Life is full of trials and tribulations, and everyone reacts differently to each challenge they face. Some turn to others for comfort and support, some prefer to keep their problems to themselves, and some turn to things like alcohol or drugs as a way to cope. The latter choice can often lead to an addiction, and rather than help you get through hard times, it can end up creating even more problems for you. Anyone can find themselves struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, so it’s important to understand how it can develop and the negative impacts it can affect your life.
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Addiction can and will impact many areas of your life, but your physical health will likely suffer the most. This is especially true if you have found yourself addicted to alcohol, drugs (both medication and illegal substances), food (binge eating), or some other activity that takes its toll on your physical well-being.
For anyone to stay healthy, your body must get the right nutrition and care to function properly. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration and serious problems with your liver and kidneys, as well as contribute to the risk of heart disease. Substances like cocaine can lead to nasal perforation and an irregular heartbeat amongst other things. The substance you’re excessively consuming will have particular effects on your body, so to get more accurate information on how a specific drug will affect your physical health, you will need to research it or ask your physician.
In addition to how your body feels when you’re taking the drug, when you’re trying to tackle your addiction and become sober, you’ll notice withdrawal symptoms. This can be one of the toughest parts of rehabilitation for a lot of addicts, which is why seeking professional help from facilities like Harris House is important if you want to give yourself the best chance of recovery and avoid relapse.
As well as putting your body through a lot of physical turmoil during your addiction, it can also take a toll on your mental health, too. A lot of addicts have turned to substance abuse as a way of coping with past traumas, or perhaps they have relied on drugs and/or alcohol to make them feel more comfortable in social situations which have led to a dependency.
Part of your recovery as an addict will be addressing what your triggers are for your addiction and getting to the root cause of it. This will enable you to better control your impulses in the future, and find a safer, healthier way to cope with your problems. You may also find that your addiction has caused you to have heightened irritability, especially if you’re craving your next fix. You might also experience mood swings or feelings of guilt and shame. In addition to emotional difficulty, you might also find that you suffer from memory loss and concentration when you’re an addict, as substance abuse can damage brain cells and affect cognitive behavior.
It’s not just your physical and mental health that can be damaged by your addiction. Your relationships with friends and family can also become strained as a result. It’s hard to live as an addict, but it’s also hard to watch someone you care about struggle with addiction as well, particularly if you’re seeing how it is harming their life.
For example, your partner may no longer want you around your kids as you could be a danger to their well-being. Or you might end up frequently asking your friends and relatives for money that you don’t pay back so you can buy more drugs or alcohol or cover other finances that you’re struggling with. Other scenarios which might strain your relationships can include saying things when you’re drunk or high that are hurtful and abusive. All of these things will lead to a breakdown in your relationships, and although you can hopefully make amends if you get clean, some people might not be willing to forgive or forget and you could lose them from your life for good.
Another way addiction can affect your life is by harming your career prospects. Often addicts can struggle to focus while they’re at work, or they might fail to turn up on time or miss days altogether. Some even indulge in their addiction while they are in the workplace. All of these things can result in disciplinary action from your employer, or at worst could mean you lose your job. You might even struggle to find new employment after this if your former employer is not willing to give you a reference, or if your addiction means you’re unable to hold down a job for longer than a few months at a time.
If you end up losing your job over your addiction, this will naturally result in reduced income and could leave you struggling to pay your bills. Even if you do keep a job going as an addict, the amount of money you spend on indulging your addiction can still be hurting your finances. You might find that you struggle to put away any savings, or that keeping up with bills or rent is hard. Or maybe you get deeper into credit card debt or take out loans to fund your habit. If your addiction is a way for you to cope with stress, finding yourself in financial difficulty is likely to encourage you to use it more often, and this is how it can become a vicious cycle.
Addiction is a serious problem that can threaten to destroy your way of life as you know it. It isn’t easy to overcome an addiction, but if you can see it slowly changing your lifestyle for the worse, or you can see this happening to someone else you care about, it’s time to get some help. It might not happen overnight, but you can recover from addiction and move forward to a happier and healthier lifestyle.