Is Alcohol a Drug?
Many people often ask the question: is alcohol a drug? Because this substance is seen as a socially acceptable form of recreation and is widely available throughout the vast majority of the United States, it can be easy to believe drinking is not akin to using drugs. But this lack of stigma or taboo status doesn’t take away from the fact that alcohol is still the third leading preventable cause of death in the country. Society’s relaxed views on the substance can contribute to a casual, almost indifferent attitude towards alcohol abuse. Because casual drinking is tolerated in society and isn’t frowned upon, it can be difficult to accept that drinking is more than just a harmless form of recreation and can have serious health consequences if one doesn’t moderate their usage.
What is a Drug?
In order to determine whether alcohol can be considered a drug, it’s important to define what a drug is. According to Merriam-Webster, a drug is defined as a substance that has a physiological effect on a person when ingested or introduced to the body. Under this broad definition, it can be easy to answer the question: is alcohol a drug? This is due to the fact that the ingestion of this substance has a direct impact on how a person’s body functions.
While much has been made of the recent opioid crisis, what is often lost in the mix is the fact that alcohol use and abuse constitutes a serious health emergency in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 88,000 people each year die from alcohol-related causes, highlighting the severity of the problem. In fact, according to a 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 6.2% of adults in the US have an alcohol use disorder, an example of how common this drug is impacting the general population.
Alcohol abuse disorder and substance abuse disorder can be used interchangeably when discussing drinking or drug use, showcasing how similar these two conditions can be. Regardless of whether a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, both substances can cause a person to lose sight of their priorities, creating a strain on their health and relationships with others. In both situations, a person will often ignore their most important responsibilities in favor of drinking or using another drug. Alcohol can be similarly self-destructive to that of using drugs, as it can create a distorted relationship with one’s self and the world they inhabit.
How Excessive Drinking Can Wreck a Person’s Health and Social Life
Alcohol consumption can have profound health implications for a person if they begin to regularly use this substance to excess. Side effects of consuming alcohol include damage to one’s heart, as heavy drinking can weaken the heart and negatively affect how oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your body’s vital organs. This can eventually lead to things such as high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. An individual’s overall health can be severely impacted by regular alcohol consumption, and other organs such as the liver, brain, kidneys, pancreas, and other areas of one’s body can also be affected.
In addition to clear-cut physical symptoms, there are also cognitive and mental health conditions that can manifest themselves when a person is using alcohol regularly to excess. Things such as lapses in memory and coordination, nerve damage, and mood dysregulation can all be the result of alcohol consumption. A person’s overall sense of self-esteem can be depleted through an alcohol abuse disorder, which can also exacerbate existing mental health conditions. An increase in things such as anxiety can also develop as the result of a person’s drinking.
Outside of the physical effects to one’s body, an addiction to alcohol can also result in serious negative consequences to one’s social life. Once a person begins to prioritize their substance abuse above the people most important in their life, their relationships will begin to suffer. Eventually, a person may feel as though the only people they can comfortably associate with are those who share a person’s level of substance abuse.
Addressing the Problem Proactively
If alcohol is your drug of choice and you find yourself struggling to maintain control, it’s critical to take the initiative to regain control of your direction in life. Often, this can require seeking professional outside help in order to facilitate and speed up one’s path to recovery. Treatment for alcohol use disorder can include a number of serious health interventions that can require medical supervision in certain cases where a physical detox is required. It can also involve a psychotherapeutic component as a way to not only quit alcohol but determine why the habit formed to begin with.
Attempting to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you’re going it alone without any outside support. If you’re seeking support to make this important self-transformation a reality and are looking for an excellent addiction treatment center, contact Desert Cove Recovery today. Our trusted team will help guide you through the rehab process, working side-by-side with you to create a treatment plan that works and have you on the path to a new lease on life.