Alcohol and Drug Abuse

The effects of alcohol can become extremely addicting, can lead to dependence, and can cause tolerance rates to increase so that individuals feel they must consume more to reap its effects. If these destructive behaviors persist, individuals will become dependent on alcohol to cope with everyday life and it can lead to multiple health problems and a premature death. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that approximately 16 million Americans had an Alcohol Use Disorder in 2015. Not only does alcohol impair judgement and thinking, but it may permanently damage an individual’s brain cells, pancreas, liver, heart and can even lead to certain types of cancer.

alcohol vs drugs

Contact a treatment provider to find out more about your recovery options. Acamprosate also affects certain chemical messengers (i.e., neurotransmitters) in the brain . Although the FDA approved acamprosate for the treatment of alcohol dependence, research with this medication has produced mixed results. European studies (17–19) have shown that acamprosate not only reduces the risk of heavy drinking, but nearly doubles the likelihood that patients will achieve abstinence.

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Teenagers turn to drug use because they see it as a short-term shortcut to happiness. Combining medications with alcohol can have unpredictable and unwanted consequences. We can help ourselves, our friends and our community by understanding the dangers and taking steps to prevent harm.

  • Unfortunately, on top of the array of diseases an individual can develop, alcohol abuse is known to cause alcoholism or alcohol use disorder .
  • It also is crucial to evaluate patients for signs of intoxication or withdrawal.
  • Polysubstance use involving alcohol includes drinking and using other substances such as marijuana, opioids, heroin or other illicit drugs, or medications not as prescribed.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, alcohol addiction is a form of drug addiction.
  • Neuropharmacologist David Nutt, MD, of Imperial College London, and colleagues rated 20 different drugs on a scale that takes into account the various harms caused by a drug.

People who use both alcohol and drugs also are at risk for dangerous interactions between these substances. For example, a person who alcohol vs drugs uses alcohol with benzodiazepines, whether these drugs are prescribed or taken illegally, is at increased risk of fatal poisoning .

Alcoholism Essential Reads

They suggest that having two diagnostic categories may be misleading. Be aware of treatment or recovery resources available in your community. Find the local phone number for Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous . Learn what treatment resources are available in your area by calling your state’s Office of Substance Abuse Services or searching the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s treatment locator . This website also has treatment locators specifically for opiate abuse. Fear or mixed feelings about getting involved in someone else’s life.

  • The total number of deaths – 58 million in 2017 – can be seen here.
  • Because both drugs are depressants, combining marijuana and alcohol increases the likelihood of an overdose.
  • If you do start using the drug, it’s likely you’ll lose control over its use again — even if you’ve had treatment and you haven’t used the drug for some time.
  • Alcohol is more addictive than many illicit drugs — so much so that it sits at No. 2 on a very short list of the most addictive substances in the world.
  • Behavioral therapy also is an important tool for helping patients comply with medication regimens .