Drug addiction can occur in those who abuse illegal substances such as heroin, crystal meth and cocaine; however, it is also a problem for some people who use prescription medication. Whatever the substance being abused, when addiction develops it can have negative consequences in many areas of life. There are just so many reasons drug addiction is bad for the affected individual, but it can also affect the lives of many other people too.
How Does Drug Addiction Affect the Individual?
Mood-altering drugs can have a negative impact on mental and physical health. If you are abusing drugs, then you may have already noticed issues with your health. Different drugs affect the brain and body in different ways, so it is impossible to tell exactly how your health will be affected without knowing the drug you are abusing. Nevertheless, you can be sure that if you continue to abuse drugs, you will suffer from both short- and long-term health problems.
Drug addiction often leads to problems such as heart disease, liver disease, and kidney disease; it can also contribute to the development of various mental health problems including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and psychosis.
Perhaps one of the main reasons drug addiction is bad for the individual is in how it changes his or her personality, which then has a negative impact on relationships with others. While the decision to take drugs in the first place is often a choice, as time goes by, a distinct lack of control develops.
This happens because of the way in which drugs affect the brain. Mood-altering substances stimulate certain areas of this organ typically the dopamine, or feel-good centres. This causes a rush of pleasurable chemicals to be released, making you feel good. This then, in turn, stimulates the reward centre of the brain, making you want to take drugs again and again. But the more you take drugs, the more the brain will adapt and will adjust its release of dopamine chemicals, meaning you get less and less pleasure the more drugs you take.
Many people not getting the desired relief from the drugs they are taking, be it illegal or prescription, will then increase the amount to see if this brings the satisfaction they desire. And so a cycle of abuse begins, often leading to a physical and psychological dependence. At this point, the decision to use drugs becomes less of a choice and more of a compulsion.
When addiction develops, you will use drugs even if you know that this is going to cause problems for you. You will be compelled to use them and will have no control over how much you use. Your preoccupation with drugs will begin to take over and you will have little time for anything else in your life. Your friends and family members will not understand why you are acting this way and they may become angry or resentful towards you. This can then have a profound impact on your everyday life.
How Does Drug Addiction Affect Families?
While it is easy to see how and why drug addiction is bad for the individual, most people do not realise that the harm does not stop there. Addiction is actually referred to as a family illness because of the way in which it causes harm to all family members of those affected.
When one member of the family is affected by drug addiction, it can have lasting implications for everyone else, literally turning their entire world upside down. Watching a loved one struggle with addiction while being unable to help is heart-breaking.
But addiction within a family unit can also cause other problems. Some family members will develop what is known as co-dependency, where they become so obsessed with the addict and his or her life that it begins to interfere with their own health and wellbeing.
Financial problems are also common in families where one member is an addict, particularly if the addict is a parent whose job it is to provide for the rest of the family. Although many addicts can function quite well, most are poor providers, which can leave the rest of the family suffering from neglect. Children can be particularly traumatised by neglect, with many going on to experience deep and lasting emotional problems due to their experience.
Children within the family also have a higher risk of developing an addiction themselves in later life. They see drug abuse as normal, and many will go on to follow in the footsteps of their addicted loved one. Even when they have experienced first-hand the damage that addiction can cause, they will still see drug abuse as a way to cope with stressful life events as this is how they have been brought up.
Drug Addiction and the Wider Community
It is easy to see why drug addiction is bad for the individual and his or her family members but again, the harm caused is not restricted to the family unit; in fact, addiction can have a wider impact on many people.
Addiction affects businesses here in the UK due to lost days and poor performance. This can have an impact on the economy. Nevertheless, the economy can also be impacted by the cost of treating and policing addiction.
It is known that addiction costs the UK taxpayer billions of pounds every single year. It is closely linked to poor health and premature death, which has a negative impact on the National Health Service, while there is also a strong link between addiction and crime.
Substance abuse is responsible for petty theft as well as violent crime, for which police resources are required. There is also the cost involved in prosecuting these crimes. And the list goes on.
Can Addiction Be Treated
Addiction can cause harm in many different areas and when you consider the above, it becomes easier to see why drug addiction is bad for so many lives. But the good news is that it can be treated. If you have developed a drug addiction, you do not have to live with it forever.
Help is available for those affected by addiction and treatment programmes are provided by many different organisations here in the UK. The NHS provides outpatient services for those with addiction, as do many charities. Inpatient programmes tend to be provided by private clinics for the most part.
Overcoming an addiction to drugs typically requires the completion of a detox and rehabilitation programme. Detox will help you break the cycle of abuse while rehabilitation will get to the heart of your problem and will teach you how to live without drugs going forward; both are essential when it comes to long-term recovery.
If you are struggling with a drug addiction and require help to quit, you can talk to us here at UK Rehab. We are available to take your call 24-hours a day and our expert advisors will answer any questions you may have regarding addiction and the steps required to overcome it.
We can provide you with a full assessment of your personal situation, which will give you a greater understanding of what you are dealing with and what your treatment needs are. The results of this assessment will give you a clearer picture of the type of treatment programme that will benefit you the most. If you are ready to get started, we can help you find a provider to suit your needs. Please call us today to find out more about how we can help you overcome drug addiction once and for all.