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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nack

How does addiction impact an individual’s life?

Addiction causes thousands of deaths each year in the United States and has a profound impact on millions of people. Just in case you are new to this topic, addiction is defined as a “chronic dysfunction of the brain system that involves reward, motivation, and memory”(Tyler, 2018). Because of the way brains function, someone who has a substance use disorder will be compelled to continually use a substance or substances despite there being serious and harmful consequences to doing so. Since 1990, drug overdose deaths in the United States have more than tripled ("Addiction statistics," 2022). In addition to death, there are many other health risks to addiction such as lung disease, heart disease, stroke, or cancer. Certain drugs come with their own health risks as well. An example is methamphetamines can cause severe dental problems. Inhalants may damage or destroy nerve cells in the brain as well as in other parts of the body. People with substance use disorders are also at a higher risk for infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, infection of the heart and its valves, and skin infections. It can trigger or worsen mental health issues as well ("Addiction and health," 2020).

Along with health risks, there are many other non-health related consequences to addiction, the first of which is professional/occupational repercussions. It is likely that this area will be impacted by addiction, as it can make it much harder to maintain concentration while using a substance, and if the employer learns of the addiction it may cause one to lose their job. If the addiction has led to past incarceration or legal issues it may also make it more difficult to find employment. Another area impacted is social effects. Addiction can cause emotional and psychological changes that can lead to disagreements and tension in relationships. Over time this can lead

to divorce and/or social isolation. There are also legal issues that can result from one having an addiction. This could include incarceration, probation, an arrest record, monetary fines, and suspension of one’s driver’s license. Addiction can lead to financial strain, given that the substances themselves can cost so much and that the aforementioned issues can be expensive to handle. There are also physical dangers such as suicide, homicide, and car accidents that people with addictions are at an increased risk for ("Non-health consequences of addiction," 2019). In sum, addiction has a widespread impact on people that can cause irreversible and lasting damage.


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