Is alcohol a drug? Many people question whether alcohol is considered a drug due to its effects on the brain and body – yet it is a legal substance. Many substances that alter brain activity are considered drugs so is alcohol a drug too?  

What Is alcohol?

Alcohol is a liquid produced through fermentation that is found in wine, spirits, beer and other beverages. Alcohol can cause intoxication when enough is ingested. Certain alcoholic drinks contain higher alcohol content and can cause stronger symptoms. 

Alcoholic beverages are often used for social activities and one of its original bases for drinking it was due to the sense of relaxation and pleasure it can bring to the person consuming it. But alcohol use can extend beyond recreational purposes and become problematic, which is why many people wonder, “Is alcohol a drug?”

Is Alcohol a Drug Even Though It’s Legal?

Alcohol is a drug. It is classified as a depressant although it does have some stimulant effects on the central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Alcohol can raise the heart rate and cause some other physical changes that seem pleasing at first as a result of the brain releasing more dopamine but these effects are temporary. Dopamine is known as a feel-good hormone as it can make a person feel happy and can also reduce pain processing. 

But ultimately, alcohol is a depressant as it slows the central nervous system. Alcohol has a number of depressant effects on the body, including slow brain functioning and reduced neural activity in addition to a reduction in various vital functions in the body. Drowsiness, lowered inhibitions, drowsiness, decreased coordination and sedation are common depressant effects of alcohol. 

Alcohol can also make you feel sad, hopeless, depressed, listless or emotional. This is caused by the suppressed dopamine production that occurs when large amounts of alcohol are drunk.

It is considered one of the most addictive drugs of all. Not only is it commonly abused, but the dangers associated with alcohol abuse are often overlooked. Alcohol use is also more widely accepted and less regulated than other drugs, which also makes it dangerous. In fact, over 85% of American adults have drunk alcohol at some point in their lives. 

Long-Term Side Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol not only causes short-term side effects, as mentioned above. It can also lead to long-term changes in the brain and body that people are not always aware of, including:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Malnutrition
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Abusive behavior
  • Moodiness
  • Death
  • Alcohol addiction 

Social side effects are also common with alcohol abuse or alcoholism, including:

  • Loss of friends
  • Divorce
  • Relationship strain
  • Loss of jobs
  • Loss of homes
  • Trouble with the law 

The negative effects of alcohol do not stop there. The symptoms of many mental health disorders can be exacerbated with alcohol use, including:

  • Social phobia
  • Panic disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, know you are not alone. There are nearly 17.6 people in the United States who suffer from chronic alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorders in the United States, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). 

Reach Out to My Recovery Source Today for More Information Regarding Addiction Recovery

Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that is difficult to control, no matter the harmful consequences. Alcohol is a both psychologically and physically addictive powerful drug. Reaching out for help may be challenging but is imperative if you or your loved one want to find light at the end of the tunnel. Trying to quit without help is dangerous due to both the many uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal in addition to the high risk of relapse. My Recovery Source is dedicated to helping you find a nearby alcohol addiction treatment center that best suits your needs and unique situation. Will you contact us today to get started on the journey of breaking the chains of addiction?

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