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Alcohol and drug abuse
Alcohol and drug use in men often begin early in their lives, during the teen or young adult years. The reasons men begin drinking too much or using drugs vary, and the path from casual, social use to abuse and addiction is complex. What we do know is that abusing alcohol and drugs is very harmful — not only to you, but to the people in your life.
Anything more than moderate drinking can be risky. For a man, moderate drinking is considered two drinks a day. Years of heavy drinking can lead to heart disease, cancer, and other health problems. Binge drinking, which is drinking five or more drinks at one time, can be especially dangerous.
Consider these risks of drinking too much or using drugs:
- Depression, anxiety, suicide
- Violence, often against loved ones
- Risky sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners
- Employment problems
- Health problems, including cancer and HIV
- Addiction, which is a disease described by uncontrollable cravings and physical dependence
In the moment, it may seem like a good idea to use drugs or alcohol to get high, relax, or escape. But alcohol and drug abuse can soon cause serious problems. Fortunately, substance abuse disorders are also treatable. If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, seek help from your doctor or a treatment facility. With treatment, it's possible to not only regain your health, but also restore the relationships that matter to you.
Explore other publications and websites
Consequences of the Abuse of Anabolic Steroids — This message from the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse warns about the serious dangers of using anabolic steroids to enhance athletic performance and build muscle mass.
Hormone Abuse (Copyright © The Hormone Foundation) — This site provides an overview of hormone abuse, specifically steroid abuse, and discusses the health risks and psychological effects of abusing steroids.
NIDA InfoFacts: Steroids (Anabolic-Androgenic) — This fact sheet discusses the health hazards of abusing anabolic steroids, the extent of abuse, and treatment methods that exist.
NIDA InfoFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction — This fact sheet provides information on research findings and effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction.
NIDA InfoFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction — This fact sheet explains some of the myths about people who use and abuse drugs, genetic and environmental factors that play a role in drug use, and treatment options.
Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol and Your Health — If you drink alcohol, this pamphlet can help you determine how much is too much and what to do if you're thinking about a change. It offers statistics on alcohol use, a checklist of symptoms for an alcohol use disorder, and a list of further resources.
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator — This website will help you locate a substance abuse treatment facility in your area.
Taking Medicines Safely After Alcohol or Drug Abuse Recovery: Your Doctor Can Help (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) — This fact sheet discusses the important role a doctor can play in one's recovery from alcohol or drug abuse. A doctor can recommend and prescribe medications, and offer counseling and partnership on the road to recovery.
Connect with other organizations
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), SAMHSA, OPHS, HHS
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH, HHS
National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, HHS
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Task Force on College Drinking, NIAAA, NIH
Content last updated January 10, 2011.
Resources last updated January 10, 2011.
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