People with addiction often have one or more associated health problems, which may include lung or heart disease, stroke, cancer, or mental health conditions. Imaging scans, chest x-rays, and blood tests can show the harmful effects of long-term drug use on the whole body. Anyone who has experienced the power of addiction knows how deeply it affects every area of life. Addiction destroys the quality of life of everyone within reach.
From personal relationships to job security, finances and health, substance abuse leaves its mark everywhere. Family members can see their family members suffer the side effects of drugs or become enraged when they are under the influence of alcohol. Others may see family members lose weight quickly and become unrecognizable. Some may not hear from a loved one for an extended period of time, only to find out that they are living on the street or have suffered a fatal overdose.
Such shocks can cause a family member to suffer severe trauma or develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as codependent behaviors in response. Clinically known as substance use disorder, drug abuse or addiction is caused by regular intake of addictive substances. However, not everyone who uses illegal or prescription drugs will develop an addiction; some people are more prone to addiction than others. For more information and to find an addiction services office near you, call the 24-hour addiction helpline.