Alcohol and other drug abuse and addiction constitute major health and safety concerns in the United States, with costs running into the billions of dollars annually for health care, related injuries and loss of life, property destruction, loss of productivity and more. Treatment is proven to be effective, but few who need it have access to and receive care. Families can be devastated and children are at increased risk for their own addiction and mental health problems.
Addiction knows no societal boundary. It affects every ethnic group, both genders, and individuals in every tax bracket.
What is an alcohol problem?
Researchers use the term “alcohol problems” to refer to any type of condition caused by drinking which harms the drinker directly, jeopardizes the drinker’s well-being, or places others at risk. Depending on the circumstances, alcohol problems can result from even moderate drinking, for example when driving, during pregnancy, or when taking certain medicines. Alcohol problems exist on a continuum of severity ranging from occasional binge drinking to alcohol abuse or dependence (alcoholism). The most common alcohol problems include: Binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcohol dependence.
Alcohol addiction symptoms or behaviors include:
- Feeling that you have to use alcohol regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day.
- Failing in your attempts to stop using alcohol.
- Making certain that you maintain a supply of alcohol.
- Spending money on alcohol and/or drinking, even though you can’t afford it.
- Feeling that you need alcohol to deal with your problems.
- Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of alcohol.
What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction is a dependence on an illegal drug or a medication. When you’re addicted, you may not be able to control your drug use and you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes. Drug addiction can cause an intense craving for the drug. You may want to quit, but most people find they can’t do it on their own.
For many people, what starts as casual use leads to drug addiction. Drug addiction can cause serious, long-term consequences, including problems with physical and mental health, relationships, employment and the law.
Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include:
- Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
- Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
- Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
- Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
- Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
- Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems
- Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
- Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
For further information and resources, go to csifdl.org