General: Many complications associated with addictions, including drug addictions and gambling addictions, are the same. For instance, drug and gambling addictions may lead to social or interpersonal problems. Serious addictions may cause some patients to do things they normally would not (such as lie or steal) to fulfill their addictions. If this occurs, the person may have strained relationships with friends, family members, and loved ones.
Substance abuse: Studies have shown that individuals who use illegal drugs (such as heroin or cocaine) typically engage in riskier behaviors than non-drug users. For instance, users may trade sex for drugs or money, or they may engage in behaviors that put them at risk for developing infectious diseases (such as HIV or hepatitis) while under the influence of drugs. However, this is not true of all drug users.
Substance abuse during pregnancy may lead to serious birth defects or even prenatal death or stillbirth. If a women uses drugs during pregnancy, the baby may be born with a drug addiction and go into withdrawal.
Sharing intravenous needles with others increases the risk of transmitting or acquiring infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Long-term abuse of stimulants changes the way the brain functions, and may lead to severe mental disorders and memory loss. Long-term abuse of alcohol may lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver failure.
Some drugs, including alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines, can be fatal if they are taken in high doses. Signs of an overdose include loss of consciousness, slowed or faint heartbeat, decreased blood pressure, slowed breathing, and chest pain. Individuals who experience any of these symptoms after using drugs should be taken to the nearest hospital immediately.
Gambling addiction: Over time, compulsive gamblers typically find that it takes more and more money to make them feel excited when they gamble. As a result, some individuals may lose substantial amounts of money, become bankrupt, or be in serious debt.
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