Addiction runs the gamut in terms of the consequences that come with it. The consequences behind addiction can be emotionally devastating and deadly. To understand addiction consequences, it’s important to recognize that addiction is a disease of the brain. In 2011, The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) released a new definition of addiction highlighting that addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioral problem. With that, addiction is vast and includes more than just alcohol and drugs. One can be addicted to prescription pills, shopping, self-harm, food, the internet, sex, gambling, smoking, love or any other activity that causes uncontrollable behaviors.
Addiction consequences can fall into the following categories which can typically feed on each other:
- Financial and Legal
- Physical & Neurological
In the social realm, relationships between loved ones change, which may include a divorce or separation as well as the loss of friendships, or termination of employment.
These emotional outcomes can trigger financial stresses as well. If arrested due to drugs or alcohol, one may need to hire a lawyer, pay fines and/or complete their punishment behind bars. This piggybacked with the social addiction consequences can cause an expensive financial and legal mess. Financial stresses can also come about by uncontrollable shopping and gambling addictions, which can lead to the impoundment of cars and foreclosure of homes.
Let’s not forget the physical and neurological addiction consequences that accompany addiction.
Neurologically, addiction can bring about anxiety, depression, confusion, paranoia, aggression, and more. Physically speaking, alcohol, sex, self harm and drug addiction can have damning consequences on the body. Lung cancer, gastronomical complications, infections, liver and kidney damage, seizures, brain damage, cancer and HIV and AIDS are just a few.
Addiction is progressive disease, meaning it gets worse in time and without help.
If you or someone you love is struggling with any addiction, reach out. Residential addiction treatment centers that offer detox programs can help. There are many 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and more that can offer help as well. Here you will find caring individuals willing to share their experiences, strength and hope to help to get you on the right path towards a healthy and happy life.
Miller, M. (2011, August 15). Definition of Addiction. Retrieved October 1, 2015.