Many people wonder, “Is alcohol a drug?” Unfortunately, in the U.S. alone, thousands of people die every year thanks to alcohol abuse. There’s no doubt drinking in excess is extremely dangerous. Therefore, knowing what alcohol is and how it affects the body can increase awareness and save lives.
Is Alcohol a Drug?
Yes, alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system (CNS). In the sedative-hypnotic drug class, it slows down vital bodily functions. Consequently, it causes disturbed perceptions, slow reaction times, slurred speech, and poor coordination. Additionally, drinking too much can raise the blood-alcohol concentration to the point of severe organ damage.
How Does Alcohol Affect the CNS?
Alcohol affects the central nervous system by stimulating GABA neurotransmitters which depress brain activity. Overall, this makes people feel calm and relaxed. For most people, it usually takes just one or two alcoholic drinks to enter this state.
In small doses, alcohol can be stimulating, making people more talkative. However, in large doses, it causes potentially fatal consequences. This process begins with drowsiness and progresses to slowed breathing as drinking continues. Sometimes, breathing can stop altogether, causing death.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
The organ damage alcohol causes varies depending on how much the bloodstream absorbs. The frequency and amount of alcohol people ingest may also lead to internal complications. Additionally, age, family history, and health status also affect damage. Other factors include how quickly the liver breaks down alcohol, the presence of food in the stomach, and alcohol tolerance.
Brain and Immune System
Cognitively, alcohol interferes with communication pathways. It can also change how the brain functions and looks. These issues alter behavior and mood. They also make it difficult for people to maintain coordination and think clearly.
Furthermore, too much alcohol makes the immune system weak. Thus, the body becomes more susceptible to diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis. It may also be more difficult to fight infections as well.
Heart, Liver, and Pancreas
Additionally, drinking large amounts of alcohol causes heart damage. For example, problems that arise include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, stroke, and a weak heart muscle.
Not to mention, the liver is partially responsible for breaking down alcohol. Heavy drinking can cause liver inflammation such as alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, fibrosis, and fatty liver.
When alcohol passes through the pancreas, it stimulates the production of toxic substances. Over time, these toxins can cause pancreatitis. This dangerous blood vessel swelling and inflammation prevents proper digestion.
Get the Right Alcohol Treatment
If your son or daughter has a drinking problem, don’t hesitate to get the right help. Zelus Recovery in Meridian, Idaho offers an array of substance abuse programs for young adults under 25. These include:
- Outpatient drug rehab
- Intensive outpatient program
- Early intervention for adolescents
- Individual therapy program
- Group therapy program
- Family therapy program
If we’ve answered, “Is alcohol a drug?” don’t let the substance destroy your future before you’ve had the chance to live. Overcome alcohol addiction with help from a quality alcohol addiction treatment center. Dial 866-365-4436 today to learn more about our teen and young adult addiction treatment facility.