There’s a phrase among the addiction and recovery community known as the downward spiral. When a person is addicted to alcohol or drugs, the illness of addiction and the denial of any problems can create a downward spiral in a person’s life. This article will take a look at the way that life can deteriorate over time if a person does not get the treatment they need.
What Creates the Downward Spiral?
Addiction is known as a progressive illness, meaning that it will get worse and worse over time. Yet, even though a person might see areas of life that are getting worse, he or she is often in such a state of denial that they may ignore it. And this is precisely what creates the downward spiral. For instance, let’s say a person’s drinking causes them to experience hangovers at work. As a result, they may be ineffective at their job and begin to experience conflicts with co-workers. Over time, they may be reprimanded and even lose their job for repetitive experiences of poor work performance. Unfortunately, a person’s denial might cause them to blame his or her co-workers, boss, and the whole organization for the loss of employment.
Of course, losing one’s job has an effect on finances. A person might no longer be able to pay the rent and other bills. The worsening financial situation might cause worry and anxiety, which might lead to more drinking and drug use. And in turn, the financial worry, possible homelessness, and loss of employment might affect a person’s friendships and relationships.
Addiction Can Affect Many Areas of Life
Although alcohol or drug use might have started out as experimentation, it might have quickly moved to regular substance use and then to abuse. Some men and women can move quickly to developing an addiction and become physically and psychologically dependent upon alcohol or drugs. If this is the case, the downward spiral of addiction can affect the following areas of life:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Self respect
For many people, it isn’t until they hit rock bottom, meaning they reach a place in life that wakes them up to the possibility of having a substance abuse problem. They break through the denial. This is often the case because they’ve lost everything and life feels hard. It is at this point when a person might begin to seek help for their substance use.
In fact, a person at this point in life might then make a decision to get out of the misery of their current circumstances. They might do that by investigating recovery options. And lastly, they may take action, such as attending an addiction treatment center or contacting a mental health therapist, in order to heal from addiction.
If you or someone you know is on a downward spiral, you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom! Contact a therapist, psychologist, or physician for support!