Alcohol is a Drug

By The Care Centers. Posted on Fri Feb 26 2016

When people talk about alcohol consumption and alcoholism, you’ll often hear them make a distinction between alcohol and drugs. They usually differentiate between the two because illicit drugs are illegal, and it’s illegal to use prescription drugs recreationally. However, you should be aware that alcohol is actually a drug, that it is addictive, and that it can cause as many problems in your life as any other addictive drug.

What Is a Drug?
When you think of drugs, you may automatically think of marijuana, heroin, or methamphetamines, but these are only a few. Essentially, drugs are defined as any kind of chemical that affects your brain and the way your body functions. By this definition, you can see how alcohol is a drug, and so are chemicals like caffeine, nicotine, and aspirin. Some drugs, when used properly, are not dangerous, such as caffeine or aspirin. Others are unsafe in any dosage, such as nicotine, while alcohol falls somewhere in between.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Brain?
When you drink alcohol, your brain’s reward center responds by releasing dopamine, making you feel good. In fact, you may even have a sense of euphoria. However, alcohol is actually a depressant. After you get that dopamine release and after your inhibitions have been suppressed, it will actually make you feel tired, slow, and can make you moody and irritable. After using alcohol regularly for long enough, you will also build a tolerance for it, so you’ll need to drink more and more to get that same dopamine release and that euphoric feeling that you once got from only one or two drinks.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Body?
Like most drugs, alcohol won’t immediately have a negative effect on your body, and if you maintain good moderation and don’t drink regularly, you may never notice any detrimental effects to your physical health. However, alcohol is a diuretic, and it makes your liver work overtime. Overuse of alcohol can result in an enlarged liver, liver and/or kidney failure, shrinking in the frontal lobe of your brain, pain in your pancreas, vision problems, and more.

Getting Treatment for Addiction
All too often, people think that they can just quit drinking whenever they want. However, if you have a physical dependence on alcohol, this can result in severe and painful withdrawal symptoms. Not only that, but people who have a physical dependence on alcohol almost always have a psychological dependence on it, as well. Thus, quitting cold turkey is not always a great idea, but getting addiction counseling and rehabilitative treatment may help even those who have given up all hope of ever quitting and getting their lives back under control.

If you have a problem with alcohol, the answer may not be as simple as putting down the liquor. There’s no shame in asking for help and getting the care and assistance you need to get healthy again. Reach out for help to one of The Care Centers’ rehab facilities near you today.


Tags: Substance Rehab