Are Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Different?
All addictive drugs share the same essential experience: a high brought on by spiking dopamine in the brain’s Reward System. So, while there are some differences between alcoholism and drug addiction — some drugs like alcohol and prescription drugs are legal while others are not; intravenous drug abusers use syringes, while alcoholics don’t — all addictions have much more in common than ways they differ.
This may seem counter-intuitive. After all, heroin is a depressant. Heroin addicts “nod out.” Methamphetamine, on the other hand, is a stimulant keeping users awake and hyper. So how can they be the same? The answer, scientists say, is that the high is the same, while the side effects of different drugs differ depending on the ways the drug works in the brain, particularly the way it affects parts of the brain not involved in the dopamine system.
Accordingly, this website uses the word “addict” to describe alcoholics as well as those addicted to prescription and illegal drugs.
For a more on this subject click on Why All Drug Highs Are Essentially The Same.
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