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, 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 might 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.
Stimulant or Depressant?
Alcohol does have some stimulating effects. Many people who drink wind up with higher heart rates and lower inhibitions, making them more energetic. However, this is a short-lived side effect. Unlike other substances like cocaine or meth, alcohol is not a stimulant. Instead, alcohol is a depressant.
It’s important to understand that when alcohol is referred to as a depressant, that doesn’t mean it gives people depression. Depression is a mental health issue. Although it can arise from alcohol addiction and many people develop an alcohol use disorder attempting to self-medicate when depressed, the substance itself doesn’t create the mental health condition. Rather, when alcohol is referred to as a depressant, it is meant in a medical sense as it slows down several processes in the body. Alcohol abuse slows breathing, blood flow and can dull the senses. Thus, alcohol is a depressant. But again, drinking alcohol does not give you depression; mental health conditions cannot be transmitted or created this way.
What Effects Does Alcohol Abuse Produce?
Alcohol alters both your brain and your nervous system. It just depends on how much alcohol you have as far as your body’s degree gets altered. The more alcohol you have, the more significant the effects of the alcohol are. If you drink too much alcohol, your body will become completely sedated. Here are some of the effects of alcohol, starting with the mildest and progressing to more serious effects:
- Lowered ability to make good choices
- Struggles focusing
- Decreased depth-perception
- Heart rate increases, then slowly decrease as alcohol intake increases
- Slurring speech
- Coordination problems
- Digestive tract issues (vomiting and diarrhea occur frequently)
- Mood changes
- Lower than normal body temperature
- Increase in blood pressure
- Struggles staying conscious
- Memory loss
- Increased risk of cancer
- Decreased ability to retain information
- Liver problems
- Heart problems
This list is full of a lot of health issues that can result from alcohol. However, it is only a small portion of all of the issues that alcohol can lead to. The occasional drink is typically not a problem that will result in long-term negative effects of alcohol. What is a problem is chronic drinking or binge drinking on a regular or semi-regular basis. Your body can only handle so much alcohol. The more you drink and the less time off you give your body, the more your body will struggle and the worse the effects are likely to become.
When Does Alcohol Become Dangerous?
Alcohol truly becomes dangerous when you drink too excess regularly or when you experience alcohol poisoning. If you’re not an alcoholic, drinking a glass of wine one night a week with dinner is not typically going to cause problems. However, if you are an alcoholic or drink a bottle of wine each night for weeks or months, this will result in damage you may not be able to correct. If you drink too much, you could face alcohol poisoning as well. When you drink so much, your body shuts down before it can metabolize or process your alcohol.
Here are some common characteristics of alcohol poisoning:
- Vomiting in excess
- Bouts with severe confusion
- Prolonged breaths (under eight during a one-minute span)
- Skin that begins to turn a pale gray or blue color
- Passing out or the inability to remain conscious
If anyone ever has these symptoms, calling an ambulance immediately is necessary. If the person does not get to a medical facility quickly, the alcohol could slow their body down so much that it stops functioning altogether.
Discover How Compass Detox Can Help You Heal from Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol is a powerful drug. It can raise you for a short time, and it can keep you down for a lot longer. It will leave you struggling with how you feel about yourself or your situation if you let it. You can also struggle with many health issues if your addiction is not treated and stopped. Fortunately, Compass Detox offers a wide range of programs to fit each individual’s needs, such as:
- Inpatient detox center
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Transitional living program
- Wellness programs
Giving up alcohol is not easy, but it is worth it. Turn to the experienced professionals here at Compass Detox today. Let us help walk you through the alcohol withdrawal process and guide you towards a recovered existence. Not everyone knows what having a happy, sober life is all about. However, you can be one of the people that just that. Learn how much more you can get out of life by living it and calling the shots you want to call. Stop letting alcohol decide what you do or where you go. Call us at 855.526.4915 or contact us online today. Take charge of your future and start living again. We can help.