Drug addiction is a constant issue that the United States has faced for years. Over time, laws, regulations, and bills have been put in place to try to stop the flow and control the effects of drugs.
Mind-altering substances, legal or illegal, drastically change one’s perception and connection to reality. Because they are highly addictive, deliver pleasurable effects, and wear off quickly, they’re usually used at a high rate for long periods of time, furthering negative consequences.
There are several ways drugs affect you and those around you. Below we’ll explore four ways that drug addiction can impact your life.
4 Ways Drug Addiction Affects Your Life
It’s reported that more than 20 million people in the United States have a substance use disorder. This includes having addiction problems with any sort of substance, including legal and illegal drugs.
When someone becomes addicted to a substance, their main goal is to find more of the substance to ingest, in order to continue the high and avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
This becomes a time-consuming and unhealthy habit that affects all aspects of one’s life. Drug addiction mostly impacts:
- physical health
- mental health
- relationship to others
- life goals
The severity of these issues will usually depend on how long drug use has transpired. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.
1. Physical Health
Drugs are toxins that, in most cases, are foreign to the brain and body. They wreak havoc on our insides and their abuse can show in our appearance.
Several cutting agents are used to manufacture drugs. Many of these present their own health risks as well.
There are a variety of short-term and long-term ways drugs affect your body and physical health. These can include:
- Damaged and weakened immune system, making the body more susceptible to infection and illness
- A multitude of heart-related problems, including abnormal heart rate, collapsed veins and vessels, heart attacks, and stroke
- Stomach issues, leading to nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Liver failure due to the liver continually trying to rid the body of drugs
- Seizures from brain damage
- Lung disease
- Risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis from sharing needles
- Marks, burns, scratches, and wells
- Oral problems, such as tooth loss
- Nasal septum deterioration, which can lead to trouble with eating, tasting, and smelling
2. Mental Health
As drug use continues and physical dependence upon the substance grows, more damage is caused to the brain’s physical structure.
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Loss of attention
- Inability to make smart rational decisions
- Loss of sex drive
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of self-control
Someone in an active addiction will place drugs before people and important relationships. This is because drugs damage parts of the brain that control vital social and mental functions.
When this happens, a variety of issues arise that can affect emotions, social status, and relationships with others.
These can include:
- Drunk driving
- Physical and verbal altercations
- Unprotected sex
- Long periods of self-isolation
- Pregnancy issues
- Loss of unemployment
- Financial strains
- Trouble with marriage and romantic relationships
- Skipping out on family events
- Loss of contact with loved ones
- Ail time and probation
The impact of substance use disorders on children can be life-long. Children with parents who have SUDs are more likely to develop substance issues themselves.
4. Life Goals
Substance abuse has the power to alter a person’s desires and values. Drugs disrupt the reward system in the brain. This means that in an active addiction, only drugs will be able to create more dopamine in the body.
Other dopamine from natural and safe ways will not feel the same. Many people give up whole days, weeks, months, and in some cases, years to the chase of a high.
Many hobbies, goals, and aspirations are set aside or simply forgotten about while trying to pursue a high. Some people sell off items that were once important to them — like a guitar, camera, or computer — in order to buy more drugs.
Treating Drug Addiction
Drug addiction doesn’t have to ruin you or a loved one’s life forever. There are many treatment options, such as inpatient or outpatient programs, that can start sobriety. Start exploring your options today and start recovering from substance abuse.