What You Might Be Facing with Addiction

Those who use and abuse drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time will eventually face a litany of negative consequences, which fall into the four following categories:

  • Health
  • Social
  • Legal
  • Financial
Perhaps you’ve already felt the impact of these consequences in one or more areas. If you haven’t, it’s only a matter of time. Let’s break each one down to further understand what you might be up against.

Health Consequences

Did you know that those who have a medically diagnosable chemical dependency only have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 more years (at best)? Undergoing treatment is the best way to get your life back on track and avoid an early death or permanent health damage.

Continued substance abuse will leave you nutrient deficit, for starters. It can also lead to significant weight gain or loss. Most substances alter the user’s appearance in other ways over time, making you almost unrecognizable from before the substance abuse began.

Moreover, substance abuse can sometimes give rise to a mental health disorder that wasn’t present beforehand. Potential disorders include:

  • Anxiety disorders or phobias
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders

Addiction changes your brain and makes you unable to function normally without your substance of choice. It’s also associated with a number of physical and mental health complications not yet mentioned, such as:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Organ damage
  • Cancer
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Memory loss
  • Hormone imbalance

Social Consequences

If you’ve been abusing substances for quite some time, there’s a good chance your relationships with family members and friends aren’t what that once were. That’s because addiction is notorious for straining some relationships and outright fracturing others.

Addiction might cause you to do one of the following things to a loved one:

  • Say something hurtful
  • Physically harm them
  • Steal from them
  • Embarrass them in front of others
  • Ignore or forget their directions/requests
  • Forget to show up where they need you to be
  • Cheat on them (in regards to having a spouse)

Addiction tends to isolate its sufferers over time, as many have exhausted all of the trust that family members and friends once extended to them. Those who do stick by you through your substance use are now enabling you in one way or another, and that’s not healthy for them either.

In short, addiction not only harms your life, but it directly affects those in your social and familial circles, even long after they’ve disassociated with you.

Legal Consequences

It’s no secret that taking drugs or drinking excessively will put you at odds with the law. You may find yourself in police custody or in jail because of one of the following offenses:

  • Possession of illegal drugs
  • Distribution of drugs
  • Driving under the influence
  • Crimes committed under the influence (assault, rape, theft, etc.)

Prison sentences are as long as 40 years if you’re caught in possession of a large quantity of drugs. Jail time, fines and probation all go hand-in-hand with continued substance abuse. You may also face the following legal consequences:

  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Revoked professional licensure, especially if you’re in the public safety or medical field
  • Community service requirements
  • Restrictions on living in certain communities
  • An arrest record that hinders your ability to find a job
  • Loss of voting rights

Financial Consequences

The most obvious financial consequence you could face because of substance abuse would be losing your job, and therefore losing your income stream.

How could addiction lead to losing your job?

  • Poor performance at work
  • Discovered to be under the influence while working
  • Failed drug test
  • Caught with drugs or paraphernalia at work
  • Calling out sick or showing up late too often

If you get arrested for substance-related offenses, your arrest record could make it hard to land another job. If you’re married, your substance use may strain your relationship to the point where you go through divorce, which can be quite expensive.

Not to mention, maintaining a serious drug or alcohol habit will cost you thousands of dollars annually. Can you afford to keep this up year after year?

Here are a few other ways that addiction can drain your finances:

  • Large fines stemming from legal charges
  • Civil suits filed against you
  • Attorney fees while fighting legal charges
  • Debt or bankruptcy
  • Missed payments

You may lose your home and your vehicle and other valuables could get repossessed if you don’t keep up with your payments as you’re trying to support your drug or alcohol use.