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Alcohol abuse and smoking cigarettes are two different addictions that when combined make a distinct medley of co-occurring substance abuse and back-and-forth addiction habits. Studies show that roughly more than 70% of those addicted to drugs and alcohol in the United States are addicted to more than one substance. The truth of this matter could not be more simply expressed than by the simple fact that, when people show up for treatment at drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers, they almost always state that they have multiple different addictions that they are trying to handle with rehab.
But what of alcohol abuse and smoking cigarettes? This is a topic that is almost never touched upon. Both alcohol and cigarettes are highly addictive and dangerous to the health of those who abuse them and to the health of those around them but this almost never gets any coverage because of how much money is to be made from the tobacco and alcohol industries. But just like someone who smokes marijuana and snorts cocaine or like someone who shoots heroin and takes prescription drugs, there is an intimate connection between smoking and drinking.
The Details on the Matter
Cigarettes are legal. Alcohol is legal. However, that does not mean that either of them are good for you. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Between smoking and alcohol, more Americans die from these substances than all other forms of preventable death in the United States combined. That includes car accidents, obesity, drug abuse, violent crime, and many others. Furthermore, alcohol abuse and tobacco abuse costs the nation over $400 billion every single year in collateral damage, emergency room visits, ambulance rides, lost work productivity, sick leave, unemployment, the deaths of others, crimes committed as a result, and countless other costly activities and consequences. There’s no doubt about it, these substances are dangerous when not handled properly.
The keynote here though is the very interesting relationship between alcohol and cigarettes. They literally play off of each other. When someone abuses alcohol, he or she will often have the notion to smoke a cigarette. Conversely, when somebody smokes a cigarette, they may also feel the urge to abuse alcohol. They are two addictions work in tandem. The truly concerning factor that comes about from this is the simple fact that this makes it much more difficult to rehabilitate people who are addicted to more than one thing. Even though cigarettes and alcohol are both legal, if one is severely and sorely addicted to both of them, it will be that much harder to get rehabilitated from one of them or both of them. He or she will always have that in the back of his or her mind that if he smokes a cigarette then he will want to drink or that if she drinks, she will want to smoke a cigarette.
• Almost a full 700,000 American youths between ages 12 and 17 battled an alcohol use disorder in the year of 2013, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, (NIAAA). Now, in 2016, there are over a million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 who are actually, legitimately addicted to drugs and alcohol.
• According to the NCADD, alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in America by far.
• In 2013, an estimated 16.6 million American adults, (18 and older that is), battled an alcohol use disorder of one degree of severity or another. Only about ten million Americans are addicted to drugs, and many of them abuse alcohol too.
• People use and abuse substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs for varied and complicated reasons that are not always clear, but what is clear is that our society pays a significant cost for this. The toll for this abuse can be seen in our hospitals and emergency departments both through direct damage to health by substance abuse and its link to physical trauma and in a big way too. Jails and prisons tally daily the strong connection between crime and drug dependence and abuse and it is an intimate connection that runs deep. Although use of some drugs such as cocaine has declined in recent years, use of other drugs such as heroin, crystal methamphetamine, and “club drugs”, and alcohol have increased and in a very devastating manner.
Rehabilitating People with Multiple Addictions
Just as is the case with any other addict, the key here is rehabilitation. By rehabilitation is meant not some short, noncommittal outpatient treatment. By rehabilitation is meant inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment centers, detoxification facilities, rehabilitation programs, and recovery organizations. Only these types of centers will do.
When someone is addicted to both alcohol and cigarettes and he or she has notices that both of these substances are having a very bad effect on him or her then the only solution is to go to an inpatient rehabilitation centre that can treat him or her for both addictions. He or she will have to be detoxed off of both of them, which means no more alcohol or cigarettes. He or she will also receive lots of different types of counseling therapies and modalities and techniques to get down to the bottom of why he or she wants to smoke and drink in the first place. This will stir up lots of things in the past as well as confront serious issues in the present time too. In the end, the individual will walk out of rehab totally rehabilitated from alcohol and cigarette addiction. Now it is up to them to apply what they learned in treatment to stay clean and sober from these two substances for the rest of their lives.
Beating addiction is not an easy thing to do. It never has been, or else there wouldn’t be so many people addicted to drugs and alcohol in this nation. However it is doable and even if someone is addicted to more than one thing, for them it is still something they can accomplish, they just have to work harder and takes more time to get the job done right. In the end though, one should never let the fact that he or she has multiple addictions stop him or her from seeking out the proper rehabilitation. With proper rehabilitation, anyone who is addicted to anything can go free once and for all and for good.