Is There a Difference between Drinking and Doing Drugs?

The public often distinguishes between drug and alcohol abuse. This is largely due to alcohol being legal rather than on the properties of different drugs. In other words, drugs are bad, and thereby illegal; since alcohol is legal it must be safer. According to this logic drinking is not the same as using drugs, but this is far from the truth.

Alcohol Is a Drug

Alcohol is a drug. Specifically, alcohol is in the sedative/hypnotic class of drugs that includes barbiturates and benzodiazepines like Ambien, Klonopin, Valium and Xanax. Addiction experts consider this class of drugs to be especially problematic as sedatives produce devastate health and create severe addictions, extreme and long-lasting withdrawal symptoms and strong addictive behavior. Addictions to these drugs are grueling to treat.

Alcohol is highly addictive and can produce a strong physical dependence. In advanced cases of alcoholism, stopping use can result in severe withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening. A sure sign of physical dependency is if a user experiences withdrawal symptoms (such as cravings, tremors or sweating) when going without alcohol. The most severe withdrawal symptoms include seizures and hallucinations. At this stage quitting drinking without professional help is extremely difficult, likely to fail and may even be dangerous. Many alcoholics require professional treatment to quit.

Heavy, chronic alcohol consumption destroys your health and can lead to permanent, possibly fatal liver damage. Alcohol overdose can result in death. Combining alcohol with other drugs, especially opiates or other sedatives, is extremely dangerous and can easily result in death. Alcohol cripples judgment and motor skills, and it contributes to a huge percentage of accidents resulting in injury and/or death.

Benefits of Treatment for Alcoholism

Those who drink too much at social engagements may be able to quit or control their drinking on their own, but professional treatment will increase the chances of recovery. In these cases outpatient counseling may be sufficient. On the other hand, those with full-blown alcoholism will require professional, inpatient treatment. Professional, inpatient treatment can create the following benefits for any alcoholic:

  • Medically supervised detox to monitor the patient’s condition and ensure her safety during this potentially dangerous process
  • Detox in a secure environment in which it will be impossible to relapse
  • Access to mental health professionals to help deal with the depression that may occur during withdrawal
  • Individual and group counseling to address psychological and behavioral issues related to alcoholism
  • The support and empathy of fellow patients who are going through the same experiences
  • Long-term follow-up counseling to help patients reintegrate into society and maintain sobriety in an alcohol-soaked culture

Help for Drug or Alcohol Abuse

We can answer any questions you may have and help you find the treatment you need. Our helpline is toll free and we are available 24 hours a day. Call us now to begin your recovery today.