How Addiction Affects Health and Family Relationships

Young girl alone in park, face close up.Chronic drug use comes with many risks, many of which can have lasting repercussions on a person's life. Addicted women face several losses in addition to legal and financial burdens. Addiction jeopardizes the health and well-being of women and of their children and families.   

Health

Doing drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and prescription stimulants may cause neurological damage to the brain. Extreme situations of chronic drug use can result in seizures or stroke. Furthermore, chronic drug users show problems with memory, attention, decision-making, according to information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Other health consequences of drug use may include increased heart attack risk, respiratory problems, hormonal changes, an increased likelihood of contracting infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV.

Treating Brain Damage

As for brain damage caused by addiction, there is some hope that the brain can recover. One study looking at decision-making skills of individuals who were abstaining from methamphetamine revealed that longer-term abstinence was associated with improved scores on tests for cognitive processing. This means that in order for your brain and body to heal after chronic drug use, you must, first, stop. Only by abstaining can you begin to rebuild after the damaged created during addiction.

Family

close up of pregnant woman touching her bare tummyWhen it comes to women, the impact of addiction can be especially damaging to the health and well-being of children. Pregnant women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may not quit using once they learn of their condition. This can lead to fetal issues with organ and tissue development in the case of drug usage and fetal alcohol syndrome with alcoholic mothers. What's more, children of addicts grow up with hardships that may not apply to other children. They often take on greater responsibilities like caring for younger siblings or worrying about managing meals and the household. Adult children of an addicted parent may suffer from addictions of their own, develop depression, and have unhealthy interpersonal relationships. Women should go into treatment if they become pregnant while using drugs. They should also see a doctor who is specially trained in treating women and babies who are affected by drug or alcohol use. Interventions like family therapy may be helpful in resolving issues such as neglect and maltreatment in addition to teaching families healthier ways to handle stress. Women with drug or alcohol addiction problems may find a safe harbor and a jumpstart to recovery at a treatment center. A good program, like the one we offer at Destination Hope, will provide a unique approach to substance abuse treatment that is targeted at women's health. Our dual-diagnosis, eating disorder, and trauma programs strive to benefit many of the underlying issues related to women's addictions. Participating in an intensive treatment program like ours can put you in a position to reclaim the life you lost to addiction. There is hope for your health, your family and your children's futures. And it begins with you. Reach out to one of our admissions specialists who can assist you in getting started with your recovery today.
Sources:
  1. Lee, K.G. Infant of a substance-abusing mother. Medline Plus. 2013. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007238.htm
  2. Dayton, T. The set up: Living with addiction. National Association of Children of Alcoholics. http://www.nacoa.org/pdfs/The%20Set%20Up%20for%20Social%20Work%20Curriculum.pdf
  3. Medical consequences of drug abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. December 2012. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/hiv-hepatitis-other-infectious-diseases
  4. Brain functions that can prevent relapse improve after a year of methamphetamine abstinence. UC Davis Health System. http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/20090819_brain_meth/
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