What Is a Drug and Can Alcohol Be A Drug?

What is a drug? What is the accepted definition? According to the Oxford dictionary, a drug is anything that is “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.” So is alcohol a drug? ‘Yes, it is. Alcohol depresses the Central Nervous System (CNS). This means that ingesting alcohol will respond with a slowing of the brain’s ability to function in addition to the slowing down or capability of many systems in the body. When the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is in excess it inhibits the body’s ability to function properly. 

After consuming alcohol, the body can produce symptoms including:

  • Slowed reaction
  • Mental fuzziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Imbalance in walking and standing
  • Poor motor skills
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Bad judgment
  • Poor perceptions
  • Lethargy and marked tiredness

Clinically, alcohol is considered a depressant but depending on how much alcohol one consumes and how it is broken down in the body it can be considered a stimulant. The difference between potential depressant and stimulant responses is how much is consumed. More will lead to depressant capabilities while less will be more stimulating.  When one is hyped up on alcohol they can show the following characteristics:

  • Chattiness
  • Extrovertedness
  • More confidence
  • Faster heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Happier mood
  • A state of euphoria

A study was done by Behavioral Neurobiology of Alcohol Addiction, and it showed that those who tend to exhibit more stimulative effects from alcohol are at the highest risk for alcohol use disorder. Comparatively, those who have a more sedative effect will be at much less risk. Even though the study found a correlation between an individual’s response to alcohol consumption, there are still many other factors that play a role in addiction. Genetics, environmental conditions, and familial influences can also be a part of the equation to understand why someone has an alcohol use disorder or not.

Why Do People Become Dependant On Alcohol?

Addiction is a disease. Out of all the substances that can be abused to a negative impact on an individual, alcohol is the number one substance which tends to be the most addictive. In the United States, certainly, the statistics show that alcohol is the most used addictive substance with about 17.6  million people suffering from alcohol dependence.

Alcohol attacks a person both physically and psychologically. As such, a person who is predisposed to being an addict can be at high risk of alcohol gaining control over their lives in every way. Because alcohol use can produce euphoric effects, there are some people who are biologically prone to drink alcohol and experience more euphoria than others.

Aftercare Options

What Is a Drug and Can Alcohol Be A DrugSometimes we can’t help but find ourselves in a situation that we didn’t intend to be in and seems almost impossible to get out of. Substance abuse, being a disease, is one of those situations that no one intentionally puts themselves into. Luckily, the Tennessee-based addiction alternative treatment center at Discovery Place has in-patient programs, long-term programs, family treatment, and after-care that are all designed to help anyone struggling with addiction.  Discovery Place’s Tennessee medical detox alternative center is located on a seventeen-acre retreat just outside Nashville. Our center is small, intimate, and peaceful allowing you to embrace your sobriety calmly and soothingly.

Discovery Place’s Tennessee 12-step addiction alternative center’s team is here to talk with you about your needs, call us today to get started on your road to recovery at 1-800-725-0922.


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