Addiction is a physical and/or psychological dependence, and compulsive engagement of a substance or behavior that creates disorder and chaos in one’s life, and the lives of those connected to him or her. Most often, addiction is associated with drugs and alcohol because of the obvious signs of unmanageability resulting from the abuse of these substances. These signs are those most apparent to the public, or those who do not personally know the addict. For example:
- Drug and alcohol addiction often leads to criminal consequences such as DUI, possession, and public intoxication charges.
- Intoxication from drugs and alcohol is often noticeable in a user’s appearance and behavior. The appearance of intoxication can lead to refusal of service at almost any business, and the criminal charge of public intoxication.
- The long-term physical effects of many drugs can be instant indicators of addiction, such as sunken cheeks or tooth and gum decay (known as meth mouth) resulting from methamphetamine addiction. Also track marks on the extremities of intravenous drug users can be a clear sign of addiction.
In addition to the obvious signs of unmanageability with drug and alcohol addiction, there are signs that are less noticeable to everyday people, but still very clear to those who are closely connected to the addict.
Most often noticed by the inner circle of addicts is the increase in neglect for family, friends, and responsibilities that is inherent to addiction. As tolerance grows and withdrawal symptoms come on faster, the daily pattern for addicts becomes one of ensuring they have enough drugs or alcohol to sustain their addiction. With this daily hustle, addicts will no longer have the time and motivation to keep up with their responsibilities to themselves, their jobs, and their family.
Another indicator of drug and alcohol addiction is financial struggle. Regardless of the financial resources, when an addict ignores his or her responsibilities for constantly maintaining enough drugs and/or alcohol to sustain addiction, finances will undoubtedly suffer. Not only does it cost money to obtain drugs and alcohol, but the inevitable increase in tolerance for these substances requires higher amounts to feel “okay”, then more to get the “high.”
Since drugs and alcohol are toxic to the human body, the effects of prolonged and frequent use cause eventual and severe problems. In addition to the internal damage done to organs, blood, and the brain, most drugs and alcohol have notably negative effects. This damage can result from the substance itself, and/or the behaviors associated with its effects. For example:
- Methamphetamine use causes tooth and gum decay, no matter how it is administered to the body. Methamphetamine can also create a delusional effect in users that often causes them to pick at the skin on their face and body.
- Heroin users, although they may start using by snorting the drug, eventually evolve to intravenous users, which creates “track marks” on their arms, legs, feet, hands, and neck where needles have been inserted for faster effects of the drug. To avoid detection of their use, many heroin addicts will wear long sleeves and pants throughout the year, even on the warmest of days.
- All drugs, including alcohol, opiates, stimulants, and benzodiazepines, cause a great deal of uncoordinated behavior, no matter how “put together” an addict may feel he or she is. This intoxicated state causes accidents and unsafe behavior that often results in injuries and damage to property. Whether it’s an intoxicated fit of rage, stumbling and falling, or driving under the influence, damage is an inevitable result of drug and alcohol addiction.
Like drug and alcohol addiction, behavioral addiction causes disarray and chaos in the lives of those addicted to such behaviors as:
Although these behaviors are normal, and done in moderation for most people, those who suffer from addiction to them find themselves caught in the same turmoil as those addicted to drugs and alcohol. As addiction is classified as a compulsive repetition of a behavior or substance, anything can become dangerous without moderation and responsibility.
There are a number of effects of behavioral addiction that are very similar to drug and alcohol addiction. The main difference in the effects between substance and behavioral addictions are the physical indicators; however, the psychological and functional damage is equally apparent and dangerous.
A Forever Recovery Can Help
When considering the devastation and disorder created by addiction of any kind, it is important to understand that addiction is a progressive and deadly condition that takes lives every day. Addiction can be treated, and addicts can reclaim their lives with an effective addiction treatment program that is tailored to the individual needs of each person. This is why at A Forever Recovery, we customize treatment plans for each individual, based on his or her chosen recovery path, preferences, and belief system. No matter what the addiction or it’s severity, we can help.
If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, please call us so one of our trained counselors can talk with you today about how we can develop an individualized plan for empowerment to overcome addiction and live life as it is meant to be lived – free from the chaos of addiction.