Is Alcohol a Real Drug?

Alcohol has what doctors call a depressive effect on your system. It slows down brain function and changes the way your nerves send messages back and forth. Excessive drinking excites and irritates the nervous system. If you drink daily, your body becomes dependent on alcohol as time goes on. When this happens, your central nervous system can no longer adapt easily to the lack of alcohol.

Alcohol is a Depressant

Although classified as a depressant, the amount of alcohol someone drinks determines the type of effect. Most people drink for stimulating and euphoric effects, such as a beer or glass of wine taken to “loosen up.” But if a person consumes more than the body can handle, they then experience alcohol’s depressant effects which are very strong. They start to feel “stupid” or lose coordination and control.

Marijuana has typically been decried as a “gateway drug” that leads to more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin. This argument has resurfaced as the legalization of marijuana in the US has become more likely. The problem with this argument is that it ignores a far more obvious culprit–alcohol.

Alcohol is a Mood and Mind-Altering Substance

Many think that alcohol isn’t a real drug because it is legal and how accepting it is about everywhere. But they are very wrong. Alcohol is a real drug. Alcohol is the first substance used by about two-thirds of people. Alcohol is legal and far more common. Even underage children and teens can get it pretty easily. And the younger they start drinking, the more likely they are to develop an alcohol use disorder later on. Most people who use other substances already drink regularly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported those aged 12 to 20 drink 11 percent of alcohol consumed in the U.S. What’s worse is the lack of understanding about the dangers of drinking and binge drinking, which is how many young people consume alcohol. Those aged 12 to 20 consume over 90 percent of their alcohol in the form of binge drinking.

The Effect of Alcohol on Families

Yes, alcohol is a drug that wreaks havoc on millions of families. Yes, alcohol is a drug that alters your mood. It changes how you think, feel, and even behave because alcohol affects all neural pathways. People under the influence make poor decisions, can’t think, don’t remember very well, have bad coordination, and their emotions are all over the place.

The alcohol in your body changes how your nerves react to a situation. This is why people use alcohol to loosen up at a party, to relax after a stressful day, or to calm the nerves. But what happens when someone begins to rely on alcohol to loosen up, relax, or calm down or when they feel the least bit uncomfortable, they drink and therefore become dependent on alcohol which in turn becomes an addiction.

If you drink alcohol heavily for weeks, months, or years, you may have both mental and physical problems when you stop or seriously cut back on how much you drink. This is called alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms can range from mild to serious.

Alcohol withdrawal refers to symptoms that may occur when a person who has been drinking too much alcohol regularly suddenly stops drinking alcohol. They can range from mild to serious. What yours depend on how much you drank and for how long.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

The U.S. National Library of Medicine discusses alcohol withdrawal symptoms which usually occur within 8 hours after the last drink, but can occur days later as well. Symptoms usually peak by 24 to 72 hours but may go on for weeks.

Common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Not thinking clearly

Other symptoms may include:

  • Sweating, clammy skin
  • Enlarged (dilated) pupils
  • Headache
  • Insomnia (sleeping difficulty)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pallor
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremor of the hands or other body parts

Get Help Quitting for Alcohol

Quitting alcohol is not easy and should not be done cold turkey unsupervised. Garden State Treatment Center is one of the best alcohol addiction rehab centers in the United States and we are located in Northern New Jersey. The state of New Jersey is popular for its historic shores as well as being the home to various manufacturing businesses and seaside vacation spots. At the same time, many of our communities are affected by addiction, particularly by alcoholism and opioid abuse.

To get the right treatment that will help you live a life that is not controlled by alcohol consumption, you need to take the first step and ask for help. Our alcohol addiction rehab in New Jersey will improve your chances of becoming and staying healthy.