Nobody wants to get addicted to a substance. For some people, there is barely even any choice in the matter. There are plenty of people who drink socially and slip into a bad habit. And there are people who get prescribed a drug that gets them dependent on it within a few doses.
Basically, what we are saying is that addiction can happen to anyone. Too often people characterize addiction as the product of bad choices or low IQ. Neither is true.
But that stigma has resulted in people being woefully unaware of what addiction does to them. Some people do not even know whether or not they are addicted. So, whether you fear you have a problem, or know you have a problem, here are 7 ways dependency can hurt you.
Costs You Money
Let’s start with the most practical downside of dependency. It is important to emphasize the monetary damage that addiction does to a person because this is true and observable whether the addict acknowledges their addiction or not.
If you were not spending money on your vice, you would have more money. It is as simple as that. Sometimes addiction can be prevented early by just forcing money to go elsewhere. That way you are stunted from indulging in the addiction before dependency gets really bad.
It Alters Your Mental Faculties
This is a fancy way of saying that addiction makes you less intelligent. Let’s not sugarcoat it—if the “alteration” it made to your mind was good, addiction centers would be hotbeds of scientific advancement. But no, all addiction does is slow and confuse your brain’s neural pathways.
That is, scientifically speaking, what is going on: Your mind literally cannot think of anything but your vice, resulting in your brain guiding every thought to that one point.
Your Job is at Risk
While this is related to the point about money, it is technically separate. You will lose any money you make because you spend it on your vice. But if you indulge too much in your vice, you will find it impossible to do your job. This results in you losing your job, and your livelihood.
It is hard to take this threat seriously until it is too late most times. Many people dislike their jobs and imagine that they would not sweat being fired too much. But always remember that an addict losing their job is just one step closer to an addict being homeless.
Changes in Attitude can Hurt Your Family
Because addiction changes the addict’s decision-making to focus mostly (or in some cases, entirely) on their vice, it can create mood swings that cause tension in your family.
Now, this is particularly painful for one reason that addicts are likely to overlook: Their families will often stick by them. Not all families will endure all things. But many families will stick by the addict in hopes that they eventually choose recovery.
Let’s not mince words here: This hurts the family. Of course, an addict will know this. Many will harbor intense guilt over it. But guilt is nothing without action to change it.
Your Friends Will Get Pushed Away
While family tends to stick by the addict through thick and thin, most friends are not going to be as patient. You can expect many acquaintances to leave when they realize that drugs or alcohol takes priority over them. There are two layers to how friends get pushed away: Attitude and opportunity. Addiction causes a person to undergo mood swings as they get cravings.
This attitude is hard to be around. Opportunity is a matter of being there for your friends. If someone asks you for a ride but you flake out on them because you are high, drunk, or sick as a result of being high or drunk, then they will stop asking you for rides.
Bad Influences will Come into Your Life
As your priorities shift from being a happy person to maintaining a steady supply of your vice, you will become more entangled with people looking to exploit that change in lifestyle.
Your money and time will be spent with or around people who want to see you use your vice more. They may be people who feel validated by seeing you indulge more and more, such as other addicts, or people with a financial stake in your continued addiction, such as dealers.
This is a dangerous road to go down.
Eventually, it Will Probably Kill You
There are a few ways this will happen, but if you do not stop it will definitely happen. Overdose is more and more common every day. Withering away under self-neglect will result in your dying of malnutrition or dehydration. There is also the damage addiction does to your immune system.
That is to say nothing of the inherent danger of dealing with the people we mentioned before. The exploiters who profit off of addiction are more than pushy—if they know where you live and have something to hold against you, they can result in outright blackmail to keep you paying them.
The addiction, the side effects of the addiction, and the environment that the addiction put you in will all kill you. And if it somehow doesn’t, your lifespan will still be much shorter while addicted.
It is not hopeless, however. As dangerous and harmful as addiction is, the path to recovery is always possible. Taking it is not easy, but there are resources to help. Not only that, but basically everything that addiction takes away can be reclaimed over time.
Your friends, your money, your health, and even your natural lifespan. No addiction has to be forever, you just have to know where to go and what to do in order to fight it.
If you or someone you love needs help, then do not be afraid to ask for it. You can find us here: https://www.ascendantny.com/