How Similar Are Alcoholism and Drug Addiction?

There are so many ways in which alcoholism and drug addiction are intertwined. But before looking into the similarities, it’s important to acknowledge that alcohol abuse is very prevalent, especially across the United States. The prevalence can be attributed to the fact that alcohol is easily available. Adults can get their hands on alcohol just about anywhere.

Another aspect that plays a significant part in the prevalence of alcoholism is the risk perception. Most people believe that by virtue of alcohol being legal, it is not dangerous. A good number of people think that abusing alcohol is less dangerous than using illegal drugs. Others even think that binge drinking is totally fine.

Are other Drugs Worse than Alcohol?

The absolute truth is that there are so many illegal drugs, which pose more dangers than alcohol. Nevertheless, that’s not a vote of confidence towards alcohol. Undoubtedly, alcohol changes how the body works. If someone develops alcoholism, their life expectancy significantly takes a dip (10-12 years). Besides lowering one’s life expectancy, alcoholism also diminishes the quality of life. There is a correlation between alcoholism and violence, suicide, and injuries.

The Life Expectancy of Someone Addicted to Drugs

Generally, drug addiction lowers one’s life expectancy more than alcoholism. Usually, a drug addict’s life expectancy reduces to between 15 and 20 years after their addiction kicks in. Some of the common causes of death among drug addicts include acute withdrawal symptoms, poisoning or overdose, suicide, and failure of organs due to the buildup of toxins in the body.

Similarities Between the Two

Although alcoholism and drug addiction may vary greatly in terms of prevalence rates and side effects, they also exhibit many similarities. One of the distinct similarities is the negative impact on the user’s immune system. Both push minerals and vitamins out of the user’s body, giving the body a hard time resisting illnesses. Malnutrition is also common among people struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction.

Another similarity between alcoholism and drug addiction is altering the user’s brain. Since both lead to feelings of euphoria and pleasure, the users feel an urge to keep repeating the activity. Although wanting to repeat a pleasurable activity is normal human behavior, it’s slightly different from alcoholism and drug addiction. When the alcohol or drug in question starts wearing off the user’s body, they need to use it again, lest they feel depressed and exhausted.

Besides, as time goes by, the user’s tolerance to alcohol or drugs goes up. Therefore, to achieve the same euphoric feeling as before, they must consume more. This turns into a rabbit hole as the tolerance keeps going higher and higher.

It is also worth noting that both alcoholism and drug addiction lead to compulsive behavior. Users may lie or steal from their family and friends in a quest to keep using habit going. They might also tend to hide the substances from other people, so nobody takes them away from them. As a result of this compulsive behavior, alcoholics and drug addicts may push those close to them away. They would choose to spend their time with other alcoholics and drug addicts.

An alcoholic or a drug addict might try to get off alcohol or drug use. That can lead to many fatal symptoms, which can happen within a couple of hours or weeks after the last use. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disorders
  • Nausea and vomiting

It is also important to admit that alcoholism and drug addiction change the chemical structure of the user’s brain, especially when they are under the influence. Therefore, it is inevitable that their lives will deteriorate. Moreover, although alcoholics and drug addicts may push their loved ones away, they still need help. Their best shot at recovering is attending a rehab program and a detox program. Most importantly, they need a strong support system. Once they get help, they can create a healthier and happier life for themselves.

Do you know someone struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction? Or are you one trying to get off the hook? We can help. Reach out to us today at 833-364-0736 to start this brave journey. You can do so any time since our counselors are available round the clock.