In a recent blog entry, we offered a roundup of several legal drugs that can lead to substance use disorders if misused. In this entry, we will turn our attention to a number of illegal substances that can upend your life in short order. 

On the one hand, we offer this list—drawing from a range of our previous entries—as a cautionary tale intended to strongly encourage folks not to dabble with drugs. But we also believe this list can serve as an important reminder to those who are in recovery from a substance use disorder: You have worked hard to regain and maintain your sobriety—and that effort has given you back your quality of life. You don’t want to give up that sobriety for a single one of the drugs we will mention below.

Cocaine: The High is not Worth the Fall

In an entry titled “Cocaine Is Not Cool—What You Should Know,” we noted that cocaine is often made to seem cool in pop culture. But the results of getting hooked on cocaine are not cool at all:

Because cocaine is a powerful stimulant, users often experience an intense high during which they feel extremely alert and full of energy. They may also experience feelings of extreme happiness…[But] as a person builds up tolerance to cocaine, they must take more and more to achieve the same high—a sure sign that a substance use disorder has developed. 

Related: Sometimes high achievers turn to stimulants—and the results can be devastating

Club Drugs: The Party is not Worth the Aftermath

We wrote about the dangers of a whole range of drugs that are lumped together as “club drugs” in an entry titled “Do Not Join This Club—Club Drugs are Dangerous.” We zeroed in on Ecstasy:

Ecstasy…is a hallucinogen and a stimulant. It lowers your inhibitions, enhances your senses, and can provide a sense of well-being that explains its name. That might all sound good, but it leaves out the other possible effects of the drug…[and] none of those effects lead to anything that could remotely qualify as “ecstasy.”

Related: PCP is another hallucinogen you should steer clear of because, as we wrote, it “causes a plethora of problems.” 

Methamphetamines: Meth is not Worth the Inevitable Mess 

Employing a bit of wordplay related to the television program Breaking Bad, we wrote about meth under the headline “We Hate to Break it to You but Methamphetamines are Bad News.” Folks struggling with meth can experience some truly alarming symptoms—especially when they keep taking the drug to avoid a feeling known as a “comedown”:

This cycle can lead to a breaking of the body and brain’s normal processes. When this happens, a meth user is said to be “tweaking.” A person who is tweaking may not sleep for more than two weeks straight…That lack of sleep no doubt contributes to the severe paranoia and even temporary psychosis that the user experiences while tweaking. At this point, the drug no longer provides any positive feeling—the euphoria the user was originally chasing—but it still offers plenty of negatives.

Related: This article brings to light just how pervasive—and destructive—the use of meth has become.

No Matter the Substance in Question, Substance Use Disorders are Dangerous

All of the drugs we have considered in this two-part series—whether legal or illegal—have the ability to truly upend your life. Given this fact, we offer some pretty simple and straightforward advice: If you are taking prescription drugs, stick strictly to the instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist; if you are considering dabbling in illicit drugs, just don’t. 

We also have some simple and straightforward advice if you have already developed a problem with drugs or alcohol: It is time to get yourself into treatment.

The Aviary is Here to Help You Regain Your Sobriety

Drugs like those we have considered here can be devilishly difficult to give up. That is because any effort to quit taking them is likely to be swiftly followed by a bunch of truly awful withdrawal symptoms—symptoms awful enough to send you back to the substance that is causing all of the problems. That can feel like a trap with no exit. 

Fortunately, it is not.

At The Aviary Recovery Center near St. Louis, MO, we offer medically supervised detoxification to help you regain your sobriety. We follow that up with a robust rehabilitation program and continuum of care designed to help you maintain that hard-won sobriety over time. If drugs or alcohol have grabbed control of your life, we can help you wrest that control back so you can reclaim your life.