together whenever possible. When an athlete is discovered to be using a performance-enhancing drug during a sporting event, he may be penalized or even removed from the event. If he is a professional athlete, he also runs the risk of harming his entire career.
These potential effects of drug use, combined with the drug’s effects on the body, make drug use during physical activity very risky.
Find Out More about the Risk of Using Drugs During Physical Activities
Combining drugs with physical activity can be extremely dangerous, and should, therefore, be avoided at all costs. If you or someone you care about has been using drugs while engaging in sports or other physical activities, know that the risks always outweigh the benefits.
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You May Want to Know:
- FRN Research Report February/March 2012: Treatment Outcomes for Prescription Drug Addiction at Michael’s House
- A Beginner’s Guide to the Rx Drug Abuse Epidemic in America: Part 3
- FRN Research Report June/July 2012: One Year Post-Treatment Outcomes Among Women After Integrated Rehab at Michael’s House