Substance abuse disorders, including alcohol misuse and drug abuse, can affect your life in many ways - from causing trouble in your personal life, affecting your work or school life, affecting how you think and feel, as well as affecting your physical health and socioeconomic circumstances.
There is a spectrum to alcohol misuse with dependence/addiction representing only the most extreme end of the spectrum. Alcohol misuse is a level of alcohol consumption that increases the risk of adverse health and social consequences and is defined by the CDC as more than 1 drink a day for women or more than 2 drinks a day for men, on average. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks on one occasion (women) or 5 or more drinks on one occasion (men). Alcohol dependence or addiction is a chronic disease, and is associated with loss of control, alcohol tolerance, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when forgoing alcohol.
physical effects of alcohol misuse
When you drink too much alcohol (either heavy drinking or binge drinking) is associated with short-term and long-term consequences, including:
When excessive alcohol consumption replaces a healthy diet, leading to malnutrition, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can occur due to a thiamin deficiency. Symptoms include confusion, vision changes, exaggerated storytelling, amnesia, and hallucinations. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is serious and requires immediate treatment.
drug misuse and abuse
Drug misuse is defined as taking prescription medications in a different way than prescribed, including taking the incorrect dose, skipping dosages, or taking medicines not prescribed for you. Drug abuse is when drugs are misused to inflict self-harm or to get high. Drug abuse is synonymous with substance use disorder, and includes abuse of alcohol, illicit drugs, psychoactive substances, and prescription drugs.
physical effects of drug abuse
Drug abuse can result in adverse health consequences, including:
If you suspect or know you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, seek help. Whether you confide in a friend, call a hotline, or enroll in drug and alcohol rehab, taking steps to address your problem will help restore your health.
In the US, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA National Helpline) at 1-800-662-4357.
In the UK, check out this list of free helplines.
For other locations, search your country name with "free substance disorder helpline" to find help.
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