Despite common belief, substance addiction is not a choice. It never has been. Addiction, as research has proven, is a disease of the brain. It inhibits a person’s self-control, and one’s ability to make any rational choices moving forward. It is a disease of impulse. Addiction changes an individual’s brain structure, behaviors, and eventually, his or her life—for the worse.
Fortunately, substance addiction is a disease that is treatable. Yet it is still one of the most untreated diseases in the United States today. It is also one of the most preventable. While addiction itself is not voluntary, a person still makes the initial decision to consume alcohol or use drugs. Upon a first hit, a first sip, a first high, one’s future is put at stake. A user must make a choice: a disrupted life of continued substance use, or a healthy life of success and clarity?
Substance use not only changes a person, but it changes his or her course of life. Those who become dependent on drugs or alcohol have a drastically different life path than those who choose a life of sobriety and abstinence. Their goals are different, their motivation is less, their priorities are not in order. Substance use begins a cycle. In the following infographic, you will see how each step of use leads to another consequence, down a darker path towards abuse and addiction.
This picture is not uncommon: Youth often start experimenting with drugs at the age of 13, and those who meet the criteria for a substance use disorder by age 18 are three times more likely to drop out of high school. High school dropouts, on average, earn almost $300,000 less during their lifetime than those who move forward.
A lack of a higher education leads to lesser opportunities. It has been found that 35 percent of men ages 25 to 54 without a high school diploma are unemployed. In fact, in 2013, 7 million illicit drug users were unemployed. Unemployment can lead a person to feel a lack of purpose or meaning in their life. They may act out as a result, and continue to abuse drugs and alcohol to cope. Research has shown that approximately 60 percent of criminals today test positive for illicit drugs upon arrest.
These are just the beginning. Not only does substance addiction affect our minds, it also affects our bodies, our hearts, and our sense of self. At Turnbridge, we truly believe that by understanding the detrimental consequences addiction, people will further be able to make more informed decisions in their own lives. We’ve created the following infographic in hopes that it will empower you, and your loved ones, to choose a path free of drug and alcohol use. You can make the right choices. You can live a life of good health and a life of the purest kind of success. How will you define it?
Read on for more information on how drugs and alcohol can indefinitely affect your life, and just where they can lead you. Remember, addiction is preventable. You can always say “No.”
It is never too late to start making the right choices, those facing addiction can still receive help they deserve. In fact, we can help them start their paths towards a renewed and brighter life, better than they could ever imagine with addiction. Call Turnbridge today at 877-581-1793.