When there’s a celebration, people crack open a bottle of champagne. Bars are regular social scenes where friends meet over a beer. However, is alcohol a drug? Not only is the answer, “yes”, but you could also make the point that it’s among the most dangerous out there.
Understanding the Chemistry of Alcohol
Chemically speaking, alcohol is a depressant. It literally slows down the central nervous system. However, it doesn’t do so at first. After consuming the first drink, the effects are similar to taking a stimulant.
After the first drink, people might feel more at ease in social situations or more relaxed after a hard day at work. They become more outgoing and shed some inhibitions. Once they drink more than what their systems can handle, however, the drug’s depressant qualities come into play.
The original pleasant quality of loosening up is the one that keeps drinkers coming back. Nobody wakes up in the morning planning to become an alcoholic. However, like any other drug, consistent use results in forming a physical and psychological dependence. Someone struggling with an addiction no longer has the choice to take the next drink.
Why is Alcohol a Drug That’s More Dangerous Than Others?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 15 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder. Of that number, only 1.3 million participated in treatment programs. Experts suggest that alcohol ranks in fourth place for preventable deaths in the United States. The country’s cost associated with alcohol abuse is a staggering $249 billion.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 15 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder.
So, is alcohol a drug? Indeed, it is. Nevertheless, because it’s legal and easy to buy, people don’t readily recognize its danger. Additionally, since plenty of drinkers can have just one and then walk away, not everyone believes that addiction could develop.
The Difference Between Alcohol and Street Drugs
People drink alcohol or take street drugs for the same reasons: to feel good. Addiction to the substances develops slowly, but along the way health, lifestyle, dignity, and relationships deteriorate.
What sets apart alcohol from heroin and other street drugs is society’s acceptance.
For instance, being able to “hold your liquor” is a badge of honor for many men.
Neighbors might casually shake their heads at individuals walking up to their doors drunk.
Onlookers won’t react the same way they pass out on the front lawn with a needle in their arm.
When you remember that both types of drugs cause devastation, the distinction between the substances makes little sense.
That said, there’s good news, too. High-quality rehab that focuses on underlying, addiction-causing issues offers real solutions for sobriety, offering counseling strategies such as:
- Object relations therapy that focuses on childhood traumas
- Gestalt therapy to provide tools for completing the “working through” process of traumatic experiences
- Family systems identification, which allows participants to understand who they are
- Animal therapy that promotes the (re)emergence of empathy and authentic compassion
- A focus on mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical healing concurrently
If you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder, the caring therapists at The Clearing have the answer. Call 425-275-8600 today, and take the first step to changing your life.
To learn more about our innovative non 12 Step addiction recovery program, download our free eBook, "Healing Underlying Core Issues."