Drug and alcohol abuse manifests itself in a variety of ways.
Many people operate under the assumption that experimentation is harmless. Others begin abusing their prescriptions and find themselves on a harrowing spiral downward. Regardless of how one begins abusing drugs or alcohol, the choices made early in life can limit opportunities in the future. Drug and alcohol abuse negatively affects the lives of individuals abusing substances. It also negatively impacts the lives of those around them..
- Education. Studies link drug and alcohol use to poor academic performance. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), 25 percent of students report academic problems, such as lower grades and poor attendance, related to alcohol use. The temptation to use drugs and/or alcohol can often be greater for students who may be using them as a means of alleviating social discomfort in an effort to better relate to peers. In addition, the use of “study drugs” has become increasingly popular. Although there is no evidence to support the belief that study drugs enhance academic performance, students may experience temptation to use. Ultimately, that decision (and use) will worsen their school performance.
- Employment. Education and employment often go hand-in-hand. Drug and alcohol use directly correlates with poor academic performance and often limits one’s opportunities in the future. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse negatively impacts an individual’s ability to perform the duties required of them at their job. From missing work to being late and ultimately, losing jobs, drug use and employment don’t mix. In addition, social media is often used as a method of investigating potential candidates. Party pictures and evidence of illegal activities can damage an individual’s reputation and professional opportunities.
- Home life. Drug and alcohol use can also damage relationships at home. Families are often negatively impacted by the effects of drug. They may feel helpless, angry, embarrassed or ashamed. They might even begin to exclude the individual struggling with addiction from family and social gatherings.
- Relationships. Relationships with family members are not the only ones damaged by the effects of drugs. Drug and alcohol use can often cause an individual to act more selfishly and become oblivious to the needs of those around them. Their attention is focused solely on obtaining and using drugs, further worsening their own condition as well as their relationships. Substance abuse often increases the likelihood of domestic violence and erratic behavior.
- Health and well-being. Drug and alcohol abuse negatively impacts both physical and mental health. Individuals who abuse drugs may no longer invest time in their personal hygiene. Different types of substances can put individuals at risk for a variety of side effects. Further, substance abuse can lead to the development of co-occurring mental health disorders whose symptoms are worsened by continued use. In addition to a variety of long-term health consequences associated with abuse, prolonged use of drugs or alcohol can lead to fatal consequences.
- Personality. Drug and alcohol abuse can physically alter the brain and change the way it functions. This is largely dependent on the type of substance used and an individual’s psychological history. In addition, substance abuse causes individuals to act differently: They may become secretive, develop paranoia, have lower self-esteem or lack trust in others. As addiction worsens, the psychological side effects of substance abuse can dramatically change an individual’s personality.
- Financial issues. Drug and alcohol addiction can cause financial issues, both in the cost to feed the addiction and the cost of treatment. Addiction often causes individuals to lose their jobs. Addiction can cause individuals to become desperate… Desperate enough to do anything to get their next fix. They will even try to rationalize irrational behavior to get their desired result. Addicts may even resort to stealing and other criminal activities to support their addiction.
Drug and alcohol abuse almost always negatively impacts an individual’s hopes and aspirations for the future. Choosing to abstain from drugs and alcohol early can help people avoid making mistakes that may haunt them throughout their lives.