What Are the Psychological Effects of Addiction?
The psychological effects of addiction can be profound and can affect an individual’s personality, perception, feelings and behaviour. Part of the reason for this is physical and relates to the effect that addiction has on the chemistry of the central nervous system, the other part relates to how addiction itself makes the individual feel. This feeling varies according to the substance being taken and on the mental health of the individual before the substance is taken.
Obviously the psychological impact of taking heroin is far greater than smoking a cigarette. Having said that your social circumstances at the time of being addicted are likely to have a major impact on your long-term psychological state. Individuals react to addiction in different ways and as such the psychological symptoms will also differ in each case. One of the most common psychological states for addicts is an increased feeling of isolation.
It is important to emphasize though that close family and friends also feel the effect of addiction.
It is a sad fact that addicts end up suffering the very symptoms that they were trying to escape in the first place such as depression that ranges from feeling down to being suicidal. A feeling of self-loathing and low self-esteem is common. A lack of confidence and paranoia are also manifested. All of these conditions add to the downward spiral of addiction and the psychological states that follow. Most addicts know this but often dismiss it because the craving for the substance is more important.
Psychological and behavioural therapies have an important part to play in helping an individual give up taking addictive substances. Cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be effective. GPs will often refer an individual to a local addiction centre, so that an assessment can be undertaken, and a treatment plan agreed. There are a number of private clinics that offer detoxification and drug rehab programs, where the individual stays at the treatment centre whilst the treatment is being undertaken.