How can alcohol affect relationships
SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA
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SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
Also visit the online treatment locator.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.
The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.
English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.
In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.
No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.
What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. Answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different types of treatment, and recovery. Addresses concerns of children of parents with substance use/abuse problems.
It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.
After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.
Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.
For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.
Last Updated: 08/30/2022
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
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Switch to Chrome, Edge, Firefox or SafariMisusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
- In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (i.e., current alcohol users) (2020 NSDUH)
- Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61. 6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)
- The percentage of people who were past month binge alcohol users was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (31.4%) compared with 22.9% of adults aged 26 or older and 4.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
- The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 139.7 million Americans age 12 or older were past month alcohol users, 65.8 million people were binge drinkers in the past month, and 16 million were heavy drinkers in the past month
- About 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2019 drank alcohol in the past month, and 1.2 million of these adolescents binge drank in that period (2019 NSDUH)
- Approximately 14.5 million people age 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder (2019 NSDUH)
- Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of stroke, liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, cancer, and other serious health conditions
- Excessive alcohol use can also lead to risk-taking behavior, including driving while impaired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver daily
- STOP Underage Drinking interagency portal - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
- Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
- Talk. They Hear You.
- Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts
- Talking with your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol
- National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
- Department of Transportation Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance
- Alcohol Policy Information Systems Database (APIS)
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- In 2020, 20.7% of people aged 12 or older (or 57. 3 million people) used nicotine products (i.e., used tobacco products or vaped nicotine) in the past month (2020 NSDUH)
- Among past month users of nicotine products, nearly two thirds of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (63.1%) vaped nicotine but did not use tobacco products. In contrast, 88.9% of past month nicotine product users aged 26 or older used only tobacco products (2020 NSDUH)
- Data from the 2019 NSDUH reports that 58.1 million people were current (i.e., past month) tobacco users. Specifically, 45.9 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 were past month cigarette smokers (2019 NSDUH)
- Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, often leading to lung cancer, respiratory disorders, heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States
- The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health reports that more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking cigarettes
Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use data:
- Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Among both middle and high school students, current use of e-cigarettes declined from 2019 to 2020, reversing previous trends and returning current e-cigarette use to levels similar to those observed in 2018
- E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women, especially because they contain nicotine and other chemicals
- Tips for Teens: Tobacco
- Tips for Teens: E-cigarettes
- Implementing Tobacco Cessation Programs in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Settings
- Synar Amendment Program
- Truth Initiative
- FDA Center for Tobacco Products
- CDC Office on Smoking and Health
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Tobacco, Nicotine, and E-Cigarettes
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: E-Cigarettes
- Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 3.4% (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year. Among the 9.5 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 9.3 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 902,000 people used heroin (2020 NSDUH)
- An estimated 745,000 people had used heroin in the past year, based on 2019 NSDUH data
- In 2019, there were 10.1 million people age 12 or older who misused opioids in the past year. The vast majority of people misused prescription pain relievers (2019 NSDUH)
- An estimated 1.6 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder based on 2019 NSDUH data
- Opioid use, specifically injection drug use, is a risk factor for contracting HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The CDC reports that people who inject drugs accounted for 9 percent of HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2016
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Understanding the Epidemic, an average of 128 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose
- Medication-Assisted Treatment
- Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
- TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
- Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings
- Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy
- Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants
- The Facts about Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction
- Pregnancy Planning for Women Being Treated for Opioid Use Disorder
- Tips for Teens: Opioids
- Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants
- Tribal Opioid Response Grants
- Provider’s Clinical Support System - Medication Assisted Treatment Grant Program
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioids
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Heroin
- HHS Prevent Opioid Abuse
- Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
- Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network
- Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network
- The percentage of people who used marijuana in the past year was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (34. 5%) compared with 16.3% of adults aged 26 or older and 10.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
- 2019 NSDUH data indicates that 48.2 million Americans aged 12 or older, 17.5 percent of the population, used marijuana in the past year
- Approximately 4.8 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year (2019 NSDUH)
- Marijuana can impair judgment and distort perception in the short term and can lead to memory impairment in the long term
- Marijuana can have significant health effects on youth and pregnant women.
- Know the Risks of Marijuana
- Marijuana and Pregnancy
- Tips for Teens: Marijuana
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana
- Addiction Technology Transfer Centers on Marijuana
- CDC Marijuana and Public Health
Emerging Trends in Substance Misuse:
- Methamphetamine—In 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
- Cocaine—In 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
- Kratom—In 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.
- Tips for Teens: Methamphetamine
- Tips for Teens: Cocaine
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
More SAMHSA publications on substance use prevention and treatment.
Last Updated: 04/27/2022
Relationships in a couple — Alkoinfo.ee
The effect of alcohol on relationships in a couple
Alcohol intrudes into relationships imperceptibly and begins to destroy them from the inside. Therefore, pay attention to alarm signals in advance.
Alcohol reduces the ability to self-control. You might do something you'll regret later, such as being rude to your partner or acting in a bad way.
Alcohol causes irritability and aggressiveness, if people drink too much, quarrels often flare up, and in the worst case, things can end in violence. There is a strong link between domestic violence and alcohol.
Alcohol reduces the ability to correctly interpret and understand the words and behavior of other people. It may happen that neutral behavior is regarded as negative and causes resentment and aggression.
Alcohol-influenced relationships are more blamed and ignored. They also punish with silence, deny or avoid problems, and play the victim. In such relations there is no openness, honesty, mutual physical and moral support.
Excessive alcohol consumption undermines one of the pillars of a relationship - trust. Broken promises, lies, evasion and deceit lead to a crisis of confidence.
Failure to perform duties
Excessive drinking takes up a lot of time and energy, and daily responsibilities are forgotten or simply not performed. If the partner gets the whole burden of everyday worries, it seems unfair to him and causes bitterness.
When the weekend is spent drinking or hangover, there is less time to do something pleasant with relatives or friends. In the end, this leads to alienation and the destruction of good relationships.
The money issue often causes discord in the family, especially when it comes to buying alcohol. Alcohol is expensive, and if you buy it in large quantities, there is a gap in the family budget.
Alcohol, of course, helps to get away from solving problems, but accumulated unresolved problems cannot but affect relationships. Read more about troubleshooting.
A drunk person often behaves inappropriately in public. So the partner has to experience inconvenience and shame instead of pleasure.
Alcohol makes a person impulsive, increasing the likelihood of infidelity, unprotected casual sex, contracting an STD, or unwanted pregnancy.
Alcohol reduces sexual potency. Men may experience erection problems. For women, alcohol can make it difficult to achieve orgasm.
Sex with a drunk partner often becomes unpleasant for the sober partner, as alcohol destroys physical intimacy between partners. Read more about the effect of alcohol on sexual potency.
What to do?
If you feel that alcohol is affecting your relationship, that's reason enough to see a specialist. Modern therapy deals with all aspects of the causes and consequences of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol causes relationship problems, but the opposite also works: relationship problems can interfere with getting rid of problems with alcohol. So maybe if you build relationships, then it will be easier to control your drinking.
If your loved one is drinking and is causing relationship problems, learn how to help them. At the same time, do not forget about yourself - read the tips on how to protect yourself in such a situation. It is recommended in such a situation to find help for yourself - specialists are able to give valuable advice to the patient's relatives.
Alcohol addiction and family relationships
Addictions are one of the most painful problems in a relationship. And the most common of them is alcohol. It is obvious to everyone that if one of the partners suffers from such an addiction, this inevitably creates difficulties in the relationship, and even dooms them to failure. Alcohol is like a third partner that constantly pulls the blanket over itself and prevents a man and a woman from reaching an agreement.
When it comes to alcohol and the crisis in family relationships, we usually imagine a frightening picture from social advertising, where an inadequate and slovenly man drinks "on grief for the family." But this problem is actually much broader. Very often she touches on couples where outwardly everything is fine - the husband makes good money, provides for his family, has a hobby . .. but on weekends he invariably goes to a bar or drinks at home - “culturally”, with friends or relatives. This is also alcoholism, but, let's say, socially acceptable. But that doesn't make it any less dangerous for a relationship.
In a way, he's even more obnoxious because he's almost never taken seriously. But even this “frivolous” alcoholism actually changes the worldview and self-perception of a person, has a huge impact on him, his interaction with others and, of course, on relationships in his family. Therefore, the topic of alcoholism is relevant for many.
What does alcohol do?
Where does addiction come from, is it possible to do something about it, and is it really possible to help a partner who abuses alcohol? To begin with, let's figure out why people drink alcohol at all - no matter how much.
Alcoholic drinks are a substitute for happiness. In fact, this applies to any mind-altering substance - that is, drugs and cigarettes. But alcohol is still the most common problem, since its use is built into our culture and sociality at the level of customs - it is customary to drink on holidays, when meeting with friends, for health, on Fridays, to wash purchases, and so on. Even when commemorating the dead, there is a tradition to drink "for the repose."
In this case, alcohol replaces our own capabilities. If you don’t know how to relax or are shy of people, he removes blocks, if you don’t know how to feel joy, helps to open it, if you don’t know how to use the energy that you have, finds ways to extract it. A person who has drunk alcohol usually feels lighter, freer and stronger.
But this is all illusory. And not only because alcohol often makes us dumber than we are. These are borrowed states, borrowed energy and lightness, which then have to be given back, and with large interest. A person, as it were, takes energy and joy from the future, and then, when it comes, he is forced to suffer from negative emotions and a breakdown. And as a percentage, poor health acts, and over time, of course, health in general suffers.
But the one who chooses alcohol as a "helper" sacrifices not only health and good mood. Firstly, it blocks its development - after all, alcohol, as it were, offers an easier way, where you do not need to work to get the same results, and few people can resist such a temptation. And secondly, it spoils relations with a partner. And I don't think I need to explain why.
What should I do if my partner is abusing alcohol?
The most important thing to understand - and this is usually the most difficult - you cannot decide this issue for a person. Even the best, closest relationship and the most magical female influence can't help.
The fact is that alcohol is a sign of serious internal problems that a person is forced to compensate for in this way. But he himself is almost certainly not aware of it. He is unlikely to perceive alcohol use as a problem at all - especially when it comes to "mild" forms of addiction. For him, most likely, everything looks normal in general - until you start a conversation or quarrel on this topic.
Of course, you can try talking to your partner, but don't expect too much. What should this conversation be like? It is important to carry it out not from the position of "collision", claims and your superiority, but from the position of acceptance and a sincere desire to help. It should be a very calm conversation in which you show that you respect the personality of the partner and his choice, whatever it may be. Yes, alcohol is a very unpleasant thing and you can understand if you have negative feelings about it. But the partner does not have to be what you want. Therefore, he is not obliged to listen to your reproaches.
You can turn to the psychotherapy of family relationships - but you need to understand that you need a therapeutic session or a psychologist's consultation first of all in order to understand your approach to your partner and his problem. If a man does not want to seek help, there is no point in trying to convince him. Otherwise, you will start playing destructive psychological games, becoming a victim, persecutor or savior of your husband.
Accept or leave?
The most important thing is to understand that you, in fact, have two options - to accept that your partner drinks alcohol, or not to accept and then leave the relationship. Attempts to correct the husband, "to set him on the right path" are doomed to failure and will only lead to conflicts.
You can establish a harmonious family life with a husband who drinks alcohol, if you are ready to put up with it. Of course, I'm talking about a situation where everything happens in socially acceptable forms, and where there is no mental and physical violence against you and your children. It is clear that if we are talking about security, then there can be no options - you need to create a distance between yourself and the man and then decide what to do next.
But if alcohol is completely unacceptable for you, the best solution would be to leave and not torture yourself or your partner. In any case, it is very important here not to judge him. Because you cannot fully understand what makes him drink alcohol, why he chose this path. Yes, this is not the path of a strong person, but it is pointless to condemn him. Each of us lives the best we can and makes the choices we are capable of. Your job is to take care of your own life, not judge someone else's.
What is the right way to leave?
If you decide to leave, it is important to do so with gratitude and respect for the person who was with you, even if their behavior was not always a role model.
This is for you first of all. By accepting and calmly letting go of the person with whom you end communication, you get the opportunity to create a new constructive relationship in which there will be no place for such problems.
You need to understand that you are not in vain in a relationship with a person who suffers from bad habits. It didn't happen by accident. Perhaps you have a codependency scenario, or some other reason. Even if you yourself seem to be a victim of circumstances, this is most likely not the case - you participated in this relationship anyway and contributed to it.
It is important to work through and understand this before entering into a new relationship, otherwise you risk stepping on the same rake or facing other problems that will be no better than alcohol.