The Consequences of Drug Abuse
There are a myriad of negative consequences of drug abuse. These affect not just the individual, but their families and everyone that they regularly come in contact with.
The most visible and all-encompassing of the negative consequences of drug abuse is dependency. As addiction forms, your connections to society are increasingly severed. The more that your drug of choice becomes the central focus of your life, the more you sacrifice everything else – your career, family, friends, romantic relationships, eventually even your possessions and home.
Whatever temporary pleasant feelings that drug use induce are paid for tenfold by the physical toll they take on your body over time. Negative effects on your health are perhaps the most serious of the consequences of drug abuse, as many of them cannot be undone. Alcohol can induce cirrhosis of the liver, a variety of cancers, gastritis, hepatitis, and ulcer disease. Amphetamines and cocaine induce tooth grinding, panic attacks and skin abscesses, and can also kill users in a variety of ways – heart attacks and strokes due to accelerated heart rate, major psychotic episodes in which the user loses control of their faculties, chronic insomnia, even acute lead poisoning from improperly cooked meth. Hallucinogens create a loss of touch with pain receptors in the body and a psychotic state. If carrying an unborn child, drug abuse can cause birth defects. And with every type of drug there is always the threat of overdose and death.
The Threat of illegal drug abuse.
Legal and Social
Drug abusers can quickly find their life opportunities being limited. Simple possession of relatively small quantities of many drugs can be a felony that takes years off a person’s life in prison, and then limits their employment and housing opportunities when they get out. Possession can cause loss of federal benefits for up to a year, while trafficking can cause loss of benefits for a potential five years to life depending on the severity of the crime. A DUI can remove your right to drive. You may not be able to attend college or take out student loans, or you may lose existing credentials or certifications. And one of the understated consequences of drug abuse is the effect on your social life and social isolation.
The consequences of drug abuse are far-reaching, yet often difficult to see until the abuse has snowballed into a major problem that threatens to completely ruin the user’s life. The good news is that even if you are already on the brink, it’s possible to come back from it and beat addiction with compassionate treatment and a strong support network. There is no “one size fits all” answer to treatment, but a recovery counselor can help in determining what the first step should be.