November 2, 2020

Is Alcohol a Depressant? The Truth About Our Favourite Poison

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Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Is alcohol a depressant? It’s a common question with a lot of confusion around it. How can the drug we use to make a party ‘go with a swing’ be a depressant?

We tend to see alcohol as a harmless social element that makes us feel better and helps us to deal with our stressful lives. The impacts of drinking on the human body vary from pick-me-up to pure depressant and if you drink it long enough it will actually change the wiring of your brain.

Drugs are classified by governments based on how dangerous they are. The class of substances is ascertained by their impact on the human brain. However, drinking triggers various consequences as it travels through the system. Alcohol impacts over one hundred distinct receptors in the mind yet is essentially categorized as a central nervous system sedative.

After quitting drinking life gets so good
After quitting drinking life gets so good

How Alcohol Influences the Brain

The classification of alcohol was not so easy to do because of the numerous separate influences it has on the mind and body. Consuming alcohol upsets the central nervous system and increases the impacts of the main repressive neurotransmitter, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA).

GABA is in charge of delivering specific messages to the mind that leads to sleep or sedation, pleasure, and enhancements in state of mind. These are results that resemble other sedatives, like many Benzo based drugs.

Recent reports have revealed that the impacts of drinking are established by what amount a person drinks and whether their blood alcohol content (BAC) is going up or dropping.

When in the process of drinking, alcohol serves as a stimulus. However, as alcohol consumption subsides, it starts to function as a tranquillizer. This is due to the fact that alcohol causes several consequences as it goes through the system. Initially, about twenty percent of the alcohol you consume is assimilated into the circulatory system when it meets the gut then the remainder transfers to the small intestine.

How Alcohol Is Processed

Inside the small intestine, 80% of the alcohol is quickly assimilated into the blood vessels and is supplied to all area of the system, including the old grey matter.

As soon as alcohol gets to the mind, it sets off the production of “feel-good” compounds like dopamine and serotonin and raises amounts of norepinephrine that induce exhilaration and stimulation.

A falling BAC results in a decline in stamina and a rise in tiredness, disarray, and anxiety. These shifts lead to tangible adverse effects that make us slur our words and start to forget things. Consuming alcohol excessively in a single period is known as binge drinking and can be just as harmful as chronic alcohol use.

Even though drinking results in a wide range of consequences in the body and mind, it primarily impacts the GABA receptor in the prefrontal cerebral cortex, the hippocampus, and the brain. These areas of the human brain respond to even modest amounts of alcohol and revealed a loss in function after alcohol use.

Reduced action in these areas of the mind can lead to amnesia, reduced motor function, and illogical reasoning, which are all prevalent effects of all types of sedative.

Alcohol Use Disorders
Alcohol Use Disorders

Is Alcohol a Depressant? How do we know for sure?

Because drinking is classified as a sedative and changes brain areas that control our mental state, many might question if drinking really causes depression. Experts have examined the link between drinking and mental health. They have found several fascinating connections.

Drinking an excessive amount can rapidly reduce the chemicals in the brain needed for us to feel good. The brain typically recuperates after an evening of consuming alcohol. However, substantial use of alcohol as time goes on may result in long-term shifts in the cerebrum, leading to clinical depression or anxiety disorders.

An evaluation of reports from the last five years reveals that compared to non-drinkers, people who were dependent on alcohol were more likely to suffer from mental health problems. Individuals with alcohol addiction are 4 times more inclined to end up being clinically depressed, greater than 6 times in danger for bipolar affective disorder, and greater than 4 times at risk for generalised anxiety disorder.

Drinking Alcohol And Mental Health

If you have other mental health problems you are much more likely to form an addiction to alcohol or end up being alcoholic. Somebody who is in a low state of mind might consume alcohol intensely as a means of “self-medicating,” but this is hazardous and raises the danger of forming a dependency.

Additionally, reports have revealed that clients with co-occurring conditions (like alcohol addiction and anxiety) have more trouble when undergoing alcohol addiction treatment.

Drinking can also harm the efficiency of many antidepressants or aggravate the medicine’s side effects. A few impacts of consuming alcohol while on antidepressant medicine involve:

  • Raised sensations of sadness or worry
  • A surge in high blood pressure
  • Severe tiredness

Individuals might even stop taking antidepressants so as to consume alcohol. Nobody should stop taking their antidepressant prescription medication without first speaking with their physician.

Is Alcohol a Depressant
Is Alcohol a Depressant

Ready To Improve Your Mental Health

Is alcohol a depressant? The short answer is yes and more beyond that. Alcohol is terrible for mental health, which is ironic because we tend to turn to it in our difficult moments.

If you are worried about your drinking, our advice is to take action today. Life simply feels so much better when you quit drinking for good.

The next step is to reserve your place on our next free quit drinking coaching session. Craig will explain how our approach works for problem drinking.

You will even get a free copy of the bestselling book ‘Alcohol Lied To Me’ as a free download.

Craig Beck - The Stop Drinking Expert


About the author: Stop Drinking Expert - Craig Beck ABNLP. ABHYP. DhP. is an internationally renowned, specialist alcohol cessation coach and quit drinking mentor. Using his experience as a former problem drinker, combined with professionals qualifications, accreditations and practice as an addiction therapist, ICF licensed coach, master practitioner of NLP and master hypnotherapist. Independently respected and rated. Not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Craig Beck

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