the Consequences of Addiction

Addiction is one the of most difficult chronic diseases to overcome. It is characterized by the overwhelming effect it has on the functions of the brain and body. One in seven Americans over  the age of twelve struggle with a substance problem, including addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs. The actual consequences of addiction lie far beyond the physical damage most people are aware of. In addition to damaging your body, abusing substances like prescription drugs can damage your career and your familial and personal relationships.

Prescription Drugs

Becoming addicted to prescription drugs is not difficult to do. In fact, they are the third most commonly abused category of drugs–ahead of cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. If you have been given a prescription and do not take the recommended dosage, you risk becoming dependent on the drug. It becomes expensive to continue doctor’s visits to keep the prescription up to date. Or worse, you may feel inclined to resort to illegal activities to obtain the drug. The types of prescription drugs that are most often abused include pain relievers, sedatives, and stimulants. One of the more well-known pain relievers is an opioid called oxycodone. While it does induce a euphoric state, oxycodone is very dangerous. It slows breathing to risky levels resulting in serious addiction, accidental overdose, and can be fatal when used in combination with alcohol. Some drug users choose prescription drugs like oxycodone because they believe them to be safer than illegal street drugs. This is a misconception, however, as prescription drugs when abused can be just as fatal as any other drug.

Drugs in the Workplace

Drug use and abuse in the workplace is a taxing and life-threatening problem. An addicted employee who comes to work high risks their life, and the lives of everyone around them. Especially in a manual labor or factory setting, drug dependence in the workplace can lead to fatality, accidents, absenteeism, and lost productivity. A worker who is on drugs during work hours might not be aware of their surroundings or in complete control of their body. Research shows that 70 percent of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs are employed. Also, workplaces often conduct drug tests for employees. However, for a user of prescription drugs, how long does oxycodone stay in your system? If you have been using oxycodone, it will remain active in your system for around twenty hours. This means you will not be able to conduct your job in a safe manner until it is all out of your body. Even then, it may still show up on a drug test. The best solution for addicts in the workplace is for them to receive the counseling and help they need to perform their duties without the necessity of the drug.

Drugs Affect Your Family

When one becomes addicted to a substance, the effects of addiction do not end with themselves. Addiction affects an entire family, and even personal relationships and friendships. Family and friends must watch as, over time, the addiction takes hold and causes diseases to develop in the body. If the addiction leads to fatality, they must struggle with making sense of it all and knowing they did everything they could to help. Also, it is becoming more prevalent in research to see adolescents and teenagers abusing prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinet. This may be due to the fact that someone in the family is struggling with addiction, and the teen is mimicking behaviors. Overall, an addict tends to drag loved ones down into their bog with them. The promising news is that loved ones are the most apt to help an addict with recovery.

Help for Addicts

Family members or friends who show an addict they are not alone can be the best first step toward treatment. For someone who is struggling with addiction, it can become the norm to feel alone and helpless. Those who know the addict best, however, can point them in the direction of a new start. Often, addicts are unable to begin treatment on their own–even if they wanted to stop using, they couldn’t because of the way the drug changes the chemicals in their brain. With a compassionate push from someone who loves them, addicts are more apt to agree to treatment and maintain the road to recovery. Knowing they aren’t alone can be medicine in itself, and could make the difference between finding health again and fatality.

All in all, the consequences and risks of addiction far outweigh the temporary feelings a drug can cause. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t wait–get the help you need right away.