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Alcohol and drug abuse

studio sillouette of a man holding his head in one hand and a half-empty bottle in the other

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.

Get help

You can get help for an alcohol or drug use problem. Find a treatment program near you.
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
  • Accidents
  • 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.

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Content last updated: January 10, 2011.

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