It is estimated that nearly 14.5 million people ages 12 and older in the 2019 NSDUH study suffer from alcoholism. While drinking alcohol in moderation is fine, it may pose a problem when it starts to worsen and develop into a full-fledged addiction. This may involve intervention especially when it proves to be a serious problem.
Transcend Recovery Community shares more information about this and how this depressant impacts the lives of many. Continue reading to find out more.
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What Are Depressants?
Depressants are substances that decrease one's feeling of arousal or stimulation. However, they don't necessarily make a person feel depressed. What they do is generally target the central nervous system by reducing the speed of signals exchanged between the brain and body.
Depressants are classified as the following:
- Sleeping pills
It's important to consider that other depressants yield varying effects on people. Some may be stronger compared to others. But generally, depressants are used to treat mental health disorders such as insomnia, anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures, by affecting the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter.
Is Alcohol a Depressant?
To answer the question, "Is Alcohol a Depressant?" WebMD shares an interesting article stating that alcohol can be classified as such due to its depressant effects. It is also a stereotype perpetuated by the media where you may encounter a scenario of a person drinking to "drown their sorrows," so to speak.
Drinking in itself is not innately bad, especially if you do it in considerable moderation. However, alcohol affects people in many ways. While it has mostly sedative effects which slow down brain activity, alcohol reduces inhibition and may also bring stimulant effects which may influence someone to act irrationally and do things on impulse.
When a person consumes alcohol more frequently than recommended, they may also form alcohol cravings. This may bring about a dangerous trigger to developing alcoholism. Always remember that too much alcohol consumed can lead to potentially dangerous situations due to its possible stimulating effects. It can also lead to alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose.
People who have problems with excessive alcohol consumption or alcoholism should consider trying alcohol recovery programs to help them even further.
Side Effects of Alcohol and Other Depressants
When neglected, alcoholism and chronic drug use may bring side effects that would range from moderate to severe. These substances may also cause irreparable and long-term damage to the body if left untreated.
It's important to identify potential side effects of alcohol and depressant misuse to address any potential problems such as the development of further mental health disorders. Some of the side effects may include:
- irregular breathing
- a person may "feel depressed"
- slurred speech
- unsteady movement
- brash behavior that may include engaging in risky activities (i.e. unprotected sex)
Things may also go south immediately if this is not taken seriously. People who are constantly consuming alcohol or maybe "drink heavily on occasion" may encounter worse side effects (even death). Other worrying long-term effects include:
- organ failure
- respiratory failure
- alcohol poisoning
People suffering from substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) must realize this early on so that they can receive ample addiction recovery assistance and to further realize how simply drinking can lead to addiction.
Do Depressants Affect the Mind & Body?
Depressants bring about various effects not just on our body but on our overall mental wellness. In safe doses as prescribed by a consulting physician, it can help someone with their anxiety and panic disorder issues.
People react differently to depressants depending on physical factors (size, weight, and health), frequency, and strength/dosage taken. A central nervous system depressant may help in calming down one's, especially if they are suffering from severe panic attacks and anxiety.
However, in cases of long-term use, this may impact your mental wellness. Apart from building trug intolerance, depressant effects include reduced activity in the central nervous system which can contribute to permanent damage to your brain. People will constantly experience:
- slurred speech
- impaired motor skills
- memory loss
If this persists in the long run, this may adversely impact the individual and their relationships at home, work, or school. They may need to undergo a drug addiction program held by treatment facilities to ensure that they are fully sober before reintegrating themselves into society once more.
Alcohol and Depressant Addiction
Using alcohol and depressants will noticeably impact one's life in a multitude of ways. This may also happen especially during the onset of the physical symptoms of addiction. Apart from the many health risks that it poses, it also starts to tear down an individual struggling with alcoholism and depressant addiction and their relationship with the people around them.
But before fingers are pointed at the person, it is crucial to understand that someone suffering from the effects of heavy drinking and use of CNS depressants may have developed this due to numerous factors.
Someone might be binge drinking as a result of peer and lifestyle pressure or as a form of escape from the day-to-day stresses of life. It may also appeal to the pleasure centers of the brain, which brings about "feel-good" sensations like euphoria and relaxation.
Mixing substance abuse with alcohol misuse brings great danger not just to the individual but to their loved ones. It has ruined families and complicated relationships. Sometimes, a dual diagnosis might even be considered especially when alcohol abuse and drug abuse bring about more mental health issues in the long run.
Treatment for Alcohol and Depressants
When seeking an effective treatment plan for someone's massive alcohol use and depressant abuse, it's important to contact a treatment center that specialize in a holistic approach as a means for substance abuse treatment.
Apart from receiving cognitive-behavior therapy, it may also help for people to have the presence of support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, as part of their treatment options. Having a strong network not only motivates the individual to become better. It also gives them the right mindset by having people who have been in their shoes to impart their valuable wisdom and strength in becoming sober.
An Individualized Intensive Program (IIP) may also benefit certain cases. But most often than not, a comprehensive outpatient mental health program will be more than enough, especially for people who still want to experience the comforts of their home while rehabilitating and do not like the idea of an inpatient program within a treatment center.
To battle the effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and to ensure that the individual is at the peak of their physical health during and after their mental health disorder treatment, sober companions are perfect for this arrangement. They can keep track of the person's goals while keeping them motivated not to drink alcohol or to resist the temptations of an alcoholic beverage or drug use.