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4 Ways Addiction Can Wreck Your Life

Addiction can lead to car accidents, domestic violence, divorce and separation, bankruptcy, and even death.

Addiction is a malediction

It could be alcohol, smoking, ladies of the night, and many other pleasurable ills. When one is addicted to something, he or she will often have difficulty thinking clearly. As people go through life chasing after the next high, nothing else may matter. Blame it all on dopamine, a pleasure-seeking neural chemical released in the prefrontal cocktail, says Maureen Boyle of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

It starts with experimenting. Then people get hooked.

In most instances, one curiously tries alcohol or drugs because their parents or peers do. This experiment awakens the natural reward circuitry of the brain. One experiment can lead to another, and soon, the brain adapts to the high dopamine levels released.

The brain then works to reestablish balance by reducing the number of dopamine receptors. Next, the individual starts to use more of the drug or experience to increase their dopamine level. The consequences can be severe:

1. Addiction exposes people to hundreds of health risks

When people are addicted to something, they may start to become negligent about their own health. Money for food is often diverted to drugs, alcohol, and other addictive pleasures.

As the state of their wellness deteriorates exteriorly, internally, the drugs and alcohol will be messing up their organs in several ways. The risks include liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular diseases and heart attack, colon cancer, diabetes, gout, and many others.

2. Addiction destroys a person's mind

Sweet turns sour too fast. For example, after having too much to drink, people may experience blurred vision, slowed thinking, slowed reaction time, and slurred speech. That often leads to impaired driving and road accidents or occupational accidents at work.

Continued use of addictive substances can also have long-lasting impacts on the brain. Heavy drinkers often develop a brain deficit that can persist long after they attain sobriety.

3. Addiction can change who people are

People who are addicted to alcohol or another substance may concentrate almost completely on their next source of high. Sober thoughts are often thrown out of the window, including morals, values, and empathy.

Domestic violence issues, anger, and resentment may result. A loving husband or wife may become abusive. Career loss often follows next because the addicted person can no longer perform well at work. Sometimes, friends and family distance themselves. The resultant loneliness often leads to depression, which could then lead to suicide.

4. Addiction destroys marriages

When a spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, he or she may become irritable and irresponsible. People may step out of the marriage and have flings or become utterly incapable of performing well in the marital relationship.

The partner of the addicted loved one can feel lonely, angry, and distraught. Addiction can cause divorce and separation. The suffering is often borne by the marital partner and by the children who may find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

In child custody issues, for example, addiction may lead the courts to reverse a child custody ruling or restrict the addicted parent's contact with the children. Children may end up with a parent who doesn’t care or bounce from one foster home to another.

The addicted person could also end up in jail. Possession and use of certain drugs are prohibited by law. When they are high, addicted people might also break the law and hurt others in many ways just to score their next high. Eventually, many addicts end up in jail.

Addiction destroys lives in unthinkable ways, but it is treatable. Family and friends can champion the healing process through detox, rehab, and counseling.