Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused substance in the world, with over 15 million Americans suffering from alcohol dependence or abuse and over 3 million deaths worldwide resulting from harmful use of alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are integrated to many social events, and it is generally considered socially acceptable to drink in moderation.However, various factors can cause users to become addicted to alcohol which results in alcohol dependence among other psychological and physical determents. Drinking alcohol over long periods can cause long term health effects but does not cause permanent damage if managed in moderation. Alcohol also does not cause brain damage or kill brain cells as is commonly believed. Regardless, due to the accessibility of alcohol and the social position it holds, it is considered one of the most addictive substances and is omnipresent throughout the world in many age groups (including minors). Alcohol addiction or dependence causes various psychological issues and damages social relationships and structure. Despite the general acceptance of alcohol in society, addicts are generally viewed with disdain and contempt which hinders their progress to recovery. Those suffering from alcohol dependency generally overcome it with the assistance of support groups and programmes such as alcohol addiction Brisbane.
Addictive Nature of Alcohol
A substance is considered highly addictive based on its reinforcing nature. That is, the quality which prompts people to keep using the substance as opposed to how much pleasure the usage brings. Alcohol elevates the senses and lowers inhibitions, allowing people to feel relaxed and euphoric. It also numbs physical pain and mental stress, which makes it popular among those suffering from either.
Alcohol addiction may be catalysed by other factors such as anxiety, depression, hormone imbalance, brain chemistry etc. which results in the exact limit or cause of addiction being difficult to determine. Some alcohol addicts are also able to function relatively normally despite their dependency, allowing them to maintain an illusion of sobriety. This is, however, the best case as most addicts are not high-functioning and struggle to maintain their initial behaviour while using alcohol. Many addicts are unable concentrate, become irritable, drive under influence, or become violent which can cause the issue to spiral out of control quickly as all of this can lead to loss of employment, social connections which can cause anxiety, stress and depression which reinforces the dependency on alcohol.
Compared to other drugs
The same factors which cause alcohol dependency can also cause an individual to become dependent on other drugs. Therefore, individuals who use either can become addicted to the other. This is much more harmful than using one or the other as the substances can interact with each other and cause unpredictable or perhaps, life threatening side effects. There is no definitive answer to whether alcohol is more or less addictive compared to drugs like cannabis, but they can be identified in terms of harmfulness to health. The illegality of most of these drugs increase the risk of consumption despite having less severe health effects than alcohol.