Drug Abuse vs Substance Abuse: Signs of Addiction

difference between drugs and alcohol

The type of drug prescribed depends on many factors, including the phase of treatment a person is in. While different types of substances can cause various signs and symptoms, being addicted to any type of substance results in the same action on the addiction center in the brain. Risky drinking is drinking in ways that are likely to lead to trauma or adverse health effects, including alcoholism. Examples of risky drinking include drinking while underage, while taking medication, while engaging in mobile activities, or while having a strong family history of alcoholism. The more of these signs or symptoms a person struggles with, the greater their substance use disorder.

  • You can’t watch television without seeing at least one beer, wine, or liquor commercial, promising alcohol will make you the most popular and desirable man or woman at any party.
  • Methamphetamine withdrawal is not typically life-threatening, but it can be difficult to manage without professional support.
  • Use disorders are now considered diseases and treated as such.


Usually a dependency is resolved by slowly tapering off the use of a particular substance. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease defined by a physical and psychological dependence on drugs, alcohol, or a behavior. A person with an addiction will often pursue their toxic habits despite putting themselves or others in harm’s way.

Treatment gap for substance use disorders

If you have struggled with an alcohol use disorder, or witnessed someone you love struggle with alcohol dependence, you know how powerful alcohol is as a drug. It may seem like reaching out for help can be challenging; however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are many inpatient and outpatient treatment centers available to help you or your loved one overcome their addiction to alcohol and begin the road to recovery.

  • However, it’s worth noting that methamphetamine use has been increasing in recent years, with a 43% increase in the number of past-month methamphetamine users between 2015 and 2020, according to NSDUH data.
  • Research has found that marijuana can have serious short-term and long-term health risks.
  • According to Addiction Center, some of the effects of depressants are delayed reaction time, poor coordination, slurred speech, lessened inhibitions, cognitive impairments and distorted perception or judgment.
  • Our addiction treatment programs can be completed online; you only need a mobile device or a laptop.
  • Alcohol is classified as a drug because it interferes with normal bodily functioning.

How to Prevent Substance Use

When a person consumes a substance such as drugs or alcohol, the brain produces large amounts of dopamine; this triggers the brain’s reward system. After repeated drug use, the brain is unable to produce normal amounts https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/how-to-write-a-goodbye-letter-to-addiction/ of dopamine on its own. This means addicted people may struggle to find enjoyment in pleasurable activities, like spending time with friends or family, when they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

difference between drugs and alcohol

Risks of Substance Misuse

  • A person with SUD will continue to misuse substances despite the harmful effects it can have on their life and health.
  • If you have tried to quit or cut back on your own and found you could not do so, you may want to try other options and learn more about treatment for substance use.
  • By Buddy TBuddy T is a writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism.

Your primary doctor can provide a reference to a specialist, if needed. Cultural, social, religious, historical, and legal factors can also play a role in determining what forms of substance use are acceptable. For difference between drugs and alcohol example, public laws determine which substances are legal or illegal, and how much of a substance can be legally consumed. Additionally, some cultures discourage the use of certain substances and permit others.

Can you mix alcohol with methamphetamine?

If you are one of them, know you are not alone — and that many treatment options exist to help you overcome your addiction. No one expects to develop an addiction when they begin experimenting. But continued experimentation can lead to addiction, often unknowingly to the individual using the substance. The terms “addiction” and “dependence” are often confused or used interchangeably. While there is some overlap, it’s important to understand the major differences between the two. Regardless of the specific type of substance a person is using, there will be similar signs and symptoms.

difference between drugs and alcohol

How Legality Impacts Addictions

difference between drugs and alcohol

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