Substance abuse disorders are sweeping across our nation. Recent health crises have triggered both a rise in alcohol and drug abuse. Alcoholism has been fueled in large part because of its availability.
There is an often mistaken perception that it is harder to become addicted to alcohol than to other types of substances. While certain drugs may become physically addictive faster than alcohol, the danger of addiction is no less. Let’s look at how alcohol compares to other drugs.
Why Alcohol is Addictive
Millions suffer from alcoholism. Many do not even realize they have a problem. One factor in alcohol being so addictive is that it is legal and readily available. There are literally thousands of shelves stocked with legal alcoholic beverages across America.
This creates a sense of acceptance. However, not everyone can drink with impunity. While some can use alcohol to relax, often a drink is used to avoid feeling a certain way. In addition, alcohol is used to generate difficult feelings.
People drink to reduce the emotional impact of stress. The problem is that the alcohol only erases the perception of the stress, and the relief is short-lived. Once the buzz wears off, the problem still exists.
Alcohol is also used to adjust to social anxiety. A stiff drink produces a euphoria that makes it easier to talk to people. While changes in personality can happen with effort, after a few drinks the alcohol reduces inhibitions. The problem is, it’s the alcohol talking, not you.
What happens over time are changes in the neurology of your brain. Your tolerance for alcohol grows. Now, you need more alcohol to either numb your emotions or create them. Gradually you need more alcohol to achieve the same result. This is a dangerous point.
How Alcohol Compares to Other Drugs
The chemical makeup of various drugs intensifies the degree of the physical addiction. However, alcohol has no less of a proclivity to being abused. In fact, since alcohol is accepted as a societal norm, your chances of getting addicted to booze are often greater.
Alcoholic beverages are sold at thousands of different types of places, including events. Bars line city streets and a beer vendor strolls through sports stadiums selling alcohol. Alcohol is sold in restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations.
Virtually every grocery store has a beer aisle, and many have liquor stores. It is the most readily available drug in America. That’s the problem for many who fall into the trap of alcoholism. Because alcohol is sold seemingly everywhere and drinking is associated with fun, it’s often not considered a drug at all.
However, alcohol can have as equally an impressive effect on you both physically and mentally. There are thousands of deaths directly related to alcohol in the U.S. every year. It may seem like a beverage for fun and pleasure, but alcohol can kill when it’s abused.
When we combine the vast availability of alcohol with the social acceptance of drinking, we have a drug with a much higher risk of being abused. Making the problem even worse is a cultural stigma that insists that drinking alcohol is legal, so it can’t be addictive.
Millions of recovering alcoholics would have a far different opinion. Alcohol can wretch hold of a person before they even realize they have an alcohol abuse problem. The massive numbers of people across the country who drink makes it virtually impossible to pinpoint any sense of how many do have an alcohol problem.
Despite being legal, alcohol boasts of few other unflattering qualities. More crimes are associated with excessive alcohol use, and the death rate of alcohol-caused ailments is more than any other drug. All types of mind-altering drugs can be addictive, but so can alcohol.
Many of the exact same symptoms indicate an alcohol abuse problem. These types of personality and life changes are not restricted to illegal drugs or prescription abuse. You may experience any of these. Here are some signs of an alcohol abuse problem.
- You’ve lost interest in things you once enjoyed because you can’t drink.
- Your schoolwork, job performance, or relationships have suffered because of your drinking.
- You’ve sworn you were going to cut back or stop drinking, but you repeatedly fail.
- It has continually taken you more and more alcohol to achieve the same result.
- You avoid commitments or responsibilities due to drinking.
- You have continued to drink despite facing serious consequences, including health problems.
- There are times when you drink so much you forget what you did or what happened.
If you think you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, reach out to someone. There is help available. You do not need to continue to struggle with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. There is another way. That way is through recovery. All you need to do is ask for help. Pick up the phone today and ask. An exciting new life, free from the chains of addiction, is waiting. Just call us at 833-610-1174 anytime.