It’s essential to reshape the perception of addiction. In the past, those with substance abuse disorders had to live with the stigmas associated with addiction. We understand that addiction is a disease, and proper treatment can result in higher recovery rates. At Compass Detox in South Florida, our patients receive care, attention, and medical assistance…
Is there someone in your family that is suffering from drugs and alcohol? Recognizing an addict during the holidays may not be as easy. After all, many people are celebrating during this time of the year, and identifying an addiction is not easy to do. Yet, when it comes to managing holiday addiction needs, you…
Holiday stress impacts the wellbeing of many people. For those who have an addiction and are in recovery, it can be even more difficult. If you are actively still using, you may even be at a heightened risk of overdoses. Learn how the holidays affect addiction, so you know what to expect and what to…
For those in sobriety, all of the fun holiday drinks may seem out of reach. Can you really enjoy non-alcoholic drinks and have just as much fun with it? The answer is yes. Your sobriety and recovery have been worth the work. Now, with a few non-alcoholic holiday drinks, you may be able to have…
Depending on your specific situation, you may not readily be able to tell if alcohol is a stimulant or a depressant. Drinking alcohol brings about a myriad of emotions for people. Some people feel peppy and uppity, while others struggle with anxiety and depression. Scientifically, alcohol is a depressant, but it is more complicated than that. Alcohol enhances the mood you are already in for most people. If you were happy before you started drinking, you may be excited and giddy when you drink. However, if you were sullen or angry before you had a drink, that mood may only get worse. The only way to stop alcohol from controlling the mood you show everyone else is to stop drinking altogether.
Is Alcohol a Stimulant?
Alcohol does have some stimulating effects. Many people who drink wind up with higher heart rates and lower inhibitions, making them appear to be more energetic. However, that is not a simple way of defining what alcohol does to the body. Instead, it is just some of the effects that some people go through whenever they have a drink in their system. Alcohol will speed you up for a short time after having a drink, giving you a tiny bit of energy. However, once you settle into your second or third drink, the depressant effects begin to kick in. Your body will slow, which is why falling asleep is so easy when you have been drinking.
Is Alcohol a Depressant?
When a person comes to a doctor’s office, two things will point toward a diagnosis of alcohol withdrawal: the first is long-term alcohol use with sudden cessation, and the second being symptoms typical of withdrawal (these will be explained in the following paragraphs). For the symptoms, physicians use a largely accepted algorithm known as the CIWA-Ar (Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment) protocol. This survey takes a snapshot of a patient to determine how severe their withdrawal is at a point in time during their visit.
What doctors look for when determining severity of alcohol withdrawal: The categories assessed by the patient include nausea and vomiting, tremor (often in the hands), auditory, tactile or visual hallucinations, sweats, anxiety, headache, agitation, and disorientation. Additionally, the doctor will measure heart rate, blood pressure, and do a physical exam. Each category is measured out of 7 points, with 7 being the worst (the exception to this is disorientation, which is measured out of 4 points). The maximum score in the assessment is a 67, with patients under 10 usually being safe without medication, and with any number over 20 being considered severe withdrawal. However, this scale is meant to determine the severity of withdrawal, and is not as helpful in laying out a timeline of when these symptoms will present. For that, it is more helpful to understand the body’s reaction to the cessation of alcohol use.
Since alcohol withdrawal can be rough on your body, it is best to have an idea of things to do to keep your heart rate and blood pressure down. Make a list before even going to alcohol detox or rehab, if you can.
Have you ever stopped to think about the effects alcoholism can have on the human brain? Alcohol abuse can result in both short term and long term negative effects in the brain of the user. Knowing the symptoms of brain impairment can help you understand what’s going on in the body, and how the continued abuse of this substance can damage such a vital, complex organ over time.
Short-Term Effects of Alcoholism
A known effect related to brain impairment is the gaps in memory that may begin to occur; this is a result of disruptions in neurotransmitters. These are recognizable characteristics that friends or family can easily notice. Additional effects can include decreased coordination, slower reflexes, slurred speech and a lack of concentration. Again, these qualities may seem obvious to someone observing from the outside, but the person abusing the substance may not be aware of anything wrong.