The Dangers of Alcohol
Alcohol is classified as a Central Nervous System depressant.
This means if abused, it can negatively affect one’s
mental and physical health.
People drink to feel better. It enhances their mood, limits their inhibitions, and makes it easier to socialize. But drinking significantly alters a person’s neuropsychological functioning, which leads to some serious consequences.
Alcohol is classified as a Central Nervous System depressant. This means if abused, it can negatively affect one’s mental and physical health.
Some drinkers consume alcohol precisely because it is a depressant, meaning it relaxes their body by slowing down the brain’s neural activity. Alcohol does this by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA.
However, the impact of alcohol is not purely pleasant. The effects of alcohol and hangovers can actually induce anxiety and increase stress. Alcohol can depress the central nervous system so much that it results in impairment. This is why drunk people exhibit symptoms like slurred speech, unsteady movement, slowed reactions, and disturbed perceptions.
Alcohol reduces an individual’s ability to think rationally. It also distorts their judgment. In the worst cases, excessive alcohol consumption can depress the central nervous system to the point of respiratory failure, coma, or even death.
Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
Alcohol has both stimulant and sedative effects. Although it is clinically categorized as a depressant, the amount of alcohol consumed and the person’s individual reaction determines the type of effect he or she will experience.
Most people drink for the initial stimulant effect that allows them to loosen up in social situations. However, if they consume more than their body can handle, they will immediately experience alcohol’s sedating effects, including cognitive impairment.
On the other hand, some individuals drink for alcohol’s sedative effects. For them, it reduces their anxiety and relaxes them. Some studies suggest that most people drink alcohol to experience stimulation and the associated positive effects, but after developing dependence or addiction, switch to drinking primarily to experience the sedative effects.
One interesting pattern is that people who drink more slowly are more likely to feel the sedative effects, while those who drink large amounts of alcohol rapidly are likely to feel the stimulation effects.
Some researchers suggest that people who don’t respond to alcohol’s sedative effects are at heightened risk of developing alcohol use disorder. This is because they drink more in order to compensate for the fact that they don’t immediately feel anything. This also exposes them to negative side effects such as alcohol overdose and alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol has severe depressant effects including unconsciousness, inability to feel pain, slow and irregular breathing, toxicity, and even death. These reactions depend on how much the individual consumes and how quickly.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Depressants
Alcohol impacts the brain in a variety of ways. The substance binds to receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for producing feelings of calmness and sedation. It is also responsible for the depression of the central nervous system that causes suppression of breathing and heart rate.
Additionally, alcohol inhibits glutamate, which results in memory loss and other impaired brain functionality. On top of all these effects, alcohol also releases dopamine, the neurotransmitter chemical responsible for pleasure and reward. This is why drinking makes you feel good, and you become compelled to drink even more.
Over time, as more alcohol is consumed, more depressant effects will develop. An individual who regularly drinks lots of alcohol will suffer from impaired judgment, vision, and alertness. Alcohol slows down their reaction time, affects concentration, and dulls the senses.
Depressants are also known as “downers”. Other common depressants include: Xanax, Valium, Halcion, Ativan, Klonopin, and Librium. These medications are usually prescribed to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, panic, and sleep disorders due to their tranquilizing effects. Similarly, these drugs may also be abused.
Side effects of depressant abuse include low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, slurred speech, depression, unconsciousness, vomiting, impaired motor skills, slowed breathing, nausea, low blood pressure, seizures, and death.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against drug abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab is your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.