“It’s my problem! Let me handle it on my own!” “Don’t interfere with my life, I am not interfering with yours.” “Mind your own business!”
These may just be some of the things your loved ones or friends with drug or alcohol addiction may have told you. When you express your concern, fear, sadness, and frustration to them, they would retaliate harshly that their problem doesn’t affect you so you don’t have to worry about them.
But we all know they’re completely wrong.
No matter how hard they try to hide it, no matter how hard they try to cushion you from the blows of their substance addiction, the fact is, you are affected in more ways than they, the addict, could ever grasp. This is because addiction has repercussions that radiate from the most isolated addict to his or her family, immediate community, society, and the population at large. Drug addiction can be so powerful that it can create a ripple effect of continuing unintended, and undesirable, consequences.
Addiction has a profound effect in the nation, which can be seen in the billions of pesos lost in productivity, crime, peace and order, and health care costs alone. And that’s just the surface. It has socio-economic costs to the country that buries itself so deep we don’t know where to begin.
The drug and alcohol addicts behavior directly affects not just the present state of their loved ones but their future as well, especially those of the children who may be exposed to crime, violence, poverty, and stress that are closely intertwined with addiction.
Anyone who is addicted would negatively affect not only himself but his family, which are the primary units of society. To put it bluntly, addiction causes problems in:
- marriage and relationships
- family life (broken homes, domestic violence, family trauma)
- physical and mental health
- crime and legal status
- personality and behavior
Many crimes, big and petty, have drug-related causes. Often, these involve individuals who are in their teens (in or out-of school), or young adults who would have been at an age where they should be productive members of society.
In the family setting, the addict’s mood swings, secrecy, dishonesty, violence, erratic behavior, and drug-related problems can cause strife in the home. The stress of living with someone struggling with addiction can directly affect the spouse and the children of the addict, bringing negative physical, emotional, financial, and even legal consequences.
The children of addicts are often, sadly, the most affected and are one of the firsthand victims of addiction’s negative effects. For one, children who are exposed to addiction in the home are more likely to become addicts themselves as they grow older. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to addiction in the home can set up a developing child to dysfunction, trauma, stress, and many other problems.
Given the alarmingly high percentage of Filipinos using or addicted to shabu as well as other substances, the ripple effect is clear in all levels of society.
How did addiction affect your family and your neighborhood? Let’s start a conversation.
If you or a family member is struggling with addiction, however, please don’t hesitate to seek help. It’s not too late–unless you give up on yourself. And you shouldn’t.