Serious Effects Of Substance Addiction To The Individual, Family & Society

Substance addiction does not come alone. It brings many adverse effects for the addicted individuals, their families and the people around them. The negative consequences of drug or alcohol addiction can be life-altering and affect their physical and psychological state.

In the United States, around 21 million people (aged 12 or more) suffer from addiction. A lot is published on the effects of substance addiction on users. However, its impacts on the family and society are often overlooked.  

As much as substance addiction can trouble users, it can be harsher for their families. Addiction shares a unique bond with the society and family, but sadly, most substance abusers overlook that.

This article will shed light on how substance addiction can affect the user, family, and society. So without further ado, let’s dive right into it!


Effects Of Substance Addiction On The User

Drugs can take a significant toll on mental and physical health. The effects of drugs may vary from person to person as it depends on what type of substance a person uses, the delivery method and how much the dosage is.  

Whether your substance usage is moderate or you are using it as per the prescription, you are still prone to short-term effects. For example, if you drink a glass or two of whisky, you feel sleepy, relaxed or uninhibited. Patients on prescribed opioids can feel drowsiness and suffer from constipation.  

The following are some of the most common short term side effects of abusing drugs or alcohol:

  • Inability to coordinate
  • Sense of happiness
  • Change in cognitive behavior
  • Racing heart
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Slurred speech
  • Insomnia
  • Troubled appetite

Consequences of substance addiction on the user are not just limited to the physical state. Drug abuses may also suffer from:

  • Change in appearance
  • Lack of interest in the things you used to like
  • Improved risk-taking behaviors
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Poor performance at work or college
  • Relationship problems
  • Inability to stop using drugs

While these are the short term effects of drug use, it’s long term effects can change a user’s life. Substance abuse over a long time (also known as chronic substance use) affects the user’s brain function and structure. It leaves some serious long-term mental effects such as hallucinations, paranoia, depression, stress, anxiety, panic attacks, improved aggression, constant irritation, and more. It can also impact your memory, concentration and learning abilities.

Long-term effects of drug use heavily depend on the type of drug and substance abuse duration. However, medical experts link the following health issues with chronic substance addiction.

  • Kidney problems
  • Respiratory system problems
  • Substance overdose
  • Liver damage
  • Cardiovascular diseases


Effects Of Substance Addiction On Family Members

When a family is trying to deal with a loved one who struggles from substance addiction, they go through conflicting and intense emotions. This phase is usually so bad that it can break even the strongest relationships.

A family of the addicted individual knows that he or she is not causing problems or hurting them intentionally. They know that its drugs and this empathy make them want to support the addict as much as they can.

But, there’s another side of this coin. Emotional abuse such as manipulation and deceit is common with addicted individuals. Their families can get frustrated because of these frequently occurring emotional abuses. If not cured on time, it can cause severe damage to family ties.  

Like the effects of addiction on the user, the family can also experience short-term and long term effects. It’s common to see the broken families who were formerly loving and peaceful. Typically, conflicts become an everyday thing in such households where one member is under active addiction. It can erode trust within the family and make communication even harder.  

The following are the most common and severe effects of substance addiction on the family:

Increased stress and anxiety in family

  • Loss of trust
  • Financial problems
  • Adverse effects of children
  • Constant confusion and fear
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse

Understanding the severity of this problem, you should take one note here. If you notice someone from your family is addicted to some substance, the very first thing you should do is speak with him or her to seek medical treatment. Be compassionate while talking to them and make sure you speak when they are sober and calm. Show them the facts to understand how bad their addiction can be for them and the entire family.

Introduce them to an alcohol rehab facility. If they do not listen to you, plan an intervention and involve other important family members and therapists.


Effects Of Substance Addiction On Society

Unfortunately, there is a common misconception about the drug addiction that it only affects the user. Too often, this thinking is just an excuse to justify the addiction of their friend, family member or self. Note that drug addiction is not only limited to one, and it is a social phenomenon. It has the power to create a domino effect on all those who surround the addicted individual.

Initially, you may feel that it’s causing harm only to the user, and the society is miles away from any problem from his or her addiction. But that’s not the truth. As much as addiction is destructive for an individual, it is for the community. Addicts often neglect their personal, academic and social responsibilities due to drug abuse, and it negatively affects their work-life, finances and social image.  

Moreover, there is a strong association between drugs and crime. Addiction has a major role in deciding the status (legal or illegal) of the drugs. The government has categorized the most commonly abused drugs that cause addiction, and it is a crime to carry such substances. Furthermore, such drugs can encourage the addicts to commit other crimes when under the influence. In short, drug addicts are more likely to commit crimes as compared to the nonusers.


Final Words

Sadly, addiction is still damaging individuals and the people around them. Once you fall a victim for addiction, it is hard to get your life back on track. With that being said, you are not alone in this battle. Remember to share your addiction problems with your loved ones. Addiction can happen to anyone, and many have gone through this disease.  

During such hard times, all you need is support from family, friends, medical experts or through an outpatient drug rehab. If you are someone from your family suffering from addiction, ask for medical help immediately as it is your first step towards getting your everyday life back.



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Written by HealthStatus Crew
Medical Writer & Editor

HealthStatus teams with authors from organizations to share interesting ideas, products and new health information to our readers.

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