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Common Consequences of Addiction

Addiction ConsequencesThe effects of substance abuse and addiction touch every facet of a person’s life. Rather than remaining isolated only to the person who is misusing drugs or alcohol, there is a far-ranging ripple effect that can touch anyone who is close to the addict.

Addiction is a chronic disease, and, when left untreated, can unravel lives and cause untold harm. Other than the obvious impact substance misuse has on an addict’s physical and mental health, it can take an enormous toll on their relationships with loved ones, as well as their financial well-being.

To learn more about the risks of substance abuse, continue reading below.

Health Consequences

Alcohol and drug abuse put a tremendous amount of strain on the human body, affecting all vital organs and potentially leading to a higher risk of health issues such as cancer and infertility. Some substances are powerful enough to pose a risk after only short-term use.

Drugs also alter brain chemistry by changing neural pathways and disrupting chemicals that regulate mood. Misuse of addictive substances can trigger the emergence of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, or cause them to worsen if they were already present. The more frequently someone uses drugs or alcohol, the more they allow these substances to affect their brain’s circuitry, causing the addict to develop compulsive behaviors and changing their personality.

Many addicts who don’t seek help for their disease suffer the most severe consequence of all -- losing their lives.

Social Consequences

As casual substance use evolves into a full-fledged addiction, it erodes social relationships. Because of the way drug and alcohol misuse change the brain, someone with a substance abuse disorder will eventually reach a point where they no longer feel normal when they are not using their substance of choice.

Drug and alcohol abuse create a rift between the addict and their close friends and family. People who have developed drug dependencies often experience effects such as mood swings and diminished interest in activities they once enjoyed doing. As their erratic behavior increases, it causes their loved ones to feel distress, anxiety, anger and other negative emotions.

Because addiction clouds judgment and impairs the decision-making process, someone who is in the throes of addiction will often push family members and friends away without realizing the consequences of their actions. Their circle of loving, supportive family and friends may dwindle to the point that the addicted person becomes isolated and depressed, which allows the cycle of addiction to worsen.

Financial and Legal Consequences

Feeling the constant need to abuse a substance can be expensive. Addicts can go deeply into debt in the pursuit to keep using their substance of choice. There is also the risk of serving jail time due to drug and alcohol use, whether from getting arrested for a DUI or for illegal possession of drugs. Being in legal trouble can lead to expensive fees and fines, and getting a DUI can also mean suspension of a driver’s license or being court-ordered to perform community service. Having a criminal record can also lead to dismissal from a job, or make it more challenging to find gainful employment.

The loss of impulse control an addict experiences may make it more likely for them to spend money recklessly on things they can’t afford. They may also neglect to pay bills, either because they don’t have the money or because they forget to do so. That could lead to repossession of their vehicle or foreclosure on their home.

Addiction Recovery in SLO County

Though some addicts manage to go a long time without experiencing any of these ramifications, the longer you allow an addiction to continue without seeking treatment, the more your risk of these issues will increase. Many of these consequences can be considered "not yets" that are almost guaranteed with continued use.

It’s a common misconception that all addicts have to reach a “rock-bottom” point before they can seek rehabilitation. In reality, your bottom is when you stop digging. Not everyone has to experience all of these consequences to qualify for treatment. Even one suffices.

If you are experiencing any of these effects of drug and alcohol abuse, contact our SLO County rehab to start your recovery journey in a safe, comfortable and therapeutic environment. We help both men and women rediscover a life without the constant presence of drugs and alcohol.

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