DR.J & COLLEAGUES

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Doctor's Desk

Alcohol & Drug Misuse 

According to a national survey in the UK, more than half of the total population currently consumes Alcohol, among which an estimated 586,780 are alcohol dependents. Only 18% of these Alcoholics are actually receiving treatment. 

Seeking professional help for alcohol dependence or any other drug is just as important as getting treated for mental health issues. Like bipolar disorder or depression, substance addiction also induces a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is why it is hard to quit for some people as they cannot tolerate withdrawals and relapse. Getting professional help for substance dependence can help you win the long battle against addiction.

People usually drink or take drugs to release stress and overcome their emotions. Some people do this to find an escape from their problems and eventually get addicted. Some triggering factors for substance dependence are:

  • Emotional breakdown 

  • Emotional distress

  • Financial struggle

  • Alcohol abuse

  • Mental relapse

  • Mental health disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety

Symptoms And Side Effects 

Besides affecting the chemical imbalance, alcohol or drug misuse changes the brain itself. Here are the side effects of long-term drinking include on the human brain:

Slows Central Nervous System – Alcohol dependence has many adverse side effects on both physical and mental health. Alcohol slows down messages between the brain and the body, eventually slowing down your central nervous system.

Prefrontal–striatal–limbic circuit – Alcohol harms this part of the brain that controls decision-making, stress, and emotions. 

Ventral striatum – This part of the brain gets damaged and reduces the production of the feel-good chemical called dopamine, making you feel moody and depressed.

Prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal cortex – People with a drinking problem have fewer brain cells or grey matter – thus, affecting their decision-making abilities. 

Some other side effects of alcohol or drug misuse are:

Heart and Liver Diseases – Drinking a lot of alcohol over a long time or too much at a single time will cause heart and liver damage. Some other side effects include blood pressure, stroke, ulcer, and liver cancer. 

Pancreatitis – Drinking a lot of alcohol also causes abnormal digestive enzymes in the pancreas that leads to inflammation and results in pancreatitis. Pancreatitis has serious health complications.

Personal Life – Other than medical issues, people with a drinking problem face problems in different aspects of their personal life such as career, relationships, and finances.

Treatment

Treatment of Alcohol or drug misuse seems pretty simple: Quit. But it is easier said than done. Many people try again and again but fail to give up their dependence. The only way to truly get rid of this addiction is by reaching a professional. Since both drugs and alcohol affect the mind, getting help from a professional Psychiatrist is very important

A consultant psychiatrist will diagnose and treat the causes of drug abuse and alcoholism. They will help evaluate your mental health and find the triggering factor. They also provide assistance throughout the treatment and help you stay focused on your journey. Joining AA groups and meetings is also very effective in treating alcoholics.