Smoking, alcohol, drugs: do I quit when I want?

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Smoking, alcohol, drugs: do I quit when I want?

Tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and drug use are three very different health problems. Yet, one point that unites them exists: addiction. Addiction, whatever substance it is, is a disease and as such it must be diagnosed and treated.

Addiction prevents you from stopping the use of a substance even if you have the will. The desire for the substance is stronger than the ability to control it even if there is awareness of the damage it produces.
Nobody wants to get addicted to a substance when they start using it. This is true for those who try the first cigarette, for those who drink or for those who smoke the first "joint". The "pleasant" sensations, which at the beginning the substance makes you feel, push you to use it again. Over time, however, due to the changes that occur in our brain due to the effect of some substances contained in drugs, such as alcohol and in tobacco smoke, you begin to feel the need more and more, until you cannot do without it. The addiction began.
With respect to drugs, in 2020 the SerDs assisted a total of 125,428 drug addicts, 12% of which are new users. 86% of SerD users are male, with an average age of 41 years. Female users, on the other hand, have an average age of 40 years. New users are younger (on average 9 years) than those already in charge. With regard to alcohol, there is no official estimate in Italy of people affected by alcohol addiction but, in 2019, 65,387 subjects were taken care of by the alcohol services (n = 408). 28.5% of the total user is represented by new users; the remaining portion from subjects in charge from previous years or re-entered during the year after having suspended a previous treatment. The M / F ratio is 3.3 for all users. 74.6% of users are aged between 30 and 59 years, while young people under 30 represent 7.7% of the subjects treated, the share of individuals aged 60 is not negligible and more than 17.8%. According to a study by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in 2021, the number of tobacco smokers in Italy is 11.3 million, equal to 26.2% of the population. In detail, 5.5 million men and 5.8 million women.

1. Neuroscience and Addictions. Neurotransmission

2. Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Department for Anti-Drug Policies. Annual report to the Parliament on the phenomenon of drug addiction in Italy. Year 2021 (2020 data)

3. Ministry of Health. Report of the Minister of Health to Parliament on the interventions carried out pursuant to Law no. 125 of 30.3.2001 "Framework law on alcohol and related alcohol problems". Year 2020

4. National Institute of Health (ISS). XXIII National Congress on Smoking and the National Health Service. Rome, ISS, May 31, 2021

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