Deadly Habits; Drugs, Tobacco and Alcohol

200 Million People Worldwide Use Illegal Drugs, Study Says

An estimated 200 million people worldwide use illegal drugs, according to a new study. The health consequences of this use are wide-ranging, researchers report this week in The Lancet.

They include

  • overdose,
  • dependence,
  • violence or injury due to intoxication, as well as
  • heart disease,
  • mental disorders and
  • cirrhosis.

The Los Angeles Times reports that

  • 125 to 203 million people use marijuana,
  • 14 million to 56 million use amphetamines,
  • 12 million to 21 million use opioids, and
  • 14 million to 21 million use cocaine.

In addition, 11 million to 21 million inject drugs. An estimated 15 million to 39 million are considered problem drug users, the article notes.

Illegal drug use is highest in developed countries, the researchers found. They point out that many people who use illegal drugs take more than one drug.

The major adverse health effects of marijuana are dependence, and probably psychotic disorders and other mental disorders, the researchers conclude. They say that marijuana is unlikely to be deadly.

Drugs caused 2.1 million years of life lost in 2004, followed by alcohol, which caused a loss of 1.5 million years, according to the World Health Organization. Drug-related deaths tend to strike younger people, accounting for the higher number of years of life lost compared with other causes of death.

Overall,

  • illegal drugs led to 250,000 deaths in that year, compared with
  • 5.1 million deaths due to tobacco, and
  • 2.25 million due to alcohol.

From Join Together

Alcohol-Related Deaths

ALCOHOL REPORTS: Indicator Report – Alcohol-Related Deaths.

Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to many different poor health outcomes. Chronic heavy drinking (defined as drinking more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women) contributes to a variety of alcohol-related chronic diseases, including liver cirrhosis and alcohol dependence.

Episodic heavy (or binge) drinking (defined as drinking five or more drinks on a single occasion for men and four or more drinks on a single occasion for women) contributes to a variety of alcohol-related injuries, including motor vehicle crashes, poisonings, falls, homicides, and suicides.

Full story at; Alcohol-Related Deaths.

The Late Stage of Alcoholism

Grapes and Wine 122 The Disease of Alcoholism

There are, and have been, many theories about alcoholism. The most prevailing theory, and now most commonly accepted, is called the Disease Model.

Its basic tenets are that alcoholism is a disease with recognizable symptoms, causes, and methods of treatment. In addition, there are several stages of the disease which are often described as early, middle, late, treatment and relapse.

While it is not essential to fully define these stages, it is useful to understand them in terms of how the disease presents itself.

This series of articles describes the signs and symptoms of each stage as well as exploring treatment options.

  1. Early or Adaptive Stage
  2. Middle Stage
  3. Late Stage
  4. Treating Alcoholism
  5. Relapse to drinking

3 – The Late Stage of Alcoholism

The late, or deteriorative stage, is best identified as the point at which the damage to the body from the toxic effects of alcohol is evident, and the alcoholic is suffering from a host of ailments.

An alcoholic in the final stages may be destitute, extremely ill, mentally confused, and drinking almost constantly. The alcoholic in this stage is suffering from many physical and psychological problems due to the damage to vital organs. His or her immunity to infections is lowered, and the employee’s mental condition is very unstable.

Some of the very serious medical conditions the alcoholic faces at this point include heart failure, fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, malnutrition, pancreatitis, respiratory infections, and brain damage, some of which is reversible.

Why does an alcoholic continue to drink despite the known facts about the disease and the obvious adverse consequences of continued drinking? The answer to this question is quite simple. In the early stage, the alcoholic does not consider himself or herself sick because his or her tolerance is increasing. In the middle stage, the alcoholic is unknowingly physically dependent on alcohol. He or she simply finds that continuing to use alcohol will prevent the problems of withdrawal. By the time an alcoholic is in the late stage, he or she is often irrational, deluded, and unable to understand what has happened.

In addition to the effects of these changes, the alcoholic is faced with one of the most powerful facets of addiction: denial. An alcoholic will deny that he or she has a problem. This denial is a very strong force. If an alcoholic did not deny the existence of a problem, he or she would most likely seek help when faced with the overwhelming problems caused by drinking. While denial is not a diagnosable physical symptom or psychiatric disorder, it is an accurate description of the state of the alcoholic’s behavior and thinking and is very real.

See also;

  1. Early or Adaptive Stage of Alcoholism
  2. Middle Stage of Alcoholism
  3. Late Stage
  4. Treating Alcoholism
  5. Relapse to drinking