How Addiction Can Steal Your Life


When you are chained by an addiction, it affects every area of your life. Addiction ruins lives, devastates families, destroys relationships, negatively impacts your career, decreases your ability to perform well in school, and causes health problems. People with addictions are more likely to get divorced, less likely to graduate from high school or college, less likely to get promoted at work, and more likely to develop diseases related to their addiction. Addiction also affects our society as a whole and burdens us all. Here are some alarming statistics about the dangerous effects of addiction.

• Smoking is the number-one preventable cause of death.
• Being overweight or obese ranks third on the list of preventable causes of death.
• Obesity, often caused by an addiction to unhealthy food, costs our society over $145 billion annually.
• Medical costs for an obese person are 42 percent higher than those of a healthy-weight person.
• Morbid obesity is associated with more than thirty medical conditions and diseases, including an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and stroke.
• Alcohol abuse is the seventh most common preventable cause of death.

Addiction is far more prevalent than you might imagine.

It can affect anyone—you, your spouse, your child, your best friend, your neighbor, your teacher, your coworker, your plumber, even your doctor. Just take a look at the latest numbers.

• More than 23 million Americans age twelve and older are affected by substance abuse or dependence—that’s nearly one in ten Americans.
• One in five Americans between the ages of sixteen and fifty-nine admits to using drugs.
• Nearly one in ten adolescents between the ages of twelve and seventeen surveyed said they had used illicit drugs within the past month.
• One in five drinkers reported drinking five or more drinks on at least one day in the past year.
• More than 28 percent of youths aged twelve to twenty reported drinking in the past month. In some states, the number jumped as high as 40 percent.
• Among underage drinkers, 19 percent identified themselves as binge drinkers and about 6 percent considered themselves to be heavy drinkers. Among young adults aged eighteen to twenty-five, more than 42 percent reported binge drinking, and nearly 16 percent reported heavy drinking.
• Approximately two million adults meet the criteria for pathological gambling. Another four to six million have serious problems with gambling.
• One in ten people who play video games shows signs of addictive behavior.
• Ten percent of adults admit to being addicted to Internet pornography.
• Between 2 and 8 percent of Americans have a compulsive shopping addiction.
• In the U.S., more than 47 million people are smokers.
• In the U.S. two-thirds of people are overweight and one-third are obese.
• About 62 percent of high-earning individuals in the U.S. work more than fifty hours a week, which is the criteria for addiction to work, 35 percent work more than sixty hours, and 10 percent work more than eighty hours.

The Problem: Most people with addiction problems do not think the brain has anything to do with their addiction.

Why are addictions so pervasive, and what can we do to prevent and treat it? Many governments, communities, schools, and parent organizations, as well as thousands of treatment specialists and recovery centers, are desperately trying to pinpoint the answer. In all of the fact-finding and hand-wringing, we are missing the essential organ of intervention: the brain. The brain is the supercomputer that runs your life. It plays a central role in your vulnerability to addiction and your ability to recover and maintain sobriety. Understanding the brain’s role in addiction, prevention, and treatment is the key to helping people break free from your addictions.

Until then, people will continue to fuel their addictions with daily habits and actions that pollute the brain and make it even harder for them to break free from those addictions.

Working at ever-frenzied paces, not getting enough sleep, and living with strained relationships stresses the brain and lowers brain function, which makes it harder to fight addiction. Eating fast food diets, guzzling caffeinated drinks, and gobbling sugary snacks deprives the brain of proper nutrients, decreasing your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. Isolating yourself from friends and family in order to hide your addiction also has a negative effect on your brain that can intensify addictive behaviors.

Brain dysfunction is the number-one reason why people fall victim to addiction, why they can’t break the chains of addiction, and why they relapse. At Amen Clinics, we can help you and your loved ones overcome the stigma and suffering associated with addiction issues. If you are ready to regain control over your life or help a loved one do the same, give us a call at 1-888-288-9834 or click here to ask a question.


  1. Great article! I’d add also genetics and history of abuse that create depression and anxiety. Untreated, definitely leads to addiction. And if you only treat the addiction and not the underlying cause, it simply switches the addiction.

    Comment by Kathryn Goetzke — November 6, 2017 @ 8:58 PM

  2. I read your post but I still had some questions. I was really
    wondering, What is it like to relapse after being clean for many years?
    Can you recover again? If there is any insight you could
    provide, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Comment by AddictionEducation — December 15, 2017 @ 5:07 PM

  3. It is possible to relapse after many years, and it’s a tough road for patient’s that have done so. To start, it’s best to get a proper diagnosis of your addiction and damage done to your brain. Our SPECT scans will give us the insight we need in order to put you on the right treatment plan, tailored to your specific needs. Even after relapse, we can get you back on track. To speak to a Care Coordinator, call 888-288-9834. Additional information –

    Comment by Amen Clinics — December 18, 2017 @ 2:19 PM

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