When we think about drugs, our minds almost always initially go to those substances that are considered illegal. That’s understandable, given that the government has “declared war” on cocaine and heroin and other substances. But strictly by the dictionary definition, many compounds can be drugs. The one substance that people are often confused by is the drug alcohol.
Alcohol is not often not thought of as a drug, because it is legal, and the focus of law enforcement is elsewhere. But alcohol is, in fact, a drug — one that causes significant problems for individuals in their lives and society.
When alcohol misuse begins to control your thoughts and actions, reach out to the alcohol detox center in California for help.
Is Alcohol a Drug?
The answer to this question may seem confusing at first when you consider that alcohol is legal, whereas cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics are not. But legal status has nothing to do with whether something is considered a drug. Case in point, prescription medications.
Alcohol is a drug because it creates a stimulant effect on your brain — that’s the “buzz” you might feel after a cocktail or two. A drug is considered anything that produces a “physiological” effect on the body. You might be interested to know that in the same vein, caffeine is also a drug. Some studies even suggest that a substance like chocolate produces “drug-like” effects.
As we have learned all too painfully — when consumed in large quantities, alcohol can be equally if not more deadly than outlawed narcotics. However, you don’t have to wait for a liver disease diagnosis or a trip to the ER before getting help. There are men’s and women’s detox programs that can help you today.
From the chemical makeup to the side effects, alcohol is a drug.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Sometimes drinking goes too far and turns from an occasional activity to an always-on obsession. And if that obsession is accompanied by severe problems — in relationships, at work, at school, with the law — you may have an alcohol use disorder.
Unfortunately, alcoholism isn’t simply measured by the number of drinks. It’s based on what alcohol does to your quality of life and can range from mild to disabling. Calling off work or school, starting fights for no reason, suffering from chronic hangovers — all of these could point towards an alcohol use disorder.
Signs of an alcohol use disorder are many but can include:
- Drinking without being able to limit yourself
- Strong cravings for a drink
- Losing interest in hobbies or other social activities
- Drinking at unsafe moments, such as while swimming or before driving
- Planning social outings around access to alcohol
- Developing a tolerance
- Experiencing withdrawal
Because of the impact alcohol has on your brain, it is a drug.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
Since alcohol is a drug, if you fall into its seductive clutches, and suffer significant problems with health, career, or in relationships, it’s time to get alcohol addiction treatment.
Entering an alcohol detox program sounds scary. But the various established protocols have helped millions get control of their drinking and moved them back on a path to sobriety. The treatment has a standard structure to it, even though everyone’s journey through alcoholism is a little different. The stages of treatment include:
- Evaluation and assessment
- Creating a treatment plan
- Alcohol detox to flush alcohol from your system
- Individual and group therapy to build coping skills
- Aftercare, to reduce the risk of relapse
Path to Sobriety
Now that you know alcohol is in fact a drug, it’s time to figure out what to do next. If you or a loved one are showing signs of an alcohol use disorder, it’s time to consider treatment from a facility such as Wellness Counseling Vida Entera.
Our team of addiction specialists can help establish a course of treatment for you and see you through to sobriety. We offer services such as:
- Residential treatment
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Dual diagnosis treatment