What is the most subtle effect of drug abuse on the human body? Explain.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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While mental, nervous, cognitive, and even digestive effects of drug abuse are evident and fairly easily recognized, the subtlest effect is on the regulatory system of the body, the built-in mechanisms and chemical balancing organs that keep the body’s mechanisms in balance.  Blood/oxygen ratios, pH balances, osmosis through membranes, and such systems depend on a “range of norms” to be perceived, and when those norms are exceeded (in either direction), we have “hyper” and “hypo” conditions.  The problem is that drug abuse (and this includes over-the-counter medications, prescription medication, or illegal street-drugs) upsets the “range of norms” that the body will accept before activating corrective mechanisms, thereby doing damage to all the organs of the body.  Particular sensitive to the upsetting of “normalcy” in the body are the thyroid gland, the pituitary gland, and the kidneys.  When these imbalances are not corrected, the whole delicate balance of body functions is hurt, even though the symptoms are not immediately observable.  This is particularly dangerous and undetected in over-the-counter drug abuse (anti-acid pills, cough medicine, etc.) because the abuser doesn’t realize the damage that is being done (thinking that OTC products are harmless and government approved) and therefore does not connect the damage to the abuse.  Abusers of illegal drugs “give up” on their general health early, in favor of the “high.”


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