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Many people consume alcohol as a way to relax and to reduce their inhibitions. Although this addictive substance can have stimulating effects, alcohol is a depressant that can have long-term effects on your overall health. Understanding the way in which alcohol affects the body can help you to recover from alcohol addiction and can provide you with the information you need to reduce your risk of relapse into addictive behaviors. At Sober Living America, we offer compassionate and caring addiction recovery services that can help you learn more about your addiction and can support your recovery in many ways.
Alcohol Can Act as a Stimulant
Especially during the early stages of drinking, alcohol can produce effects similar to those of a stimulant. Increased heart rate, higher rates of aggression and loss of inhibitions are typically seen during the early stages of drinking. These symptoms are attributable to the release of dopamine caused by alcohol consumption. As the initial release of dopamine fades, however, the depressant effects of alcohol become much more evident.
Alcohol Is a Depressant
As more alcohol is consumed, its sedative and depressant properties become much more significant and severe. Slowed breathing, impaired cognitive functions, slurred speech, lower blood pressure and sleepiness or unconsciousness are all possible symptoms of excessive alcohol use. These are also common symptoms of overuse of other depressants. In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can result in death because of the disruption of the nervous system caused by its depressant properties.
How Depressants Affect the Body
Along with the primary effects of alcohol, which include lower heart rate and reduced cognitive abilities, it can also create a wide range of side effects in the early stages of drinking:
- Temporary increases in heart rate
- Faster breathing
- Aggressive behaviors
- Increases in perceived energy
As more alcohol is consumed, however, the depressant effects of alcohol become much more obvious. Sleepiness, nausea and lapses into unconsciousness are some of the most common depressive side effects of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Addiction and Depression
Since alcohol is a depressant, it is not surprising that excessive use of alcohol has been linked to the psychological condition depression in many individuals. Those suffering from addiction to alcohol are almost four times as likely to experience major depression compared with those who do not abuse alcohol.
In a similar way, people who have struggled with depression are at higher risk of developing an addiction to alcohol. This two-way link between alcohol and depression makes treatment of both conditions much more difficult. Many individuals with depression use alcohol as a way to self-medicate. Addressing the underlying causes of both alcohol addiction and depression will often be necessary to begin the process of recovery.
Sober Living America Can Help
At Sober Living America, we offer addiction recovery services that provide help for the whole person, not just the addiction. Our faith-based program can provide housing, career development services, transportation and recovery solutions that are available without regard for your ability to pay or your current situation. To learn more about the recovery options available to you at Sober Living America, visit us online or call us today at 877-430-0086. Our team is here to help you begin your own journey to recovery.