Is Alcohol Addicting as Other Drugs?

Is Alcohol Addicting as Other Drugs?


Many people have wanted to know at some point: is alcohol addicting as other drugs?  Is it easy to become addicted to alcohol, or is it more dangerous to experiment with other drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin?  What can you expect if you try all of them?  And so on.

Some people are probably born with a serious predisposition to alcoholism.  They are going to be alcoholic no matter what.  And, given the way our society as a whole treats alcohol and the various rites of passage when you are entering adulthood, it is pretty much a given that every single person is going to have a drink of alcohol, sooner or later.  Most kids end up trying alcohol at least once or twice before they are of legal drinking age anyway.

On the other hand, you have billions of people around the world who drink alcohol occasionally, and do not become addicted to it.  So what is the real truth?  How addictive is it?

Well there are some statistics out there and you can browse through charts on government websites and so on.  Many of them will have percentages, for every one thousand people who try a certain drug, how many become dependent on it?  And so on.  If you look at the chart pictured here (based on Government data), you will see that supposedly 11 percent of everyone who has tried alcohol has become dependent on it at some point.

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Now compare that to heroin and most people are probably scratching their heads, saying “Wait a minute….I thought heroin was extremely addictive?”

Now if this were a sheer numbers game then of course there are thousands of times more people who are exposed to alcohol than there are to heroin.  Very, very few people actually try heroin compared to the vast majority who will eventually try some form of booze in their life.  But these are percentages, not total numbers, so it is quite strange to see that the U.S. government is figuring that alcohol is actually more addictive than heroin.  Not sure on their methodology in this study but it does make one stop and wonder.

Certainly one thing you would want to do is to take pause if your family has a history of alcoholism or drug addiction in general.  Those are major red flags that you are likely to have a tendency towards addiction.  Does that mean with certainty that you will be an addict?  No.  But it does mean that you are more likely to develop alcoholism than someone who has no family history of addiction.

A chart like this should convince anyone that they are not playing it safe by justifying their alcohol abuse by the fact that they are not using other drugs.  It does not do much good to look down on “drug addicts” while you are gulping down half gallons of vodka and thinking you are somehow above the lowly drug addicts of the world.  I have news for you: alcohol IS a drug.  It is not like a drug, it is one.  It is a drug in liquid form.  And if you are addicted to alcohol, you are a drug addict whose drug of choice happens to be alcohol.

Smash the idea that alcohol is safer than alternatives.  Because of the way the buzz works, alcohol is actually a lot more dangerous than other drugs, in that so many people end up hurting themselves or others due to their drinking.  And of course, some do overdose on alcohol as well.  Just because we tend to use separate labels of “drugs and alcohol” does not mean that alcohol is not a drug (nor a safe one at that).

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