What makes drug addiction problems so challenging to face, as opposed to other
mental or physical problems?
Drug abuse affects the person’s life in many ways, including health, finances
and stability. But it also affects the entire family, friends, colleagues-- and
even the community.
What’s more, the strong denial and rationalization of the person using drugs
makes it extremely difficult to get help, and can make concerned family members
feel like they are the problem.
Health, Employment and Crime
Those who abuse drugs have a greater risk for health problems down the road,
from neglecting their own health to risk of infectious disease like hepatitis or
HIV from sharing needles.
Heavy drug use directly affects health as well, including lung disease,
arthritis, heart problems, brain damage and death from overdose. Productivity at
work often suffers, and eventually trouble keeping a job or even homelessness
can occur. The urge to use is so powerful that criminal activity for money or
more drugs can be a strong temptation.
Staying addicted: Denial and rationalization
One of the most powerful effects of drug abuse and addiction is denial. The urge
to use is so strong that the mind finds many ways to rationalize drug use.
Someone abusing drugs may drastically underestimate the quantity of drugs they
are taking, how much it is costing them, and how much time it takes away from
their family and work. They may lash out at concerned family members, making the
family feel like they are exaggerating and overstating the problem. What makes
this so frustrating for family members is the person abusing drugs often
sincerely believes they do not have a problem, and can make the family member
feel like the dysfunctional one.
This denial and rationalization can lead to increased problems with work,
finances and relationships. The person abusing drugs may blame an “unfair boss’
for losing her job, or a ‘nagging wife’ for why he is increasingly going out
with friends to get high. While work and relationship stresses happen to
everyone, an overall pattern of deterioration and blaming others may be a sign