Drugs Can Ruin Lives: 8 Consequences of Not Getting the Treatment You Need
It can start out small – a party with your friends, a joke, just a quick hit to fit in, or even an injury resulting in an addictive prescription from your doctor. Then you want to try it again, and again, telling yourself you can stop at any time but always thinking about your next score. You’re hooked, and you don’t even realize it.
During this slow slide into drug addiction, you probably are not even noticing how your new “hobby” is affecting the people around you and your own life. If you are in school, your grades are sliding. If you have a job, your work output is diminishing. You may argue, but it is part of the downhill slope that is drug addiction.
If you don’t recognize the pattern and symptoms early enough, or you refuse to acknowledge that they are there and don’t get the treatment that you need, you will soon be dealing with many other consequences of your choices, and none of them are good.
8 Consequences of Not Getting the Treatment You Need
Your choice – every time – to use that drug is resulting in consequences that you may not even be aware of. Some of these effects are physical and only impact you; some effect everyone around you, including your family and closest friends.
It’s important for you to understand that if you are taking an illicit substance, you are not the person you should be turning to for advice. It is too difficult to be honest with yourself, and too easy to turn away from the truth when it gets too hard to handle.
You need to be fully aware of the potential consequences that your choice to use drugs will have, and be willing to take responsibility for those effects, or get yourself treatment before these effects get worse.
- Starting with you, what are some of the physical effects drugs have on your brain?
Addiction is a disease that affects your brain. Think about it. Do you feel differently when you take that drug? Obviously, you do, or you wouldn’t want to continually feel that high. That’s because it produces a chemical reaction in your brain that, over time, actually changes how your brain works.
Your brain has a reward system that drugs target by sending a chemical called dopamine in there. Dopamine is the pleasure chemical, so the drugs “tell” your brain that you are feeling good. Your brain is wired to want to feel that intense, high feeling, so you continue to look for it, often through negative, risky actions like drug use, sex, and dangerous activities.
But gradually, the more you feed your brain that dopamine, the more it gets used to it. You need to engage in these risky behaviors more often in order to feel that high. You need more drugs. Nothing else compares. While you are chasing that high, everything else in your life is suffering, including your judgment, decision-making, memory, and ability to learn.
- Beyond the severe damage to your brain, you will experience physical effects as well.
Drug abuse can affect every system of your body. These effects can be both short- and long-term. Short term effects can be as minor as changes in your appetite, alertness, and heart rate, or as serious as heart attack, stroke, psychotic episodes, overdoses, and death – even after one use.
Long term effects can be felt in chronic and often deadly cardiovascular effects, respiratory problems, kidney and liver damage, hormonal changes, prenatal problems, and even cancer.
Think about it – you are allowing synthetic chemicals into your body, over and over. There is going to be a lot of collateral damage that you aren’t seeing at the surface.
- Your immediate circle is going to feel the effects, too.
While you are chasing your next high (because your brain is telling you to), you aren’t enjoying the things that used to make you happy. These things may be something minor like your video games or TV, or something huge like your family.
Those who are in a relationship with you are already noticing something different about you. Maybe you are not interested in going out with your friends anymore, or attending your child’s baseball games. They’re hurt and confused, and eventually, if you don’t get some help, they’re going to get angry.
At some point, to protect themselves from more hurt and rejection, they are going to pull away and leave you. And it will be your fault for not getting treatment.
- Your finances are going to suffer.
Regardless of whether you think you are putting on a stellar performance at your job, eventually your output is going to start declining. Your drug use is going to take a physical toll on you, causing you to call in sick. At some point, you will probably be demoted, lose responsibilities, or even get fired.
If money is not an issue currently, it will be while you are spending more and more trying to get your next fix. Who are you getting the money from? Your parents? Spouse? Family? They are likely giving you their hard-earned money that was ear-marked for an important bill, like their rent.
Over time, enabling you is going to cost them dearly, possibly getting them kicked out of their homes or keeping them struggling to make ends meet because they love you, and you love drugs.
- You may become aggressive or even violent.
Addictive substances react differently on an individual basis because they affect your brain. Certain drugs can activate processes in your brain that are aggression-specific, giving you the “okay” that violence is permissible.
Before drugs, you may have had a firm anti-violence stance. But drugs have a way of talking to your brain, and then your brain gets confused and you start to demonstrate aggression and self-talk your way into making excuses for yourself. Eventually, you “learn” that violence is okay, and you become aggressive to those you care about, hurting them physically and mentally and pushing them away.
Before this dangerous consequence happens, you should seek treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient.
- You may be creating a long-term genetic cycle of abuse.
Studies show that there is a genetic link in drug abuse. Maybe you are part of an already-created cycle, or maybe you are starting it yourself. It is important for your future generations that you break the chain.
Genetic traits, or “addiction genes,” in an individual can increase the probability that if they start using drugs, they will become dependent on them. When you use drugs, you are rewiring your brain’s reward centers in such a way that is passed down to your children and grandchildren.
Heredity is a big factor in drug addiction in families, but so is the environment they are in. Children who see drug addiction at a young age are more likely to turn to drugs for self-medication later in life. Adults who grew up in homes where addictions were present by at least one parent were eight times more likely to develop a drug dependency themselves.
If you don’t want your children and grandchildren to fight drug addictions, you must get treatment.
- You will lose control of yourself.
Your choices to use drugs begin as voluntary, but the more you use them, the less choice you have. Most likely, early in your drug use, you would exhibit common sense thoughts such as, “I’ll never let my children down by missing their big play,” and, “I’m just going to use this recreationally – I can still do my best at work. I’ll never let drugs interfere with my job.”
Soon, though, those are no longer your choices. You lose control of any sort of common sense and logic, because the drugs have taken over your brain and rewired your decision-making and judgment neural pathways.
Who you used to be is no longer who you are, unless you get treatment.
- Ultimately, you will die.
Deaths resulting in overdoses from drug addiction, or underlying causes of drug use, are steadily rising. In fact, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for people under 50 years old in America.
This is a global problem, though. In England, there were 3,674 poisoning deaths in 2015, the highest on record. Cocaine use resulted in 320 deaths that year, almost one person every day. Heroin and morphine use resulted in 1,201 deaths over three years – over one person a day.
Whether you overdose, experience a psychotic breakdown, or end up with complications of your body’s systems that result in serious consequences, eventually, if you continue to use drugs, you will die from that drug use.
Get Treatment Today
Time is not your friend. You can’t put off today what you might not be here, or want to do, tomorrow.
The consequences of your drug use are not just affecting you – they are affecting every person that you care about. You can find information on your possible treatment options and more at www.arcproject.org.uk and many other drug abuse informative sites. Get help today.