Is Alcoholism Different from Drug Addiction?
The framework of people’s attitudes towards alcoholism and drug abuse is still blurred. The romance of soft drugs during the hippie era, celebrities’ weakness to alcohol, interest in alternative subcultures — all this causes an ambivalent attitude and disputes on permissiveness.
Nevertheless, when talking about addiction treatment and rehab, numerous doctors consider addiction to alcohol and drugs to be a severe illness. Such substances affect the health and psyche of a person. Moreover, it can destroy the whole life. The disease progresses quite quickly, and it is complicated to cope independently. Alcohol vs drugs — there are numerous similarities and dissimilarities.
Formation of addiction
Physiological addiction is the need for a dose. A person needs a new portion of the substance. He experiences withdrawal (an obsessive state). Drugs primarily affect mental health and nervous system, which comprises over 10 billion neurons. Most neurons are located in the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
Neurons interact with the help of particular substances — neurotransmitters. Endorphins (the so-called hormones of happiness) act as these neurotransmitters, maintaining a person’s emotional state.
Consequently, a person can remove psychological and physiological discomfort with the help of chemicals that are contained in alcohol vs drugs and directly or indirectly compensate the lack of natural endorphins. Receptors require a new dose, but if you stop using alcohol or drugs, the body’s functions return to normal.
Such diseases as alcoholism and drug abuse develop progressively and have chronic characteristics. Irresistible poison craving is formed under the influence of the social environment through the prism of the formation of destructive stereotypes, attitudes, worldviews, and beliefs. The patient’s psycho-emotional state destabilizes due to inadequate self-esteem, complexes, the search for justice, dishonesty, and self-pity. As a result, chemically dependent people begin to make vital decisions based on negative (destructive, defective) personality traits.
What are alcohol and drug addictions?
Alcohol vs drugs dependence develops over time. The size and frequency of the drinking grows gradually, people do not always notice such changes, and therefore it is so difficult to understand «How did we miss the moment?». Drugs can be addictive immediately after the first dose. The destructive process of alcohol vs drugs influence changes the body’s physiology, so addiction is a disease. Signs of a worsening situation are sometimes not noticeable to others because the dependent person is not used to sharing his problem.
Acute negative physical consequences
The acute drug mainly affects the circulatory system. Consequences: high blood pressure, palpitations, and dilated blood vessels.
Alcohol is a cytotoxin: it directly damages cells and tissues. Drinking alcohol can also lead to acute alcohol intoxication, affecting coordination, consciousness, perception, and comprehension.
Features of alcohol and drugs
The significant features of these substances should be outlined as follows:
- Alcohol and drugs have a wide range of uses, most often in medicine.
- Drugs and alcoholic beverages are highly addictive, and excessive use harms the human body.
- While alcoholic drinks only have age restrictions on who can consume them, drugs have stricter restrictions on their use. Medicines usually require a prescription before you can buy them.
- Alcohol has a broader range of uses as it spreads to industrial plants.
- The human body can only absorb some alcohol. The rest are poisonous. On the other hand, drugs are absorbed by the body, although you can get hurt if you take too many drugs.
Similarities between drug addiction and alcoholism
All psychoactive substances affect the body’s functioning and, over time, require an increase in dose or replacement with more potent analogs to get the effect: drugs become harder, alcoholic drinks are stronger. Primary similarities are:
- The nervous system suffers the most. The body’s work is disrupted, the natural self-regulation processes are disrupted, and the degradation of the personality develops.
- Health is deteriorating. Inflammatory processes are aggravated, chronic diseases make themselves felt, a person suffers inside his own weakening body.
- Genetic reasons. Alcoholics and drug addicts lack about 20% of the hormones responsible for positive emotions, so they compensate by taking stimulant drugs.
- Alcohol and drugs also affect the human psyche: memory lapses, hallucinations appear, and the time of sobriety is reduced; the idea of reality and what is happening around is distorted; a person cannot communicate adequately, the personality degrades.
Subsequently, a person moves further away from the frightening reality and is seeking the illusion of happiness, the absence of problems in the world of drug or alcohol intoxication. Nonetheless, the effect does not last long, and after it, the person again looks at the growing problems, which are getting worse each time. It is psychologically difficult to get out of this vicious circle, so you need the help of specialists and the support of loved ones.
Differences in addictions
Alcohol vs drugs abuse is a chemical addiction, a severe bio-psycho-socio-spiritual disease. In both cases, all the most important spheres of human life are destroyed. Health, family, finances, and hobbies — problems begin everywhere with drug addiction and alcoholism.
If you look at it from the other side, then, of course, there are differences. Alcohol dependence is formed and develops much longer than drug addiction.
The number one difference is the rate at which addiction builds. This speed, in turn, depends on the individual characteristics of the human body, but for hard drugs, it is the highest. As for alcohol, it can be seen that it is far from harmless, and its area even intersects with hard drugs. It means that there is a person for whom alcohol will be more deadly than heroin or cocaine to another person (with better health). Among other differences:
- Drinking alcohol is acceptable in society, including at the official level. However, there is a highly negative attitude towards drugs.
- Drug abuse develops rapidly, with bright painful consequences; alcoholism has a longer progression with less obvious unfortunate consequences (an alcoholic is kept at work for a long time, saves a family, can at first use only on weekends, but the rest of the time wait for this weekend).
- An alcoholic does not need to hide his use. The poison is sold legally. A drug addict must constantly violate the criminal code to hide his illness.
When deciding to help a chemically dependent person, it does not matter what destroys his life: alcoholism or drug addiction. It is the same disease, and its name is chemical dependence. To start the path of purification from alcohol and drugs, you should contact the ecosoberhouse.com. It is a center where professionals help people suffering from alcoholism. Become responsible for your life, save your family and get help from the specialists of the center. They will help each client cleanse himself and take the path of sobriety.