The Disadvantages of Alcohol & Drugs

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People use alcohol and drugs for a number of reasons, but there are disadvantages to drug and alcohol use. If you think you might need to stop using alcohol or drugs due to negative effects, consider seeing a therapist that specializes in substance-abuse issues or attending a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.


Use of alcohol and many drugs can lead to addiction. Often, addiction occurs at least in part because these substances trigger a release of dopamine in the brain, which feels good. A person begins to crave more and more alcohol or drugs to get that good feeling. Once someone becomes addicted, his life begins to revolve around alcohol or drugs and he cannot stop using them. He continues to use alcohol or drugs despite numerous negative consequences. Many addicts require professional help to stop using alcohol or drugs.


Many drugs and alcohol can lead to withdrawal symptoms when a heavy user attempts to stop using. Symptoms vary from drug to drug. For instance, symptoms of opiate withdrawal include anxiety, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include shakiness, nausea, hallucinations and seizures. Addicts may need medical treatment during the withdrawal process.

Health Consequences

Alcohol and drug use has many negative health consequences. For instance, excessive alcohol use can cause damage to the liver and pancreas, ulcers, diabetes and heart problems. Cocaine use can cause holes in the nasal cartilage, lung damage, ulcers, kidney failure and heart attacks.

Mood Changes

Alcohol and drugs cause mood changes. Some people like some of the mood changes. For instance, they may feel happy or even euphoric. They may feel relaxed. Alcohol and drugs can cause unpleasant mood changes, too, though. Alcohol and many drugs can lead to depression. Some drugs cause anxiety, irritability or even paranoia. These mood changes can create problems in relationships and on the job.

Adults can use alcohol legally and people can also use prescription drugs legally as long as they use them as prescribed. Many drugs are illegal, though. People who use illegal drugs, people who drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and people who use prescription drugs improperly can face legal problems, including fines, the loss of a driver’s license and jail time. People may also lose their jobs if they fail drug tests at work.