Addiction can impact almost all aspects of a person's life. Drug and alcohol addiction, for example, will often have detrimental effects on a person's physical and mental health, and could possibly lead to serious medical conditions. Other effects of addiction include strained relationships, economic hardships, and problems with the law.
Physical problems caused by addiction to drugs or alcohol usually include damage to most of the body's major organs, including the heart, lungs, and brain. A drug addict who uses needles to inject a drug is also at a higher risk of contracting HIV or AIDS. Also, an alcoholic who drinks many years has a high risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver. Other physical effects of addiction include malnutrition, weight loss or gain, and a reduced immunity.
Addictions also impact a person's mental capacity in many cases. As the addiction progresses, especially with drugs and alcohol, an addict will need more drugs or alcohol to be content. Some studies also show that prolonged use of alcohol and drugs may alter a person's brain chemistry, leading to unusual behavior.
The violent outbursts that many addicts experience either while they are under the influence or when they are going through withdrawal often lead to negative social effects of addiction. Some addicts may also be extremely secretive, trying to hide their addiction from loved ones. This behavior can lead to family and friends feeling alienated or suspicious. Other times, an addict may borrow money constantly, or even go as far as stealing money from his loved ones.
The economic effects of addiction can be very severe as well. For example, a gambling addiction can cause a person to lose large amounts of money at a single time. Many drugs can also cause a user to have difficulty concentrating, or it could cause him to miss work. Poor performance at a job could lead to being fired, leading to an even worse economic situation.
On top of many of the other adverse effects of addiction, jail time and hefty fines are also possible consequences. For example, driving while under the influence of alcohol will often result in expensive fines, and jail time as well. Being caught under the influence of illegal drugs, or even possessing illegal drugs can result in the same circumstances. A criminal record for drugs will also usually prevent a person from getting a good job, or other desired position.