What Is Substance Use And Addiction
Many people use substances such as drugs or alcohol to relax, have fun, experiment, or cope with stressors, however, for some people the use of substances or engaging in certain behaviours can become problematic and may lead to dependence.
Addiction is a complex process where problematic patterns of substance use or behaviours can interfere with a persons life. Addiction can be broadly defined as a condition that leads to a compulsive engagement with a stimuli, despite negative consequences.i This can lead to physical and/or psychological dependence. Addictions can be either substance related or process-related, also known as behavioural addictions .ii Both can disrupt an individuals ability to maintain a healthy life, but there are numerous support and treatment options available.
A simple way of understanding and describing addiction is to use the 4Cs approach:
- Loss of control of amount or frequency of use
- Compulsion to use
- Continued substance use despite consequencesiii
How common is substance use and addiction?
Substance use is quite common on an international scale and statistics vary depending on the substance being consumed. It is estimated that nearly 5% of the worlds population have used an illicit substance, 240 million people around the world use alcohol problematically, and approximately 15 million people use injection drugs.iv
Cocaine And Alcohol Abuse
No different from addiction to other addictive substances, the effects of cocaine and alcohol addiction can be life-altering. This includes job loss, relationship strains, financial decline, health problems, and mental instability. Increased health problems may include stroke, seizure, heart disease, cardiovascular and respiratory complications. Alcohol and cocaine use has also been connected to cognitive disorders such as memory loss and decreased attention span. In addition, users who share paraphernalia, especially needles, are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis.
Cocaine intoxication and alcohol addiction can compromise judgment and decision-making and potentially lead to risky sexual behavior, including trading sex for drugs and needle sharing. This increases a cocaine users risk for contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C . There are no vaccines to prevent HIV or HCV infections.
Understanding The Addiction Cycle
Addiction tends to follow a pattern known as the addiction cycle. First the individual uses the substance, and if they enjoy the experience, they are motivated to use again, and again, initiating a pattern of misuse. As the individual begins to use more frequently, they enter the abuse phase of the cycle. They use the substance to escape reality or satisfy cravings as the body develops a tolerance and dependence to the substance. Soon the individual is addicted, with altered brain chemistry and structure, which causes them to make drug seeking and using the center of their life, despite the many mental, physical, emotional, social and financial consequences they may be suffering. They may attempt to quit, and they may even succeed, but addiction is very powerful, and can lead to relapse even after an individual is past the physical withdrawal phase of addiction. With relapse, the cycle of addiction begins again. Breaking this cycle will require professional rehab treatment.
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What Gateway Foundation Offers Clients
The effects of alcohol addiction impact all areas of life. When people are ready to make a significant change and work toward a lifetime of sobriety, alcohol treatment centers are ideal. Gateway offers clients a full continuum of care, which means that clients can find the programs that best fit their needs, their health and their schedules.
Clients can also expect to find a wide range of recovery strategies. From evidence-based to holistic, some of the most successful programs include:
What Happens When You Mix Alcohol And Cocaine
People usually associate both cocaine and alcohol with partying and nightlife. If someone is taking cocaine in a social situation where alcohol is present or vice versa, they may consume both. Cocaine and alcohol can lead to higher impulsivity and lower inhibitions, which can increase risk-taking. The combination of cocaine and alcohol can also cause people to take more of either or both drugs, which may lead to a drug overdose.
The combination of cocaine and alcohol increases the risk of severe effects compared with using just one or the other. Mixing cocaine with alcohol can produce severe and sometimes fatal side effects, such as:
- Alcohol and drug overdose
- Increased risk of HIV or hepatitis C through injecting cocaine
- Increased risk of suicide attempt
- Sudden death from cocaethylene toxicity
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Getting Help For Addictions
Addiction is a treatable condition. Whatever the addiction, there are lots of ways you can seek help. You could see your GP for advice or contact an organisation that specialises in helping people with addictions.
You can use the following online directories to find addiction treatment services in your area:
Heavy Drinkers Response To Alcohol
The release of endorphins in the brain and the compulsion to drink more to recreate that feeling is even more pronounced in those who drink heavily. The more they drink, the more endorphins are released, the happier they feel and the more likely they are to crave alcohol.
When cravings meet physical dependence, binge drinking or alcohol abuse turns into alcohol addiction.
But it may not just be the endorphins.
A study reported by BBC News says that drinking alcohol causes a release of dopamine, another happy chemical, as well. Again, the issue is that drinkers feel good when they drink the more they drink, the better they feel and they want to replicate that feeling when they can.
This makes binge drinking especially attractive to those who are functional , but binge drinking can quickly turn into alcohol addiction or be the cause of an accident that can be dangerous or deadly to the drinker or someone they care about.
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The Addictive Factors In Alcohol And Why It Prompts Alcohol And Drug Rehab
Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America today, but exactly what makes alcohol addictive? According to the NCADD, 17.6 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol dependence or chronic alcohol abuse. Thats about one in twelve adults, with many more engaging in unhealthy binge drinking habits that can develop into alcoholism.
If you have witnessed someone deal with alcohol use disorder, you know finding a way to help can be challenging. The truth is, people drink for different reasons, so there is not one single solution treatment that works for one patient may not work for another. Ultimately, both physical and psychological addictive factors come into play when overcoming addiction.
What Makes Alcohol Addictive: Physical vs Psychological Factors
Drinking alcohol stimulates the release of dopamine and endorphins within the brain. These are the chemicals that produce feelings of pleasure and satisfaction and act as a natural painkiller. Studies have shown that genetic factors come into play when determining how alcohol reacts in the brains of different people. Specifically, some peoples brains released more pleasure chemicals in response to alcohol, making them more susceptible to physical dependency.
People who are addicted to alcohol and suddenly stop drinking undergo a detoxification process that can have a number of physical and psychological symptoms. These include:
Why Do People Use Alcohol And Drugs
Because many drugs act on the brains pleasure pathways, the user experiences intense euphoria followed by related emotional highs. Cocaine, for example, induces feelings of empowerment, confidence, high self-esteem and increased energy. People might chase these perceived emotional benefits for a variety of reasons, including:
- Social: People use alcohol and drugs often as a way to fit in with a particular group or to feel more at ease in a social setting,
- Stress: Substance abuse may be a means to escape problems or a way to reduce stress. The role of stress in beginning drug use, continuing drug abuse, or relapse in recovering patients should be addressed and approached holistically.
- Psychological triggers: People suffering from anxiety disorders, trauma, depression or other psychological illnesses may begin using alcohol and drugs to reduce or numb personal distress. Individuals with alcohol or drug dependence are nearly twice as likely to have a co-occurring psychological disorder.
- Peer pressure: Some people, especially teenagers and adolescents, are vulnerable to group pressure or the rationale that everyone is doing it.
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What The World Says
Contrary to what the Bible says, the world believes that alcohol addiction is a physical disease. Heathline writes,
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a disease that affects people of all walks of life. Experts have tried to pinpoint factors like genetics, sex, race, or socioeconomics that may predispose someone to alcohol addiction. But it has no single cause. Psychological, genetic, and behavioral factors can all contribute to having the disease. Its important to note that alcoholism is a real disease. It can cause changes to the brain and neurochemistry, so a person with an alcohol addiction may not be able to control their actions.
Why Is It So Difficult To Diagnose Substance Abuse Disorders
Substance use disorders can be difficult to diagnose because people may be unaware that they are suffering from a disorder and in need of help. This may be due to poor insight or denial, which is a refusal to acknowledge something that is actually happening. Shame and fear of stigma can also prevent people from reaching out for help and can lead to minimizing drug and alcohol use. Without accurate information from an individual, professionals can have a hard time determining if a person has a problem with substances.
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Government Agencies Clinical Trials And More
National Institute on Drug Abuse . Use this fact sheet to learn more information on the most recent and comprehensive treatment options for drug abuse and addiction.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration operates a confidential, 24-hour treatment referral helpline 1-800-662-HELP to help people find treatment programs and other assistance. You can also use SAMHSAs online resource Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator forfinding mental health treatment facilities and programsin your state.
National Institute of Mental Health, is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMHs website has the latest research, news, and statistics on addiction and related mental health disorders, and you can explore the idea of participating in an upcoming clinical trial for finding new and better treatments.
Clinical Trials Network . If youre interested in participating in a clinical trial or learning more about upcoming clinical trials, you can find one via the Clinical Trials Network.
Alcoholics Anonymous . Find a local AA meeting near you.
Narcotics Anonymous . Find a local NA meeting near you.
Why Is Alcohol Addictive Study Offers Clues
Research Could Lead to More Focused Medications for Heavy Drinkers
Jan. 11, 2012 — We know alcohol makes many people feel good, and that it affects the brain, but new research goes a step further by tightening the focus on areas of the brain most likely affected by alcohol.
Investigators say they have identified specific differences in how the so-called reward center of the brain responds to alcohol in heavy and light drinkers.
In both groups, drinking alcohol caused the release of naturally occurring feel-good opioids known as endorphins in two key brain regions associated with reward processing.
But heavy drinkers released more endorphins in response to alcohol, and they reported feeling more intoxicated than the lighter drinkers after drinking the same amount of alcohol. Learn more about the effects of alcohol on the brain.
The findings suggest that people whose brains release more natural opioids in response to alcohol may get more pleasure out of drinking and may be more likely to drink too much and become alcoholics, researcher Jennifer M. Mitchell, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, says.
Greater endorphin release was associated with more hazardous drinking, Mitchell says. We believe this is an important step in understanding where and how alcohol acts in the brain.
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How Addictions Can Affect You
The strain of managing an addiction can seriously damage your work life and relationships. In the case of substance misuse , an addiction can have serious psychological and physical effects.
Some studies suggest a person’s risk of becoming addicted is partly genetic, but environmental factors, such as being around other people with addictions, are also thought to increase the risk.
Behaviours such as substance misuse can be a way of blocking out difficult issues. Unemployment and poverty can trigger addiction, along with stress and emotional or professional pressure.
Alcohol Dependence Can Contribute To Mental Health Problems
Anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings can all develop when youre alcohol dependent. This is because regular, heavy drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.
Being dependent on alcohol can affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. It might mean you dont perform so well at work and if that continues for any length of time you could face losing your job, leading to financial problems as well. These issues can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Alcohol can also make you more aggressive. If you use alcohol to try and improve your mood, you may be starting a vicious cycle.
If you think your mental health is suffering because of your drinking, but you feel youre not able to stop, ask for professional help. Start with a visit to your GP or by contacting one of the organisations listed at the end of this page.
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How To Get Help For Alcohol Addiction
There are multiple ways to get help from alcohol dependence, including treatment, medication, and behavioral intervention. Often, the user is one of the last to recognize or realize his or her use is a problem, often thinking I have this under control. Once an alcohol use disorder has developed, however, it can be extremely to quit without help. Fortunately, there are ways to get help.
Ethanol is abused at a higher rate than any other drug among treatment program attendees, as reported by a 2017 survey from Recovery Brands. Nearly 70% of people who took the survey went to treatment to get help with a drinking problem, and a surprising 52.87% of those who responded reported seeking treatment for a problem with alcohol more than any other substance. No matter how many substances of abuse there are, the one that causes the most extensive harm is ethanol. Fortunately, alcohol abuse treatment is only a phone call away. Speak with our recovery support specialists at Who Answers?
How Does Alcohol Become Addictive
Alcohol consumption is usually a social activity. People drink because their friends, coworkers, and family are drinking. Therein lies the problem Drinking produces a sort of high that we begin craving. Whether its the feeling of fitting in, being the center of attention, forgetting about their problems for a while, or simply numbing any pain you feel, those feelings can become addictive.
The more you feed into these feelings by drinking, the higher your tolerance levels get. This begins a vicious cycle of needing more and more alcohol to reach the level that youre used to.
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Cocaine And Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Detox encourages healing in a safe, comfortable environment and provides resources for withdrawal that lessen negative symptoms. With a staff of trained practitioners and caretakers, We Level Up TX gives the ability to detox under the careful eye of professionals.
In addition, We Level Up TX works to maximize comfort, offering over-the-counter and prescription medications as needed, psychological care, and personal support to encourage abstinence from cocaine and other drugs, both today and for years to come.
We Level Up TX addiction rehabilitation center offers 24-hour detox with a medical professional to ensure you withdraw safely, followed by treatment and aftercare planning. If youre battling a substance use disorder with cocaine or alcohol, please reach out to one of our admissions navigators at We Level Up TX.
Following the completion of a detox program, several different treatment options help individuals who have been struggling with addiction. Care can be provided on inpatient services and at various levels of care. Your addiction treatment team will recommend levels of care depending on your current progress in recovery, your experience with addiction and recovery, your motivation, and your home situation.
Contact us today if you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine and alcohol, we can help you explore addiction treatment options and how you can start with recovery.
Mixing Cocaine And Alcohol
The combination of cocaine and alcohol is popular among drug users, perhaps because of more intense feelings of high beyond that perceived with either drug alone, less intense feelings of alcohol-induced inebriation, and tempering of discomfort when coming down from a cocaine high. Cocaine addiction consistently antagonizes the learning deficits, psychomotor performance deficits, and driving deficits induced by alcohol.
The combination of alcohol and cocaine tends to have greater-than-additive effects on heart rate, concomitant with up to 30% increased blood cocaine levels. More importantly, retrospective data suggest that the combination can potentiate the tendency towards violent thoughts and threats, which may lead to an increase in violent behaviors.
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Signs Of Alcohol Or Other Drug Dependence
Some signs that you may have an alcohol or other drug problem are:
- changed eating or sleeping habits
- caring less about your appearance
- spending more time with people who drink or use drugs to excess
- missing appointments, classes or work commitments
- losing interest in activities that you used to love
- getting in trouble in school, at work or with the law
- getting into more arguments with family and friends
- friends or family asking you if you have a substance abuse problem
- relying on drugs or alcohol to have fun or relax
- having blackouts
- drinking or using drugs when you are alone
- keeping secrets from friends or family
- finding you need more and more of the substance to get the same feeling.
Often it is family and friends who first recognise that a person they care about has an alcohol or drug problem. They may have noticed them acting differently being withdrawn, always tired, increasingly hostile or easily upset. They may ask the person straight out if they have a problem.
If that happens to you, you might feel threatened or criticised. Try to remember that theyre trying to look out for your wellbeing. A positive first step would be to listen, reflect, and be honest with yourself about what they had to say.