Over time, regular substance use/abuse can have its affect on life. Although it might not seem that way at the start, the effects on one’s relationships are immense. It can be interesting because the only thing a person is doing is regularly drinking alcohol. And you might think from the start – how can that be so damaging?
However, the regular use of a substance creates changes in the brain. It creates the brain to produce more dopamine and more pleasure inducing chemicals that make the body crave those chemicals again and again. In fact, this craving can become so strong that the drug or alcohol becomes the sole focus of a person’s life. He or she might neglect other family and work responsibilities in order to drink or use drugs. What was once perhaps a casual experience of having a glass of wine after work can, with time, turn into a full blown alcohol addiction.
The road between that first glass of wine and a destructive addiction can produce all sorts of changes along the way. Substances change a person psychologically, emotionally, and physically. Some of these changes might be subtle and some might be obvious and noticeable by friends and family. The following are examples of the types of changes that can take place with regular substance use:
- Spending time with new friends.
- Avoiding spending time at home.
- Avoiding answering their phone.
- Making excuses.
- Telling lies.
- Denying their own behavior.
- Stealing money.
- Avoiding contact with others.
- Exhibiting aggressive behavior.
- Becoming more anti-social.
- Feeling more and more exhausted.
- Feeling more and more depressed.
The above may not apply to everyone. However, some of the above behaviors can be typical among those that begin to use drugs or drink regularly. Of course, chronic drug use and drinking can then bring on larger problems. When the above mentioned behaviors become more and more consistent, they can begin to affect one’s career, family, and friends. It’s easy to begin to lose track of responsibilities and not pay the rent for example. Or worse, get fired from a job and not be able to pay the rent.
Chronic drug use, especially when using more severe ones, can begin to create psychosis. Having a psychotic experience is having a break in reality. Someone might begin to experience hallucinations, delusions, lapses in attention, memory impairment, and incoherent speech.
Of course, once these larger behavioral and life changes begin to happen as a result of drinking or drug use, this might be a strong message that it’s time to get support. Often, someone reaches “rock bottom“, the bottom of their life, before waking up to the necessity for help. If you or someone you know is drinking or using drugs on a regular basis, contact a physician or a mental health provider for assistance. Doing so could save a life.
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