Effects of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Introductions to nurture issues

What makes drug addiction problems so challenging to face, as opposed to other mental or physical problems...

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 of trouble.

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