Drug addiction is a problem that destroys lives in some ways. It doesn’t only affect the addict, but his or her family and society as a whole. There are many costs to drug abuse, both regarding physical and mental health, public safety and the economy. Let’s look at the top 5 ways that drug addiction ruins lives.
1. Drug Addiction Ruins Physical Health
This is the most visible effect of drug addiction. The possible symptoms of addiction vary from one drug to the next, but all almost all addicts suffer a decline in health.
This translates into higher medical costs for everybody. For example, the use of illicit drugs alone costs an estimated 11 billion in health care.This does not even include prescription drug addiction, which is an even bigger problem.
Addicts are more likely than other people to suffer from health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, hepatitis, many forms of cancer and HIV/AIDS.
Drug addiction in mothers can also pose a threat to the health of unborn children. It can also place children at higher risk for developmental disorders.
While these are some of the more notable ways in which drug abuse can harm health, it also takes its toll in more subtle ways. Many types of addiction, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and many prescription drugs promote dental problems, which cause people considerable discomfort. If a person has any preexisting health problems, drug addiction is likely to worsen them.
When discussing the impact of drugs on health, we cannot ignore the rising number of fatalities that occur directly from drug use. In fact, recent statistics show that more people now die from drug overdoses than from car crashes.
There is little question that addiction causes a wide variety of health problems, and puts people at risk for accidental death.
2. Mental and Emotional Disorders
Addiction takes as least as much of a toll on the mind as the body. While there is some debate as to whether drugs cause mental illness, they can indeed worsen the symptoms.
Some addicts begin using drugs because of a mental illness. Unfortunately, when they attempt to self-medicate, they often become addicts and worsen rather than improve their symptoms. For example, someone who is suffering from anxiety may turn to alcohol, marijuana or barbiturates to feel calmer.
Over time, the person will need larger and larger doses of the drug to calm down and will tend to feel more anxious than ever when he or she is not taking the drug. This can be a downward spiral that leads to addiction.
3. Economic Problems
Addiction can have a severely detrimental effect on a person’s ability to earn money. Many people lose their jobs as their addictions worsen.
Even if someone can work, his or her job performance is likely to suffer. This makes it harder to make career progress and is likely to prevent the addict from achieving his or her potential.
In the case of young people, addiction may prevent a teenager from going to college or ever entering the workforce.
Addiction can also lead to debt and lose one’s possessions. Someone who is spending large sums of money on drugs may stop paying bills, leading to stressful circumstances such as car repossessions and home foreclosures.
This can also work in reverse, in that the stress of economic problems can cause
people to turn to drugs. This, however, only makes the problems worse. It creates another expense and reduces the individual’s ability to deal effectively with his or her other problems.
4. Harms Relationships
There is no question that drug addiction can be harmful to relationships. It can lead to marital discord and divorce. It’s also extremely damaging to children in the household.
There is also a strong correlation between drug addiction and domestic abuse. This isn’t to say that all addicts are abusive, but if someone has that tendency drugs can certainly be a factor in bringing this out.
People who are addicted to drugs often have a tendency to become socially isolated. The people with whom they do associate are likely to be addicts as well. As their addiction becomes the focus of their lives, it becomes harder to relate to other people, whether family members, friends or co-workers.
5. Problems that Affect Society
Drug addicts are not only a threat to themselves and their families, but they can also cause problems for other people as well. Users can cause accidents when driving or operating dangerous machinery while under the influence of drugs.
While the dangers of drinking and driving are well publicized, there are also dangerous associated with many other types of drugs, including prescription drugs. Safety is also an issue for workers in industries such as aviation, healthcare, food service and the manufacturing of any products that present potential health hazards.
Addiction is also a major source of violent crime. Some studies reveal that up to 87% of people arrested for any reason test positive for drugs.
Addicts are often motivated to commit crimes to support their habit. It can also cause people, often at a young age, to become part of the criminal subculture of gangs.
Drug Addiction Ruins Lives in Many Ways
There are many ways that drug addiction can harm an individual and others. The problems caused by addiction are sometimes obvious, but often more subtle. This is particularly the case in the early stages of addiction when people are often skilled at hiding the problem from others.
While we can identify the various problems caused by addiction, they often work together to create even bigger problems. For example, people who lose their jobs due to addiction may fall even further into the problem as they now have nowhere to go during the day.
The earlier a person seeks help for the problem, the easier it will be to overcome the addiction. On the other hand, it’s never too late to ask for help, as many long term addicts have found solutions. There are now many effective treatments for drug addiction. If you or someone you care about has a problem with addiction, you should seek help as soon as possible.