Addiction is a strange thing. Becoming addicted to alcohol is different than becoming a drug addict. This is because there are simply different factors that lead to addiction to each substance. Some people can drink every day of their lives and not get addicted, yet they say when someone uses heroin they are addicted from the first time.
To understand addiction a little bit more you should read about alcoholism, and what causes addiction to alcohol, including the signs and symptoms. Then you should read about drug addiction, some of those signs, and how this addiction happens and changes a person’s brain.
Alcoholism is a dependence on alcohol. Someone that is addicted to alcohol finds that they just cannot function without a drink. No one really knows what causes this need to drink in some people (studies vary in case-by-case situations), but it’s important to know there is a difference between addiction and alcohol abuse.
Those that abuse alcohol tend to do things like binge drinking. They don’t feel the need to drink and they can function fine sober or without a drink, but they go overboard when they do drink.
Some people start drinking because of depression or anxiety, using alcohol to self medicate. These are more often than not the people that become addicts. People with alcoholic parents are more likely to become alcoholics themselves.
Signs of an alcohol addiction include:
- A high tolerance for alcohol
- Drinking alone, not in social situations
- Denial or anger when asked about drinking habits
- Some alcoholics stop taking care of themselves, including ignoring hygiene
- They start to miss work days or school days, and stop taking care of daily chores
Symptoms, in case you think you might have an issue with alcohol, include craving for a drink, blackouts, withdrawals, and it can also lead to health problems, especially with the liver.
Drug addiction is not a social problem, as many people think. It is an illness. While taking a hard drug for the first time may have been social, some people just don’t realize that many drugs change the fabric of your mind and cause people to immediately become addicted. This is why anti-drug campaigns focus on, “Just say ‘No.'”
The most addictive drugs are heroin and meth, followed by cocaine, nicotine, and alcohol. This gives you a little bit of a comparison between drug addiction and alcohol addiction, and you may also be surprised to see nicotine so high up on the list. This is why it is so difficult for some people to stop smoking.
People tend to try drugs for fun, or when they are young and just want to experiment. However, that fun can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Some of the signs and symptoms of drug abuse, according to The Pines Recovery, include:
- Craving for the substance and a dependence on it
- Excess use of the substance
- Withdrawals when not getting it enough
- Work, financial, and relationship issues
- Problems with the law
These are just a small part of the list of signs and symptoms. Certain drugs can make people lose or gain weight. They can make people look sickly. They can damage teeth and skin.
How To Get Help
For anyone with an addiction issue, getting help really needs to be their decision or else they’ll likely end up drinking or doing drugs again. While a family intervention may work to let people know how a loved one’s drinking or drug abuse is affecting and hurting them, sometimes it just pushes the addicted person farther down the rabbit hole. However, you still have to do something.
Once an addict hits rock bottom they usually have no choice but to seek help, or die. Hopefully they realize they need help before then, which can start with a visit to the hospital or a doctor. It’s likely they will need to go into a rehab facility to learn to live without their addiction.
It’s not just about quitting for an addict. It’s about learning to live without something they truly believe they need in order to survive. They will possibly need prescription drugs to help get through withdrawals, and they will definitely need therapy. It won’t be easy, but recovery is always possible.