Shame and drug addiction can go hand in hand. You may ask how these two things share a link, and that is a valid question. However, to understand the full spectrum of how shame affects and fuels addiction, you have to understand the differences between shame and guilt. You also must understand the impact that shame can have on a person as a whole.
While feeling shame doesn’t always lead people to drug addiction, for those that it does, it leads to a whole new set of feelings and uncertainty that can make breaking the cycle that much harder. The good news is that it is possible to work through the feelings of shame that led to and stem from addiction.
Guilt Vs Shame
What is the difference between shame and guilt? Well, think of it this way, when a person is found guilty in court, who does it affect? The guilty verdict affects the person who is found guilty, right? Well, as the days pass and the person begins thinking about what led them to their guilty verdict, they may begin to really think about the impact it has had on their family, the victim’s family, and their life as a whole. They may begin to feel bad and ashamed of the actions that led to them being where they are.
Shame is an internal feeling of remorse and regret. Shame and drug addiction are linked in the sense that these feelings of shame are uncomfortable, and oftentimes people use drugs as a means of running from the feelings and masking them so they can avoid facing the outcome of their actions. Turning to drugs though can have a massive and potentially fatal impact on someone’s life.
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Impact of Shame
When someone uses drugs to avoid the feelings, it can be a dangerous combination. Using drugs to mask shame and drug addiction being the outcome, a person’s life can be impacted severely. When addiction takes hold, it can lead to a number of consequences both physical and emotional.
Shame can emotionally lead a person to do things and act in a way they normally wouldn’t. Especially if they are hiding whatever it is that is making them feel that way. For instance, a person who cheated on their partner. If they haven’t come clean, they may feel shame as they continue to regret the action. This can cause emotional turmoil within that can lead to emotional and angry outbursts, or on the other end of the spectrum, more emotionally attached and smothering of their partner.
How Shame Fuels Addiction
Shame often leads to the use of drugs so that the feelings aren’t as intense or so that the feelings can altogether be avoided. Shame and drug addiction can have serious impacts on someone’s life. Once addiction takes over, it can be an uphill battle to get out of it.
Avoiding feelings is probably the number one reason people begin to use drugs in the first place. So these long-lasting, emotionally trying feelings being the cause of drug use can make a person use drugs long term in order to hide from their feelings. It is a dangerous path to take and can lead to life-altering and potentially fatal consequences.
Impacts of Addiction
Addiction is a disease that can be devastating, not only to the person who suffers from it but to their friends and family as well. When someone’s actions lead to shame and drug addiction, there is a litany of potential dangers that can occur.
Health-wise, there can be results of organ damage, brain damage, and drug addiction can also exacerbate any underlying mental health conditions. Shame and drug addiction can also lead to legal problems, broken relationships with friends and family, and a slew of other things that can only make it harder to get out of the addiction that caused these things.
But there is help. The best thing someone can do for themselves when struggling with shame and drug addiction is to get help. There are professionals trained to help someone heal and learn positive coping skills that can be used instead of turning to drugs as a means of hiding from pain.
Addiction Treatment in Orange County, CA
Shame can cause a person to take unnecessary routes as a means of coping with and hiding from the feelings caused by it. Once a level of dependency is reached, addiction can take over leading to more shame and guilt surrounding addiction. It is a never-ending cycle leading to broken relationships, and damage to a person’s everyday life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, there is hope. Help is available, and it is a simple process to begin getting your life back. All it takes is one phone call and you can be on a journey to healing and recovery. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we offer help to those who need it. We have a team of professionals standing by to help as you begin your journey. Contact us today.