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The Impact of Addiction on Your Social Life

The effects of addiction are almost without limit, as they can hijack every aspect of your life, including the way in which you interact with the world around you.

The team of addiction specialists here at Northshore Family Practice has helped scores of patients overcome addiction, allowing them to plug back into the world around them.

While the impact that addiction can have on your physical and mental health may seem obvious, here we explore how it can interfere with your social life.

Understanding what addiction does to your brain

To better understand how addiction can impact your social life, let’s take a look at what happens in your brain when you develop a substance use disorder.

There are two sides to a substance use disorder: physical dependence and addiction. The dependence aspect is fairly straightforward as it describes your body’s physical dependence on your substance of choice, which means it goes into withdrawal in the absence of the substance.

Addiction is the trickier component, and it takes place in your brain. When you form an addiction, your brain's neurotransmitters are altered in a way that creates uncontrollable cravings and the inability to quit using, which can have a serious impact on your social life.

Addiction has no room for a social life

One of the first signs of an addiction is when a person withdraws socially in favor of using. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is to avoid judgment and to be able to use away from the watchful eyes of concerned loved ones.

Addiction also alters your personality, causing you to be more irritable and anxious than normal. While you’re using, you may feel sociable, but your brain is there in the background, demanding to know when you can escape to have more. This obsession eclipses all else, and if you find yourself in a situation in which you can’t use, you become irritable and anxious and often make excuses to leave.

Many of our patients report that not only do they withdraw from the world around them because of their addiction, but the world also withdraws from them because of their strange behaviors.

When it comes to your relationship with a significant other, addiction can really do some damage. For example, you may become more defensive, willing to fight tooth and nail to justify your use. As well, addiction can cause your libido to drop precipitously, which isn’t healthy for an intimate relationship. 

If you combine your foreign behaviors, a lack of understanding, and the obsessive nature of addiction, you can see why it’s hard for those who are in the throes of a substance use disorder to maintain healthy connections.

If you’re tired of leading a double life because of addiction, and you want your social circle back, contact our office in Bothell, Washington, to get on the road to recovery. Your friends, loved ones, and family members are waiting for you on the other side.

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