According to Webster’s New World™ Medical Dictionary, 3rd Edition, Addiction is a chronic relapsing condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain. Addiction is the same irrespective of whether the drug is alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or nicotine. Every addictive substance induces pleasant states or relieves distress. Continue use of addictive substances induces adaptive changes in the brain that lead to tolerance, physical dependence, uncontrollable craving and, all too often, relapse. Dependence is at such a point that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental damage from withdrawal (WILLIAM C. SHIEL JR., 2008).
Over the past two decades, many researchers have identified subgroups of alcohol and drug user based in similarities like drinking style (Kevin M. King, 2009), behavior problems, etiology, outcome, and other clinically significant phenomena; making the most predominant the antisocial, primarily neurotic, mixed neurotic and antisocial, and psychotic (Malow, 1989). But the antisocial features have been the most prominent between all the subtypes; especially on drug user. This literature will review these thru the following questions:
1. How addiction impact family and social relationships?
2. Do alcohol and drug addictions have relationship with crime?
3. What is the economic cost related to alcohol and drug addiction?
How addiction impact family and social relationships?
Drug and alcohol abuse is a large problem for adults in our world today. It is destructive, not just in terms of its effect on the addict but for the suffering it inflicts on the loved ones and family (Sadava, 1987). Though the addict may have no conscious intention of harming his companions and relatives, his self-destructive actions are a source of anguish for anyone with genuine affection for him/her. One of the most common situations is when the partner tries to hide the addict’s behavior from family member, co-workers, employer or general public. This type of behavior is known as Co dependence (Malow, 1989). A codependent partner will make up excuses for the addict’s work absences or a car accident; even will tries to clean up any legal messes resulting from the addict’s behavior; allowing the addict to continue his destructive path without dealing with its consequences. Consequences that can go from continuous fights to elevated levels of domestic violence. Most the time related to financial hardships, causes by the addict’s need to buy drugs, as well as from his inability to find consistent employment.
Families impacted by addiction are more likely to experience divorce (Andrew k. Littlefield, 2010). When all methods of dealing with the addiction have failed, partners will see no other recourse but to separate. Unfortunately the children end up been the most affected, not only they are forced to participate in parental fights but also, eventually they have to deal with the parent’s separation. The effects that a parent’s addiction environment will inflict on their children may hunt the child forever.
Alcohol and Drug addiction also have effects on peer relationships (Zaldívar, 2009). Often addiction causes that the addict’s disapproving friends distance themselves. Alternately, the addict tries to find new friends that share or endorse his addictive habits.
Living with or loving an addict causes family members and friends to experience strong emotions: fear because many aspects of alcohol and drug use are terrifying, anger because the inability of the addict to be responsible for his actions, and guilt for being angry. While the addict is obsessed with getting high, those closest to him are obsessed with helping minimized the damage, which might be counterproductive (Andrew k. Littlefield, 2010).
Do alcohol and drug addictions have relationship with crime?
There is a clear correlation between alcohol and drug addiction and criminality. Drugs and alcohol are thought to encourage criminal behavior in several ways (Newcomb, 2001). Their use can reduce inhibitions, stimulate aggression, and interfere with critical thinking and simple skills like driving or operating machinery. Each of these factors reduced the person’s ability to earn a legal income, which may lead the addict to commit crimes in order to obtain money (Newcomb, 2001). For those using addictive drugs, the need to get money to support a drug habit may take priority over any other consideration. Sometimes poor and underprivileged drug user may also find themselves more frequently exposed to situations that encourage crime (Sadava, 1987). The same circumstances leading a person to commit crimes may also lead to drug use (Justice, 1998). The same condition limiting employment opportunity may also contribute to both drug abuse and criminal behavior. The table bellow represents a clear definition between the relationship of drug and crimes (Justice, 1998).