Alcohol is legal and widely consumed around the world. For that reason, many people think of it as a harmless substance. But, is alcohol a drug? The answer is yes, and here’s why.
Alcohol Is a Depressant
Drugs can be stimulants, sedatives, depressants or pain relievers. Most people would be surprised to learn that alcohol is a depressant. Although many people drink alcohol for its stimulant benefits, the substance actually slows down the central nervous system.
Clearly, alcohol leaves a negative impact, as evidenced by the effects of a hangover. Alcohol is a depressant substance, which makes it very similar to a drug.
Alcohol Impairs Judgement
Drugs are substances that impair cognitive function or judgment in some way. By that definition, alcohol fits into the drug category. Alcohol impairs judgment for most users.
Drinking alcohol changes the way that people see the world. Heavy drinkers experience cognitive problems, and young people can even experience brain developmental issues. People who drink take bigger risks and alcohol can even change personalities and behaviors. Knowing all of that, it can certainly be called a drug.
It’s Possible to Overdose on Alcohol
Another way to determine if something is a drug is by looking at the consequences. In particular, can a substance cause an overdose? For alcohol, the answer is a resounding yes.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to an overdose, which medical experts define as alcohol poisoning. Too much alcohol consumption can cause vomiting, seizures, blue skin and nails, a slowed heart rate and slowed breathing. Worst case, it can cause coma or even death.
If the potential for an overdose is the defining factor, then alcohol is a drug.
Alcohol Ruins More Lives Than Most Drugs
Kids in school learn all about the dangers of drugs. However, when they ask, “Is alcohol a drug?”, there’s far less information about the risks of alcohol. Most adults consume alcohol, and they rarely hide their alcohol consumption. This creates a false sense of alcohol as a harmless substance.
Of course, the reality is very different. Alcohol can cause health problems like liver and kidney failure. It can also increase the likelihood of certain types of cancer.
Beyond just the physical impact, alcohol abuse can ruin relationships. It can also end careers, and it can lead to serious financial ruin.
Consistent alcohol abuse can also graduate into an addiction. An alcohol addiction can mean a lifelong struggle. While many factors can lead to alcoholism, the risk is real for anyone who drinks.
Is Alcohol a Drug? Treatments are Similar
Drug and alcohol addictions require similar substance abuse treatment plans. Both will require detox followed by therapies and treatment methods designed to prevent relapse. This similarity shows that alcohol and drugs have much in common.
At Memphis Recovery Center, our adult treatment program includes:
- Dual diagnosis and trauma therapy
- Family therapy program
- Music and art therapy
- Relapse prevention education
In many ways, alcohol is a drug. Fortunately, Memphis Recovery Center in Memphis, Tennessee can help. Call 866-304-8254 to learn more about the treatment plan that can help you achieve lifelong sobriety and recovery.