Interested in starting your healing journey? Speak with an admissions counselor now
We're Hiring!
Apply for Jobs Now

What are the Consequences of Addiction?

Addiction is a complex condition that touches every aspect of a person’s life. It can damage relationships, steal memories, harm your health, and keep people from living the full, healthy lives they choose. Addiction takes away people’s ability to decide the direction of their lives and robs people of the chance to create the future they want.

While drug and alcohol abuse and dependence may begin with choices, developing addiction means losing control over your substance use. Instead of you in the driver’s seat, your addiction takes the wheel–and the consequences can be life-threatening. 

It’s essential to understand the consequences of addiction and seek treatment if you need it. This guide will outline some of the most significant effects of living with an untreated drug or alcohol addiction. Reach out to the caring team at the Mandala Healing Center to explore our holistic treatment programs or to find support at any stage of your recovery journey. 

What Are the Consequences of Addiction?

Drug and alcohol addiction means losing all control over your substance use. Ongoing, heavy substance abuse can harm your physical, social, and emotional health. Here are some of the most significant consequences of addiction.

Physical consequences 

Drug and alcohol use is hard on all the systems of your body. Living a healthy lifestyle while living with an active addiction is nearly impossible. Some of the most serious physical consequences of addiction include:

  • Lung, liver, kidney, and other organ damage
  • Unbalanced hormones
  • Fertility issues
  • Gastrointestinal issues and disease
  • Bloodborne diseases like HIV and AIDS
  • Cancers of the mouth, stomach, breast, colon, throat, and more
  • Heart disease or damage

People with an active addiction may not be able to care for themselves. They may be malnourished from a lack of healthy foods or regular meals. Many have poor sleep or struggle with insomnia. People who use certain drugs may face severe dental or skin problems. 

Overdosing is a concern for people with active addictions. An overdose can lead to coma, seizures, depressed breathing, or death.

Psychological consequences

Substance use can worsen existing mental health problems or cause people to develop new symptoms of a mental illness. Some of the most common psychological consequences of addiction include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Mood swings
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia

If someone lives with addiction and mental illness, it’s essential to treat both conditions at the same time. Treating only substance abuse is likely ineffective because mental illness symptoms will prevent them from participating in treatment fully. 

Legal consequences

People with active drug and alcohol addictions are more likely to be involved in the legal system than those without. Research shows that drug use plays a role in nearly half of all federal prison sentences.

The legal consequences of addiction include:

  • Hefty fines and legal fees
  • Probation
  • Long jail sentences
  • Suspension of driver’s licenses
  • Community service requirements
  • Restrictions on where you can live
  • Legal history that makes it challenging to find work

Being involved in the legal system can limit your choices of where to live and work for years to come. 

Financial consequences

Living with addiction is expensive. The cost of drugs is only the tip of the iceberg. Legal trouble or health problems stemming from your substance abuse can impact your financial security by draining your savings or putting you into debt. People may also lose their ability to work and limit their employment opportunities in the future. 

Social consequences

Addiction can change how you look, think, feel, and behave. As a person’s addiction grows, substance abuse becomes the center of their life. They may quickly lose interest in the relationships and activities that used to make them happy. They’ll spend most of their time and energy getting, using, and recovering from drugs.

People may also stop spending time with anyone who isn’t also abusing drugs and alcohol. They may quickly find a new friend group and have trouble feeling comfortable with people who don’t use substances. Or, they may lose touch with everyone else and isolate themselves completely. 

As drugs and alcohol become the center of their lives, all other aspects of their life slip away. They may lose their job, become hostile or aggressive toward loved ones, divorce their partners, lose custody of children, and face a loss of their loved one’s support. 

How to Avoid the Negative Consequences of Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction can be complex conditions, but comprehensive treatment can give you a fresh start in life–and the opportunity to regain control over your future. Comprehensive treatment uses evidence-based and holistic therapies to help people identify and heal the roots of their addiction. It gives them the skills and support they need to avoid relapse for the rest of their life.

Treatment plans include:

  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Medications
  • Mental health treatment
  • Holistic therapies like nutrition support, mindfulness, massage, yoga, and more
  • Aftercare planning

Taking the first step in recovery can feel challenging, but the journey can bring you toward a healthier, more fulfilling future. 

Get Help Now

If you or someone you love needs help to overcome addiction, contact the caring team at the Mandala Healing Center to explore our holistic treatment programs. Don’t live the life addiction chooses for you. Get the help you need and deserve today.