Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Many people drink alcohol to boost their mood. But sometimes, they feel moody after a drink instead. Because of this, you might wonder, “Is alcohol a depressant?” Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you benefit from alcohol addiction treatment

Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Alcohol is a recreational drug people usually consume for several reasons. Its effects vary from being sedative to a stimulant. And yes, it is a depressant. The long-term use of alcohol can even change a person’s brain chemistry.  Drugs are classified based on their chemical targets in the brain. Alcohol, however, causes different effects. It influences more than a hundred unique brain receptors, but ultimately, it falls under the classification ‘central nervous system (CNS) depressant.’ People commonly drink alcohol as a means of relaxation. But as a CNS depressant, it can increase stress and induce anxiety. Alcohol slows down brain neural activity and functioning as a result of intensifying the effects of the neurotransmitter, GABA. 

What are the Side Effects of Alcohol?

But is alcohol a depressant? Its sedative effects are enough to cause your central nervous system to develop impairments such as:

  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to react quickly
  • Unsteady movement 
  • Disturbed perception 

The mental effects of alcohol include:

  • Reduced ability to think rationally
  • Lessened inhibitions
  • Distorted judgment
  • Emotional instability
  • Severe mood swings
  • Euphoria

If you consume too much alcohol at once, it may lead to respiratory failure, coma, or even death. 

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

While categorized as a depressant, how alcohol affects your body varies. It depends on the amount of alcohol you consumed and individual reaction. Generally, you feel stimulated after introducing alcohol into the body. At this point, you “loosen up,” in which your social inhibitions lessen.  But if you consume more than your body can handle, you will begin to experience the sedating effects of alcohol. Research shows that drinking rapidly increases the alcohol’s stimulating effects while drinking slowly achieves the opposite.

Alcohol Use and Addiction

Some people have a slow response to the sedative effects of alcohol. If you are in this group, you are at a high risk of developing alcohol use disorder. The reason is that you end up drinking more to compensate for the fact that you don’t immediately feel anything.  This action often results in enhanced side effects. It can lead to alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose, which may also lead to more adverse depressant effects. These effects can include:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Inability to feel pain
  • Slow, irregular breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Death

Depression and Alcohol Abuse

Depression is one of the possible causes of alcohol abuse. Those who struggle with this mental health disorders often experience feelings of anxiety and worthlessness. Sometimes, they may experience extreme anger and lash out at other people. There are also times when they isolate themselves and lose interest in things they usually do. Alcohol exacerbates the symptoms of depression. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol reduces the brain’s serotonin levels, which causes further depressed feelings. With finding it hard to understand and communicate their emotions, those who struggle with depression turn to alcohol to numb their feelings. Over time, alcohol use forms dependence or alcohol use disorder.

Get Alcohol Addiction Help

Engaging in heavy drinking never solves life’s problems, but aggravates them instead. Worse, it can result in severe physical effects, such as chronic liver damage and respiratory problems. Alcohol addiction treatment can help people struggling with both addiction and depression. In addition to alcohol addiction, we also help. treat a number of other issues, including:

Is alcohol a depressant? Yes, and that’s why it’s best to drink in moderation. If you have a mental illness, it’s essential to realize how alcohol can worsen your symptoms. When dealing with dual diagnosis, it is best to reach out to a professional health care provider. Our experts at Promises are ready to help. So call us at 844.875.5609 today!

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