Life Changing Complications Due to Substance Use Disorder

A cautionary warning to let people know that there will be mentions of abuse and HIV/AIDS in the following article, so please take care. 


Once known as Substance Abuse, Substance Use Disorder is a psychological disorder that is characterized by a persistent need, or a craving, to use substances such as alcohol, tobacco, hallucinogens etcetera.

When the use of substances, such as drugs or alcohol, become repetitive and hinders the person’s development in other areas of their life, and it comes to a point where the person is unable to go through their days without using it and tries to obtain it by any means necessary, not being able to stop even if they desperately wanted to, it becomes a Substance Use Disorder, the person has built up a tolerance for the said substance and faces withdrawal symptoms when they try to limit or stop the intake.

SUD affects people in many different areas of their lives.

When a person has a Substance Use Disorder, they themselves, and the people around them face, or experience, many issues, which is why it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a public health issue and not just an individual one.

We need to work together as a community to help those who have SUD.


It’s said that a person who grew up with parents who have a SUD is more likely to have a SUD themselves. If a parent has a substance use disorder, it is highly likely that it’ll play a huge role in their child’s development.

The parent will be unable to meet their child’s basic needs because of their preoccupation with a particular substance – which sometimes even includes not properly providing basic necessities such as food and education – and may also impact their child’s emotional development negatively.

The child could be neglected or could be forced to act as the responsible, adult member of the family, which might lead to unhealthy attachment styles later on.

There have been studies conducted which show the correlation between substance use and abuse: children who’ve been abuse are more likely to grow up to have a substance use disorder.

Though there are people with substance use disorders who’re abusive, it would be prejudiced to say that anyone who has a SUD will end up being abusive.

Even if the percentage is higher, it doesn’t mean that a person who had a disorder is inherently abusive, nor does it mean that a person who is abusive has a psychological disorder. That is one imperative fact that we need to keep in mind.

When someone is witnessing their loved one experiencing a SUD, it’s understandable that they face a lot of conflicting emotions.

On one hand, they want to provide help and support, on the other hand, they’re going through emotional issues themselves. Stress and a lack of trust are two issues a loved one may be going through as a result.

Financial problems are also common in families where there is someone who has a SUD. When a person reached a stage where they feel like they can’t survive without the substance they’re using, they’d give anything to obtain that substance – which could result in many money-related issues.

When someone tries to call them out on it or try to take it away, it is very probable that they might react in a defensive, aggressive way to either deny the fact that they are addicted to a particular substance or to try and save whatever they have left. This may result in a lot of interpersonal issues between family members.

Black Lightning is one of my favorite shows for many, many reasons. One of them is an accurate, non-problematic, non-demonizing way in which they portray people who have Substance Use Disorders. Especially Thunder’s dialogue where she says that addiction is a disease, and they’ll get through it together, as a family *sniffs*

Infectious Diseases 

People who have Substance Use Disorders, or use drugs, especially people who use drugs via needles are at high risk for exposure to a lot of blood-borne bacterial and viral infections. It could lead to them being HIV positive, which could also happen without the use of needles since people who smoke crack cocaine are three times more likely to be infected than those who don’t.

Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are two other diseases that can be contracted through blood transfusion and needle sharing.

Tuberculosis is another incentive that drug users are two to six times more likely to contract than people who’re non-users.

Skin infections in and around the area where the needles have been repeatedly injected.

Sexually transmitted diseases which can be contracted via unprotected sex under the influence of drugs are also more likely amongst people who use drugs.


We all know the dangers of drinking and driving, no matter how cool it might seem to break rules, traffic rules are one which totally uncool to break. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it lowers our inhibitions, dulls our senses, affects our coordination, reflexes, and memory, and in some people may increase road rage. So driving while inebriated has a very high chance of putting your life, and the life of others, at risk.

Drugs, such as Cocaine, LSD, Heroin etcetera may cast long symptoms on our body. They can cause memory loss, decrease our concentration, cause us to hallucinate, slow our reaction time, and distort our senses, and our perception of space and time, and if that happens, it’s quite obvious how and why using drugs can increase the risk of getting into accidents.


The most important, grave problem caused at work due to coming to work after using drugs is of safety. The above-mentioned symptoms may lead to a higher risk of injuries and dangerous accidents at the workplace, especially if the workplace is one that requires heavy, intensive labor. Shaky hands, sweating, inability to recognize things properly, distortion of the senses, all lead to lower work performance and lower productivity.

Alcohol may cause drowsiness, slow reflexes, impair a person’s judgment and motor functions.

Stimulants, cocaine, may cause hyperactivity, anxiety, and faster, rapid heartbeat which could make a person feel restless.

Cannabis may result in a person’s coordination being impaired and impaired memory.

Different substances have different effects on a person’s body, mind, and behavior. These are only a few examples.




TEL: 1800-11-0031

(Indian Helpline. Com)

There are support groups and rehabilitation services available for people who need them. Going to a mental health facility or a psychiatric hospital is nothing to be ashamed of, it just means that you’re brave enough to avail of the services and accept the help provided to you.

It is not an individual journey, it’s a community journey – it’s imperative that loved ones don’t do things to trigger or use substances in front of a person who is on the journey of recovery.

Yes, substance use causes many, many problems – for the person themselves and for others – but it is important to keep in mind that addiction is not a personal failure, a lack of self control or personality flaw.

It is a serious illness which deserves proper care and support. Sometimes people don’t recognize that they have a problem, sometimes they can’t admit it, sometimes they might not want help or know how to accept help, sometimes the guilt and the shame caused due to the stigma our society holds against people who have Substance Use Disorders stop them from speaking up and asking for help – none of this means that the person doesn’t deserve help.

The language we use, the flippant way in which we joke about having addictions, the demonizing of people who have addiction all contribute to this prevalent prejudice.

What we need to understand firstly is that it is not a personal choice, people may choose to use a particular drug or drink alcohol, but they don’t choose to have a substance use disorder.

Nobody is beyond help, everybody deserves a chance to be the person who they can be, no matter what their present or their past is. People with a particular disorder aren’t inherently abusive, a person with a disorder might be abusive, and an abusive person might have a particular disorder – all these statements which can exist in and of themselves.

It is discriminatory to perpetuate stigma and prejudice which is already deeply prevalent, against a particular disorder because a percentage of people who have it are abusive – it is unfair to and it hinders the ability of the others who have the same to reach out for help.

And nobody deserves to be brushed away when they ask for a hand.


Reference(s) :


  • Turning Point of Tampa
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)
  • NASD online
  • Addiction Centre
  • Indian Helpline


What do you think?

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Written by Parvathy M

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