Did you know that alcohol can have opposite effects? It acts in different ways at different times of using. So, is alcohol a stimulant or depressant? Your questions–answered.
Is Alcohol a Stimulant or Depressant?
Experts classify alcohol as a depressant. Doing so puts it on the same level as opioid painkillers. It slows down your breathing. Moreover, the chemicals in the liquid affect a neurotransmitter that biologists refer to as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
These are all hallmarks of a nervous system depressant. That said, alcohol also results in a limited triggering of a dopamine release. This is the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter. However, this function is something you’d usually associate with a stimulant such as cocaine.
Taking a Closer Look at the Influx of the Chemicals
Is alcohol a stimulant or a depressant? Sometimes it tricks you into drinking more with the promise of a stimulant dopamine release. It doesn’t do so consistently, which then results in the sedative, depressant effect. Although this line of reasoning is partially correct, there’s still more to it. Researchers found that drinking alcohol changes your mood, behaviors, and thinking patterns.
But these changes occur as blood alcohol levels rise and drop. In other words, the drug may act as a stimulant in some situations while shifting to a depressant in others. So the answer to is alcohol a stimulant or depressant is confusing. Usually, the sedative effects take hold as you stop building up the level of alcohol in your blood. As you actively work on increasing it, the stimulant effects begin anew.
An Unsustainable High
Sustaining this high is impossible. A gradually rising blood alcohol level results in acute intoxication and possibly a blackout. It can also lead to alcohol poisoning. However, because there’s the promise of a high before the depressant qualities take over, people keep drinking more.
This latter quality results in the addictive properties of alcohol. Much like stimulant drugs, it affects the brain’s ability to release neurotransmitters. You fear to be without alcohol because it can make it difficult to deal with life’s situations. You experience withdrawal symptoms, a deepening depression, and anxiety without it.
Overcoming an Addiction to Alcohol
So, is alcohol a stimulant or depressant? It can be a stimulant. But it can also put you in a depressive situation that quickly turns into a vicious cycle. Getting out requires alcohol detox.
Don’t assume that you can quit cold turkey at home. Because of its effects concerning neurotransmitter release, some withdrawal symptoms are dangerous. They’re also incredibly uncomfortable. Getting help at a detox facility is safe and pain-free.
There, therapists work with you by customizing a treatment protocol. Examples of possible therapies include:
- Pharmacological assistance for safe withdrawal
- Medical monitoring that allows for adjustments to medications if needed
- Behavioral therapy, which enables you to recognize your reasons for using
- Family therapy as a means to re-open communication with loved ones
- Gender-specific group therapy sessions that provide a nurturing, safe environment for healing
If you can’t figure out is alcohol a stimulant or depressant or If you’re struggling with an alcohol addiction right now, there’s hope. Don’t continue suffering. The expert addiction staff at Serenity House Detox & Recovery wants to help you overcome this chemical dependency. Call 866-294-5306 right now to start a new life, alcohol-free.