Alcohol misuse is when you drink in a way that's harmful, or when you're dependent on alcohol. To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.
- half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)
- a single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)
What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a disease that affects people of all walks of life. Psychological, genetic, and behavioural factors can all contribute to having the disease.
It is 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.
Alcohol addiction can show itself in a variety of ways. The severity of the disease, how often someone drinks, and the alcohol they consume varies from person to person. Some people drink heavily all day, while others binge drink and then stay sober for a while.
Regardless of how the addiction looks, someone typically has an alcohol addiction if they heavily rely on drinking and cannot stay sober for an extended period of time (Healthline.com website).
Risks of alcohol misuse
The short-term risks of alcohol misuse (as detailed on the NHS.org website) include:
- accidents and injuries requiring hospital treatment, such as a head injury
- violent behaviour and being a victim of violence
- unprotected sex that could potentially lead to unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- loss of personal possessions, such as wallets, keys or mobile phones
- alcohol poisoning – this may lead to vomiting, fits (seizures) and falling unconscious
According to the NHS.org website, persistent alcohol misuse increases your risk of serious health conditions, including:
- heart disease
- liver disease
- liver cancer
- bowel cancer
- mouth cancer
- breast cancer
Drug abuse is something that can affect people from all backgrounds. Anyone can be affected, regardless of gender, age, race, education, wealth, and religion. While taking drugs for the first time is generally down to choice, nobody does so with the intent of becoming addicted. Most are of the opinion that they will just ‘try it once’ to see what all the fuss is about. Some people are able to experiment out of curiosity and then never touch drugs again, but others like the feelings they get and become hooked after their very first try.
Unlike other types of addiction such as gambling or sex addiction, there are some very obvious signs of drug abuse that are typically noticeable to those closest to the individual (Recovery.org.uk website).
Recognising the signs of drug abuse
Although the signs of drug abuse vary depending on the drug being abused, there are some common symptoms that indicate a problem may exist. These can include:
- Severe mood swings where the person is depressed one minute and then suddenly becomes happy and carefree
- Becoming increasingly isolated and withdrawn and spending more and more time alone
- Neglecting personal hygiene and grooming
- Losing interest in activities and hobbies that he or she previously enjoyed
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Glassy or watery eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose.