Addiction is a destructive and debilitating illness with effects that are far-reaching and all-consuming. It can take over our entire lives and affect everything from our daily circumstances to our inner perception of self. What are some of the effects of addiction, both ones we can see and those that are invisible?
Some obvious visible effects of addiction are the catastrophic circumstances it can create in our lives. We lose our jobs. Our partners leave us. Our friends stop talking to us. We go bankrupt. We lose our homes. Our lives can end up looking nothing like they did when we first started using. We can feel like our lives took a sharp turn for the worst, and we don’t know how to climb our way out of the hole we’ve fallen into. We can feel like our addictions have caused us to blow up our entire lives and destroy everything we care about.
These drastic results can cause us to experience depression, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive thinking, and other mental health issues, all of which can be invisible to everyone but us. We may suffer for years in silence with no one knowing how much pain we’re in. Many of us put on a brave face and never communicate to other people exactly what we’re going through. We can be consumed with worry and self-doubt, deep insecurity and self-hatred. We can find it impossible to relax or meditate, take care of ourselves or make time for self. These invisible effects can be just as damaging to our psyche and our relationship with self as the more visible effects are to our life circumstances.
When we’re dealing with the effects of addiction, many of us tend to retreat inward and isolate ourselves from other people, out of fear of being discovered, out of embarrassment, or out of guilt. We feel so ashamed of ourselves that we remove ourselves from our social circles and distance ourselves from our relationships. We often will deny to other people, and to ourselves, that we have a problem. Because our addiction is so severe, however, we now have to isolate ourselves in order to hide it and keep up the façade that we’re not suffering as much as we actually are. Our self-isolation can exacerbate our depression, causing us to seek solace in our addictions. We can find ourselves falling into cycles of using, trying to quit on our own, relapsing and falling prey repeatedly to our addictions. While these effects are often invisible to other people, including the people that know us best, they are a huge part of the devastation of addiction. Recognizing all the ways in which addiction affects us allows us to learn more about it so that we can free ourselves from its clutches.
At Riverside Recovery, we help our patients gain insight into their addictions and discover the tools that work for them to create real change in their lives. Call us today: (800) 871-5440.