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Alcohol is considered safe in moderation, but when occasional use becomes more common and begins to interfere with everyday life, it is typically classed as abuse. The UK Government’s guidelines on alcohol consumption states that no more than fourteen units of alcohol should be consumed by adult men and women each week; which means that consuming a large amount at one time (binge drinking), may still be considered abuse, without it being a regular occurrence.
Changes in the brain that support physical and psychological dependency on mind-altering substances are the direct cause of addiction, but those changes do not occur at random. Addiction experts believe drug addiction emerges from an interplay of genetic and environmental factors, although one factor or the other may be strong enough to make a person vulnerable to addiction in some instances.