Published on February 2nd, 2024
Despite how damaging drug and alcohol addiction can be, 94% of people with a substance abuse disorder did not receive any treatment in 2021, the most recent year studied.
Worse still, almost all patients who got treatment at specialty facilities reported believing they didn’t need treatment.
If you’re struggling with an addiction, it’s tempting to think you can manage things on your own.
However, substance abuse comes with significant risks, and it’s crucial to get help as soon as possible to beat the addiction. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest risks of substance abuse.
Health Risks of Substance Abuse
Abusing any substance incurs serious health effects. Short-term effects may include things like slurred speech or vomiting, but there are long-term effects to worry about as well.
These effects will vary based on the substance, but you may have to deal with the following:
- Liver damage
- Heart stress
- Organ damage
- Respiratory distress
- Malnutrition and weight loss
- Oral health decline
- Cognitive impairment
- Pregnancy complications
In the worst-case scenario, drug or alcohol abuse can even cause death.
Psychological Risks of Substance Abuse
Some of the worst side effects of addiction happen in the mind. Mental illness and drug abuse sometimes go hand in hand, altering the way your mind functions.
Substance abuse can cause or worsen conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and psychosis.
PTSD from events related to substance abuse, such as violence, homelessness, and other trauma, can also result.
Addressing any underlying mental conditions with an individualized treatment plan is the best way to deal with substance abuse.
Without treating the addiction and mental illness together, your risk of relapsing increases.
Social Risks of Substance Abuse
Friends and family members will often try to help loved ones dealing with substance abuse once they recognize signs of addiction.
However, substance abuse can make it hard for these people to continue supporting you.
Over time, your personality may change as you begin to focus more of your attention on drugs and alcohol.
Behavioral changes while you’re using may make you harder to interact with. This can put a serious strain on your relationships.
If the problem continues for long enough, loved ones may cut you off or stay out of touch until you agree to get help.
This experience can be isolating, and it can take years to build back trust again.
Financial Risks of Substance Abuse
With an alcohol or drug addiction, you may notice that most of your income goes toward your substance of choice.
This can make it difficult or impossible to pay for essentials like utilities or rent.
Some people who experience substance abuse may steal money for drugs, struggle to hold onto a job, or face homelessness.
Get Help Today
Though this experience can feel isolating, you don’t have to deal with substance abuse alone.
If you’re reeling from the repercussions of drug or alcohol addiction, reach out to your loved ones or seek help from a local treatment center. With the right approach, you can take steps toward a lasting recovery.
If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out our other articles for additional advice.
Feature Image source: Marcelo Leal