Alcohol and Drug Addiction Information

Why do we drink or use drugs?

There are many reasons why we choose to drink or use drugs even though Drugs and alcohol change the way we think, feel or behave. These reasons may include:

  1. To boost our confidence.
    We tend to enjoy the feelings of excitement and confidence which some drugs and alcohol can bring.
  2. To escape painful memories.
    We use substances to forget about life. However, drugs and alcohol only worsen the issue.
  3. Peer pressure.
    Peer pressure can cause someone to try things they would not try on their own such as taking drugs and alcohol.
  4. Experimentation.
    We see family members, friends, role models or entertainers using drugs and rationalize that we also can. Trying drugs and alcohol is common among young people as a way of experimenting with the adult world.
  5. To relieve stress
    Our modern world is full of strains and stresses that we have never experienced in the past. Some drugs are viewed as a means of relaxation. Although drugs or alcohol can be very effective at calming the storm in our mind, there can be severe side effects.
  6. Mental illness
    People suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental illnesses use drugs and alcohol to ease their suffering. Drugs or alcohol often seem to be the better option as they make that person feel ‘normal’ again.
  7. Boredom.
    It is easier to become bored and wants to try something new and exciting. Drug use and drinking is often thought of as a way to escape the mundane world and enter an altered reality.
  8. We drink or use drugs to chase the high we once experienced.
    Anyone who has tried drugs will tell you that it is one of the best feelings of their life. The highs from drugs are much more extreme than ordinary joys because most drugs overload the pleasure sensors in your brain. This intense pleasure hooks us on a drug by only chasing the initial high we once felt

Did you know?

Alcohol affects men and women differently due to the differences in size and body mass. Youths who drink are 7.5 times likely to use other illegal drugs and fifty times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink. Consuming two to three drinks in 60 minutes is enough to impair judgment, and 40% of violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol.

Acute Physical Effects

They include increased heart rate and skin temperature, reduced muscle control causing poor coordination, slurred speech, and impaired motor skills leading to accidents, dizziness, vomiting, vision problems and loss of consciousness, respiratory arrest and death.

Acute Effects on Mental Abilities

Alcohol affects Judgment leading to Poor and rapid decision making, loss of attention and concentration, exaggeration of emotions such as anger, loss of memory and saying things or doing things that we normally would not.

Long Term Effects of Alcohol Use

These effects include disruption of normal brain development and decrease in brain mass due to death of brain cells, liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver, stomach and intestinal ulcers and destroyed organs.It also causes heart diseases, an increase in blood pressure, heart attack, or even stroke.Furthermore, it can lead to alcoholism, Death and Fetal alcohol syndrome in unborn children.

Do you have a drug or alcohol problem?

Addiction is not age restricted and can happen to anyone. If you continue to drink and use drugs despite the harmful consequences, you could be addicted to an extent that you do not realize that your drinking or drugging has become a real problem to yourself and the people around you.

Some of the signs that you have a drug or alcohol problem may include: 

  • hanging out with different friends
  • not caring about your appearance
  • a change in your eating or sleeping habits
  • the decline in your academic performance
  • missing classes or skipping school
  • losing interest in your favorite activities
  • getting in trouble in school or with the authorities
  • having unnecessary problems with family members and friends

Test Yourself

To know if you are addicted or not, you can check yourself. Some of the test questions that you can ask yourself are:

  1. Do you think about drugs or alcohol a lot?
  2. Have you ever tried to reduce or stop your drug usage but you couldn’t?
  3. Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a splendid time without using drugs or alcohol?
  4. Do you use drugs or alcohol whenever you are upset or angry at other people?
  5. Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or its effects?
  6. Have you ever taken one drug to get over the consequences of another?
  7. Have you made mistakes because you were on drugs or drunk?
  8. Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen money to pay for drugs?
  9. Have you ever been arrested or hospitalized because of drug or alcohol use?
  10. Has using drugs or alcohol affected your relationship with other people?

If the answer is yes to some or all of these questions, you might have an addiction.

What is the next step?

The next step is to visit a doctor or a counselor with experience on this issue. You might want to consult the doctor in advance to see if he or she is comfortable discussing drug use because sometimes doctors are uncomfortable discussing the issue. You will want to find a doctor who has experience with this matter.