We will support all efforts to reduce or eliminate risky substances like alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. Treatments often take time, and there may need to be many attempts, with various approaches. Knowing this, and being patient with yourself will help you reach your goals.
Top 5 Substance Control Tips
Most people do not realize that alcohol is a known carcinogen and is associated with mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, liver and breast cancers. Alcohol can also make health conditions worse; these include: high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, memory loss, diabetes, digestive issues, sleep disorders, osteoporosis, and stroke. As such, we should not think of alcohol as a harmless substance; in fact it is a risky substance to be consumed carefully.
As we age, we are more sensitive to alcohol because we lose lean body mass over time which results in less total body water to help dilute alcohol. We also make less of the enzyme which helps to process alcohol. This creates a bigger burden on the liver. Regular consumption of alcohol will also make weight loss much more difficult.
Quitting smoking has the biggest positive impact on your health. Period. After you quit, your body starts to recover immediately. After 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. After 8 hours you will start to notice breathing is easier. After 1 day, your lungs start clearing themselves out. After 1 year your risk of having a heart attack is cut in half.
To start your quit plan now:
Vape pens and e-cigarettes have been linked to negative health outcomes. Recently, vaping has been linked to severe lung illness, including deaths. Vaping has been linked to shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation. There are unknown and untested compounds in vaping products and longer-term studies are ongoing to determine their health effects – there is no evidence that vaping is safe.
Cannabis products are now legal and widely available. Cannabis can be used for some medical reasons, including pain and nausea, or for recreational purposes. There are safety precautions to think about if you are using cannabis regularly or are thinking about trying it.
- Ask your pharmacist for a medication review. Some drugs interact with cannabis and might need to be switched or monitored closely.
- Avoid mixing cannabis with alcohol or other substances. This can lead to serious health consequences.
- Choosing products with low THC/high CBD is safer to use.
- Consider the strain you are taking, THC versus CBD, and your method of consumption because the effects can be different and should be discussed with your doctor and pharmacist.
- Cannabis can have health risks including dependence, psychosis and effects on the developing brain.
- Know the low risk guidelines for cannabis.
Other Substance Use Disorders
Being honest with your health team about the use of illegal drugs or overuse of prescription medications is the best way to understand the associated risks and the best way to get effective help.
Talk with your care team about your specific circumstances and make a plan for ongoing medical and mental health support and treatment programs.