What is a Drug?
Is alcohol a drug? To answer this question, another question must be asked: Does the substance alter your state of mind?
Alcohol is a depressant that directly affects the central nervous system. When consuming alcohol, your physical and cognitive functions are impaired.
It is the oldest and most widely abused substance on earth.
Many experience tremors, rapid pulse, increased blood pressure, rapid breathing, hot flashes, nausea, and vomiting.
BriteLife Recovery helps many people overcome their addiction to alcohol.
If you are struggling with alcoholism, our treatment programs can genuinely make a difference in your recovery.
History of Alcohol
The history of alcohol goes way back.
The first archaeological evidence is dated to 7000 BCE (Before Common Era).
Alcohol has played a key role in the survival of early humans. Why? The process of fermentation preserves and improves the nutritional value of drinks and food.
Once early humans made this discovery, alcohol became a staple for trade and wealth status.
When Drinking is More than Just for Fun
When you think about your drinking habits, what comes to mind?
You may think of stereotypes that do not quite fit your image of an alcoholic. For example, the first image that comes to mind may be the homeless.
These are many ways in which alcoholism manifests itself.
You might only struggle to limit your alcohol intake and not consider yourself truly dependent. However, when you consistently overstep boundaries, this is a red flag to address.
The Alcoholism Spectrum
Whether you have concerns about your drinking habits or advanced alcoholism, the spectrum encompasses it all.
When you look on a spectrum, you can understand where your drinking habits fall.
On one end of alcoholism, the spectrum is moderate drinkers. In contrast, the other end is someone suffering from advanced alcohol abuse. Between those two extremes, there is plenty of grey area.
While this spectrum does not always indicate an issue, it can provide a way to make a clear assessment.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Body?
Drinking alcohol affects the neurotransmitters in your brain. These chemicals are the messengers in the brain that direct controlling behavior, emotions, and action.
Alcohol both excites and inhibits the fine balance of neurotransmitters.
The neurotransmitter GABA slows. You may experience slurred speech, sluggish movements, and slower reaction times. On the flip side, alcohol excites the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel good.
Your Mental Health and Alcoholism
If you've been drinking for a long time, you may have noticed your tolerance for the beverage increased over time.
Tolerance leads to you drinking more to achieve the desired effect.
Chronic drinkers often suffer from a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, commonly referred to as a “wet brain.” This condition is a result of chronic alcohol abuse. This syndrome is a type of dementia that is a result of a deficiency of thiamine. Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb this critical brain nutrient.
A BriteLife Recovery
If you are ready to seek help, the good news is that BriteLife Recovery can help reverse the damage caused by alcohol abuse.
For many people who stop drinking, the brain elastic can reverse early damage.
We can detox you from alcohol in a safe and supportive environment.
When you come to our facilities, we can also help address any underlying conditions that lead you to abuse alcohol.
No matter where you are in your addiction, you can get the help you need to kick this habit and finally live your best life.
What Happens When You Stop Drinking?
When your brain is accustomed to your drinking habits, it is hard to adjust when you stop. Alcoholism withdrawal is a very predictable pattern. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms.
- Tremors (Shakes) — You may start experiencing tremors or shakes within a short time after your last drink. Many can begin feeling these withdrawal symptoms within five hours after their last drink. Fortunately, for many, these acute symptoms peak within 48 hours of drinking.
- Delirium Tremens — Delirium tremens begin two to three days after one's last alcoholic drink and is a very serious complication of alcohol withdrawal. Tremens negatively affect breathing, circulation, and body temperature. You may experience a racing heartbeat and increased blood pressure. Delirium tremens reduce blood flow to your brain. Symptoms can include confusion or loss of consciousness.
- Alcohol Hallucinations — Many people report that they see or feel things that are not there during alcohol detox. Although it may be alarming, it is predictable for you to see multiple small moving objects. These events can be described as crawling insects or falling coins. You may experience vivid and detailed hallucinations.
- Alcohol Withdrawal Seizures — Seizures may occur six to 48 hours after one's last drink. Therefore, a medical detox at BriteLife Recovery is essential. This is a common withdrawal symptom. The risk of seizers within the first 48 hours is typical.
Is alcohol a drug that you need help to detox from? The answer is yes.
Unlike other substances, sudden absence can lead to life-threatening conditions that can result in heart failure.
Alcohol withdrawal is a reaction from your body when you stop drinking.
The most common signs of withdrawal from alcohol are tremors, sleep disturbance, and increased anxiety. When you begin withdrawal from alcohol, you will experience intense cravings. Your brain becomes hyper-stimulated, and you may find this part very uncomfortable.
When you are a client at BriteLife Recovery, we can manage these symptoms in a stress-free environment away from triggers that compel you to use.
During medical detox, every symptom is addressed quickly.
When your withdrawal is managed, the process is tolerable, and the likelihood of reaching the end goal of recovery is possible.
At BriteLife, we set you up to succeed from day one.
Treating Alcoholism with Medications
Did you know the Food and Drug Administration has approved medications that support long-term sobriety?
Two types of medications will reduce your alcohol cravings. They are Naltrexone and Acamprosate.
When you drink, you still feel the effects of alcohol because your coordination and judgment are impaired. What these medications do is take away that "feel-good" feeling associated with the alcohol. When this happens, the motivation to drink will become less over time.
The other medication to treat alcoholism is Disulfiram. However, this medication is the least effective treatment for alcoholism. Disulfiram is not as effective as the other two medications because of the severe adverse effects when you drink. Any amount of alcohol, even inside food, will cause you to become very ill. This is the reason why people stop taking it.
These medications are administered in combination with other treatment therapies and programs.
Treatment for Alcoholism
When you are fresh out of detox, it is important to understand the different levels of addiction treatment.
Detoxing is just one of the many levels of care to help you reach sustainable recovery from alcohol.
Inpatient care allows you to continue working on yourself as you address the issues of your addiction.
Is alcohol a drug? Yes, alcohol is a highly addictive drug.
You still may experience psychological and environmental cues that can cause you to relapse in the early stages of recovery.
Outpatient care is another level of care that allows you more freedom as you become steadfast in your recovery. You can begin putting to practice the lessons you learned in real-life situations at this level of care. This is the ultimate test if you are newly sober.
There are times when you may need to step back a level to ensure your recovery.
Recovering in Comfort at BriteLife Recovery
Is alcohol a drug? Alcohol is an addictive drug.
If you are struggling with reducing or stopping your alcohol use, you may have an alcohol drug addiction.
There is hope at BriteLife Recovery. Our goal is to support you at every step, from detox and beyond.
We provide long-term solutions that support a sustainable recovery from alcoholism.
Although addiction is not curable, there are many ways you can support continued sobriety at BriteLife Recovery.
We provide the best care in South Carolina for those recovering from alcohol and drug addictions. We offer both short- and long-term solutions if you are struggling with addiction.
Reach out today for a brighter future from BriteLife Recovery.