By Beau Black
How does addiction affect you? Substance use disorder impacts all of us, directly or indirectly; the effects of addiction may be physical, relational, financial, societal. The effects of addiction on those around us like family, friends, and co-workers are wide-ranging, but what about its effects on ourselves? They can seem overwhelming. And because we’re all affected in one way or another, the process of addiction recovery is, indeed, for everyone.
“Recovery is for Everyone” is the theme of this year’s National Recovery Month, an observance that highlights the importance of dealing with addiction and promotes the variety of treatment options available. It also celebrates the progress of those in the midst of recovery. According to the National Association for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors, National Recovery Month reinforces the positive message that, “Behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.”
Behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.
Who Struggles with Addiction?
- 11.7% of Americans (or 31.9 million people) over age 12 use illegal drugs; of these, nearly a quarter have an opioid disorder (addiction to opioid-based pain killers or heroin)
- 14.8% Americans over 12 have an alcohol use disorder
- 22% of males used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs in the last year
- 17% of females used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs in the last year
- People who try drugs at a younger age (under 13) are much more likely to struggle with addiction than those who try them later
One of the most public fronts in the nation’s battle against substance addiction has been prescription opioid abuse, which has been described as an epidemic. Opioid misuse is currently the No. 1 reason for calls at poison control centers around the country. Overprescription of opioids for pain control is to blame for the bulk of this crisis. Fortunately, new regulations and smarter prescribing guidelines have reduced the number of prescriptions for opioid pain killers.
Those most likely to deal with substance abuse, according to Healthline.com, are individuals who have:
- Close friends or family who abuse substances
- Easy access to drugs (perhaps from the friends or family)
- Mental health struggles like depression and anxiety
- Experienced physical or sexual abuse
- Suffered other types of trauma
The Varied Effects of Addiction
The effects of addiction on the individual can impact us on seemingly every front of life. The long list of physical effects of addiction include increased risk of heart and liver problems and cancer, brain damage, sexual dysfunction, miscarriage, insomnia, dental problems, and of course, overdose.
The potential psychological effects of addiction include mood swings, memory problems, anxiety, paranoia, confusion, loss of impulse control, violent behavior, and depression. And addiction can also bring with it legal problems, encounters with the criminal justice system, financial problems, relationship problems, employment problems … the lists go on and on. They create a bleak picture — one that can end with loss of freedom or even death — but you don’t have to stay stuck with these consequences.
What is Recovery?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” The organization identifies four crucial areas that support addicts in recovery during the treatment process:
Beyond just abstaining from substance use, it’s making healthy choices for our physical and mental wellbeing
Securing a safe and stable place to live
Having responsibilities that give our lives meaning and a reason to get up in the morning, whether it’s working, volunteering, or home/school duties
Forming relationships with family and friends who support and help us move toward our goals
The effects of addiction on the individual can impact us on seemingly every front of life.
How to Get Help
Don’t wait until the effects of your addiction overwhelm you. If you’ve decided it’s time to begin to deal with your addiction and uncover its causes, The Meadows offers a range of programs and resources to help. Start or continue your journey into recovery with us today.