Alcoholism drugs to treat. What are drug and alcohol problems?, Barnardos Ireland

Parental Drug and Alcohol Problems Alcoholism drugs.

What are drug and alcohol problems? 

Drug or alcohol problems (sometimes also called substance abuse or misuse) is a pattern of harmful behaviour involving the misuse or overuse of substances for mood-altering purposes. This means that the drug or alcohol changes how a person behaves or feels.

In order to understand drug and alcohol use, it is important to be clear about what we mean by the terms ‘drugs’ and ‘alcohol‘ and what are the differences and similarities between them.

Drugs are chemicals which, when taken into our bodies, affect how our body works or how we think, feel and behave.

Some drugs are legal, such as caffeine, tobacco/nicotine and alcohol.

Legal drugs also include medicines that are available over the counter in a chemist or prescribed by a doctor. A person can misuse these drugs by taking them in a way which they are not supposed to be used or in amounts not prescribed by their doctor.

Define alcoholism drugs

Other drugs like cannabis, cocaine, ectasy and heroin are illegal. These drugs have loads of nicknames such as hash, weed, smack, coke, Es, pills, etc.

Drugs such as those found in ‘head shops’ or those available on the internet are often referred to as head shop drugs. These products are now easier to access and may include incense blends, smoking mixes or party pills. They are unsafe and can have very serious consequences for the user.

People also sometimes abuse inhalers and solvents.

Alcohol is also a drug. It changes the way we feel and think. In Ireland, it is legal for adults over 18 years to buy and drink alcohol. It is against the law for anyone under 18 years to be sold alcohol. There are many different types of alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine and spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin etc.).

Poly drug use or dual use is when two or more drugs are used together, or when problem drinking is combined with problem drug use.

Drinking on drugs

The majority of people who drink alcohol do so in a social way which does not have a negative effect on the person or their family life. People drink to socialise, ‘get in the mood’, have fun and relax. Alcohol acts as a sedative, which means it will make you more chilled out or relaxed.

However, the bad news is that too much of it can take away a person's judgement and affect the decisions they make.

Sometimes people drink alcohol to forget their problems and help them to cope, but this does not work. The problems will still be there when they have stopped drinking and may even be worse.

Did You Know…?

Alcohol, as well as many other legal and illegal drugs, can be addictive.

Many people who take an alcoholic drink will lead normal, unaffected lives. However, for some, their drinking can get out of control, their use of alcohol increases and they can become binge drinkers or become addicted (sometimes called alcoholism).

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