Dealing with the consequences of addiction.
If you have ever dealt with someone who has been involved in the world of addiction you will know that it is a complicated disease. Addicts cannot stop taking a substance or carrying out behaviour which causes damage to themselves or those around them. It can set off a range of adverse effects on all that it infects, ranging from psychological, physiological, and personal.
The complications and consequences of addiction which come about often depend on the type of substance or behaviour.
Take for example sex addiction. It greatly increases the risk of sexual behaviours that could lead to a range of sexual diseases. Using drugs intravenously (injecting) without using sterilized needles can lead to the transmission of, HIV, hepatitis C and a host of other diseases.
Let’s be quite clear here. It is very rare for a complication not to arise which doesn’t affect an addict. And the worst part? These factors often feed each other and work in tandem to create health risks.
Let’s delve into a few of these complications, shall we?
First off, let’s get into the physical complications:
- Overusing mood- or physiology-altering substances can cause damage in a number of ways.
- Injury can occur during the administration of a drug, depending on the method. For example, injecting heroin with a needle can lead to skin and muscle damage at the point of injection, and many people take drugs by smoking, causing lung damage and respiratory illnesses
- Snorting cocaine through the nose can damage nasal cartilage, and taking opiates can lead to opiate-induced constipation, a chronic and potentially fatal form of constipation if a person does not receive treatment.
- Some substances induce violent reactions in people and increase the likelihood of confrontational behaviours.
- Overdosing can lead to a life-threatening medical emergency, a coma or death.
- Regular tobacco use can cause a range of cancers and smoking methamphetamine might fuel a severe form of dental decay known as “meth mouth”.
- Injury can also occur while intoxicated. Often, drug use impairs coordination and balance and can lead to falls and injuries.
- Many substances lead to spikes in blood pressure and heart rate, placing a strain on the heart and blood vessels and increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and death.
- Addiction can become an all-encompassing feature in a person’s life, and reward systems in the brain can rewire to prioritize the substance or behaviour at the root of the addiction over nutrition, resolving stressful situations, and hygiene.
- Addiction can also mean that a person dedicates large sums of money each month to obtain the substance, increasing the risk of poor nutrition. In some cases, addiction can lead to homelessness, greatly reducing protection and resources and increasing exposure to the elements.
- Foetal damage: If a woman takes substances while pregnant, this can lead to congenital anomalies or even death in the foetus.
- Learn more about the consequences of addiction and symptoms of addiction.
And now let’s take a look at the psychological complications:
- Drugs have a two-way relationship with mental health. Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, might occur ahead of addiction.
- Drug use can also set off the symptoms of mental conditions as well as causing them to develop when they were not present before.
- Anxiety, restlessness, guilt, and shame can also result from prolonged substance dependency and behavioural addiction.
- Many drugs directly cause hallucinations and longer-term psychological effects that can lead to severe mental health problems.
- A 2015 study showed that six times as many people who regularly misuse opiates attempt suicide as people who do not misuse opiates. The rate of death by suicide was two to three times higher in people who had a dependency on opiates.
- Addiction not only impairs a range of bodily functions but also changes the way a person thinks. Drug use alters how some brain circuits work Excessive use of LSD, for example, might result in a slipping handle on reality and drug-induced psychosis.
- A 2014 study linked lifetime use of a number of different substances to increased levels of depression.
- Drug addiction might lead people to financial problems, homelessness, criminal activity, and prison.
- Deteriorating personal circumstances increase stress levels, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
- People with addiction tend to push away the people closest to them and this removes or drastically reduces an individual’s support network when they need it the most. This can fuel further drug use and push people with addiction towards the more severe complications.
- People use certain drugs as a way to attempt suicide, such as heroin. When the effects of the drugs themselves combine with resulting or underlying psychological difficulties, the consequences of addiction and negative results can be lethal.
And now let’s focus on the personal complications:
- Addiction can change relationships to the people closest to the person with the condition. These can compound the effects of addiction on the brain and body.
- A substance disorder can make a person feel isolated, which might fuel further drug use and impact on relationships.
- Not only can the costs of regularly purchasing substances or pursuing behavioural impulses mount up, but the consequences of addiction can also drive a person further and further from their place of employment and financial responsibilities. This can lead to difficulties that further compound the other health issues that can arise from addiction.
- Many psychoactive substances are illicit, and even possessing them can put a person in jail. However, people may also resort to crime to fund drug misuse, especially as drug addiction can lead to unemployment as the substance or behaviour starts to replace personal responsibilities.
- Often, obtaining the substance or enacting the behaviour at the root of an addiction supplants obligations to other people, even family and dependents.
SO what can we surmise from all this?
The consequences of addiction carry with them a range of serious and dangerous complications that can greatly impact the life of a person with the disease and the people around them.
Addiction to psychoactive substances often carries a range of toxic and destructive physical effects, such as the risk of physical damage, the consequences of addiction and side effects of the drugs or behaviours themselves, heart diseases including stroke and heart attack, and reduced nutritional intake. Taking too much of a substance can also lead to overdose and death.
Addiction can also set off depression, anxiety and psychosis and greatly increase the risk of suicide. It can also impair people around the individual, destroying relationships and finances, and even pushing people towards illicit activity and crime.
Find out what treatments are available and what support groups are in the area. Reach out, ask for help and recognise that the human spirit can endure even the toughest of battles.
For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:
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