Drinking alcohol can leave some people feeling energetic, giddy, and free of inhibitions. This might make you wonder what kind of drug alcohol is. Contrary to some belief, alcohol is a depressant, not a stimulant.
Science shows that alcohol is a depressant. It acts on your central nervous system in such a way that favors the brain chemicals that bring you down. That’s one of the reasons why drinking makes some feel sleepy.
Whether depressant or stimulant, alcohol is a drug that, when abused, requires the support of medical professionals to break what has become a physical dependence. If you find yourself struggling with alcohol abuse, reach out to the alcohol detox center in Lake Elsinore, CA.
Is Alcohol a Depressant?
Yes, alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol directly impacts your central nervous system. It slows down your brain and creates cognitive challenges. The more intoxicated you are, the more impaired your system is to make good decisions for yourself and the people around you.
Alcohol alters the normal production of brain chemicals. For instance, alcohol both increases the release of a brain chemical that slows the body down, while also blocking the production of the chemicals that have the opposite effect.
Numerous studies have established a link between excessive use of alcohol and various mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. This vital insight allows experts to use dual diagnosis treatment programs to treat both disorders. In fact, about half of the people who suffer from a substance use disorder will develop a mental illness. When that happens, it’s considered a co-occurring disorder. Co-occurring disorders require a special, single, integrated approach to care.
How Alcohol Affects You
If you drink, you have a pretty good idea of what it feels like. It figuratively goes straight to your head. You may feel a little light-headed, perhaps even relaxed. As the night goes on, you might lose some inhibitions or start to move in a clumsy fashion.
The next morning, the effects aren’t so pleasant. You may be feeling nausea, a headache, and shakiness. This is where it’s important to understand that alcohol is a depressant. The next day is when you start feeling the effects the most.
If you continue this pattern, excessive drinking can cause longer-lasting problems. Some of these include:
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Immune system problems
The Problem of Alcoholism
Nationally, alcoholism is a serious issue that creates tremendous medical and social problems. An individual who drinks too much repeatedly deals with negative consequences at work and at school, in relationships and with health. It is usually when relationships and career seem destroyed that they attend an alcohol addiction treatment program.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates the cost of alcoholism, including lost productivity, at more than $250 billion.
Nationwide in 2018, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) statistics estimated that over 14 million people struggle with an alcohol-use disorder — mostly men. It’s estimated that on average, more than half the adult population has had a drink in the past year.
The most staggering of the toll reported by the NIAAA is more than 88,000 people die each year from alcohol-related incidents or alcohol-related causes.
Recovering from Alcohol Abuse
In considering the effects of alcohol, it is a depressant for what it does to your brain and CNS. If you worry that either you or a loved one have reached a problem stage with your drinking, then it’s time to reach out to a recovery center such as Wellness Counseling Vida Entera.
Our clinical staff delivers evidence-based care to help you return to a life of sobriety. The following programs can help you on the way:
- Men’s and women’s detox programs
- Residential treatment
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Anxiety treatment program