20 Ways Addictions Ruin Lives

Although drug addiction and alcoholism are the addictions most people are familiar with, they’re not the only addictions that can ruin lives. In addition to alcohol and drugs, there’s tobacco and even addictive behaviors like eating, shopping and gambling that can have disastrous health, social, legal and financial consequences.

Some of the most dangerous drugs in the US are legal. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that tobacco, alcohol, and opioid painkillers were responsible for more direct deaths in one year than any other drug.

Directly and indirectly, addictions affect physical and mental health, cause sicknesses and diseases, and alter moods and emotions. They also affect a person’s hormone levels, their family, their friendships and workplaces, their state of mind and their livelihoods. Here are 20 ways addictions can ruin lives:

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1. Addictions destroy physical health

The dangerous gamut of getting sick from addictions ranges from the shakes, severe stomach pains and vomiting to blackouts and hallucinations. Some drugs can damage internal organs like the liver, brain, lungs and the throat. For example, inhaling glue can cause hearing loss and kidney damage. Even excessive marijuana use has been shown to impact memory, attention span, concentration and learning.

Stefano Cavoretto / Shutterstock.com
Stefano Cavoretto / Shutterstock.com

2. Tobacco causes numerous deaths

When it comes to health risk factors, multiple side effects and outright deadliness, no single substance comes close to tobacco. Despite excuses, it’s a documented fact. More Americans die from tobacco-caused health problems (like lung cancer and heart disease) than from drug overdoses, traffic accidents and homicides combined. Smoking is linked to one in five deaths in the US each year, and nearly 42,000 of the total 480,000 deaths from smoking are caused by second hand smoke.

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Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com
Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com

3. Despite its popularity, alcohol claims lives

Although it’s often considered more socially acceptable and even fun, alcohol-caused health problems — such as liver disease — claim more than 30,000 lives a year. When an alcohol connection factors into deaths caused by car accidents and homicides, the toll rises to 88,000 per year.

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Ralf Kleemann / Shutterstock.com
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