Is Alcohol a Depressant: Know with Side Effects

Sometimes, you may question, “Is alcohol a depressant” or “How does alcohol impact mental health issues

Unfortunately, the young generations start drinking without knowing the ill effects of heavy drinking alcohol or the side effects of drinking alcohol regularly.

The results of drinking alcohol are physical health issues and mental health issues. However, this can be avoided with little information about alcohol consumption.

1. Is Alcohol A Depressant?

Yes, the answer is simple and absolute.

Consuming alcohol mainly “depresses” the central nervous system of our body, and it checks the responsiveness of your brain.

It is true that drinking makes you feel relaxed and at ease. However, this comes with specific side-effects. They can be slurred speech unsteady movement, and also includes inaccurate perceptions.

When people drink alcohol, they experience stimulating effects with the first drink. The initial exciting impacts of alcohol consumption are often found in social situations and many celebrations.

Alcohol’s sedative effects usually come after many drinks. When someone drinks too much alcohol, it affects them severely, and if their central nervous system 1is depressed, it can often lead to respiratory failure, even coma, or death.

It is often seen that some people drink regularly without developing any addiction. At the same time, some people develop an alcohol use disorder even when they first begin to drink alcohol.

Alcohol is a depressant, and it alters some of the brain chemicals that regulate mood. This often carries depression or anxiety.

Some scientists observed that depressive episodes come after drinking, which reduces serotonin levels.

Generally, this is a combination of many chemical changes caused by alcohol consumption. They often cause some problems to mental health, and too much drinking can deplete the neurotransmitters or the brain chemicals associated with the feelings.

However, if you drink heavily, you may even end up with chronic dysregulation and low blood pressure.

2. Side effects of Alcohol Mentally

These are the side effects of depressant abuse.

2.1. Alcohol Affecting Your Mood

Some alcoholic beverage is quite enjoyable, and most people do not drink because of their taste. They drink to enjoy the way it makes them feel. The alcohol consumed in beverages is ethyl alcohol2 and its by-products.

Alcohol affects your mood in different styles. Most people enjoy the lowered inhibition that is caused by consuming alcohol. This makes people willing to open up to other people they feel uncomfortable around. It can be family members or people they just met with.

Alcohol overdose has the ability to elevate your mood and can make you more likely to laugh, dance, and make new friends. They consume alcohol to make them feel better, which is generally a central nervous system depressant.

Alcohol always affects positively; however, an overdose of alcohol may also lead to less desirable moods.

Alcohol can reveal or intensify the underlying feelings, which can sometimes be disastrous if you have memories of traumas or painful events.

If the anger or resentment feelings intensify, this can also pose a danger to the person drinking and others drinking around them. This is why many people abuse alcohol.

2.2. How Alcohol Affects Your Mental Health Negatively

The alcohol and the mental health issues occur together. It is also seen that around 37 % of alcohol abusers suffer from at least one serious mental illness. Alcohol abuse and depression are two serious issues that one should not ignore.

Alcohol abuse can be one way to deal with your mental health disorder. Consuming alcohol always exacerbates the symptoms of your mental health issues, and along with that, a mental health disorder can worsen alcoholism.

The neurotransmitters in the brain get disrupted by alcohol, and this can create new problems when it is accompanied by mental illness. It makes it very hard for different parts of your brain to communicate.

Consuming more alcohol can interfere with your hormones and boost many mental health issues. It can even cause memory loss to suicide.

Alcohol use can exacerbate your symptoms of depression, leading you to be depressed by lowering your mood.

2.3. How Your Brain Reacts on Alcohol

When alcohol reaches your brain, several chemical changes are triggered. The brain functioning slows down due to alcohol misuse.

A depressed woman sitting alone on a chair in a room.
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
  • They also release the body’s feel-good chemicals, dopamine, and serotonin.
  • The depressants affect the gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA released during the body’s slowdown.
  • The body’s speed-up chemical is also released, which reduces the release of glutamate.

Slowly, the chemical changes in the body switch to physical side effects. This leads to slurred speech and slow reflexes with impaired motor skills. This can also lead to slow body temperature and breathing, which is alcohol poisoning.

2.4. What Happens When You Drink on Mood Disorders

Alcohol cravings can increase when they are sad and drink to act as a self-medical provider. This can be dangerous over time and create physical and psychological alcohol dependence.

Excessive drinking can also cause damage to your finances, relationships, and obviously physical and mental health.

Most people who look for a drink suffer from mood disorders. People with mood disorders need daily beverages to self-medicate. Moreover, if someone has a mental illness, it becomes pretty hard for substance abuse treatment.

Binge drinking can even lead to respiratory failure, coma3, or death. Also, drinking causes sleep disorders. Some patients stop taking antidepressants to drink.

Moreover, when a person consumes a depressant, they become more vulnerable to health risks.

3. Side effects of Alcohol Physically

Alcohol not only boosts mood disorders and substance abuse, but it also dramatically affects physical problems.

The most common effects of drinking do not occur immediately and are not easily identifiable.

People with alcohol dependence face health challenges throughout their lives. Alcohol-dependent patients may face risks of:

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Liver Damage
  3. Chronic Pancreatitis
  4. Cancer in the throat, mouth, or esophagus
  5. Thinner Bones
  6. Bipolar disorder
  7. Low Blood Pressure
  8. Loss of consciousness
  9. Loss of memory
  10. Blurred vision

Some other problems can develop quickly. They can be diarrhea, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

However, mental and physical health do not exist separately, so those who suffer from mood disorders can later have more severe depression diagnoses.

4. Drugs Which Can Cause Depression

Some drugs cause depression and alcohol. Some of the medicines carry serious risks for depression, including Zenatane or Absorcia. These medicines are used to treat severe acne.

When someone takes alcohol and other depressants, there are severe side effects. The other depressants affect feeling provide relaxation and also reduce the symptoms of anxiety. This can even lead to drug addiction.

If children in your family or other members are affected by drug abuse or alcohol abuse, then you should immediately call alcohol professional treatment advice from the National Institute.

5. Treatment and Medication for Alcohol Addiction

It does not matter how severe your alcohol addiction is, but recovery is always possible. When you speak of the specific treatment center, you can think about the treatment facility and the best treatment plan that will work for you.

The treatment provider always includes medication and therapy for the withdrawal of any addiction. However, the therapy of the treatment provider is far more effective than medicines.

You must know that a Rehab spot is not a treatment center or treatment facility that provides the treatment. They receive advertising payments from the treatment providers to respond to the chat requests on websites and are not associated in any way with the specific treatment provider. They are not treatment providers, so they look for medication and self-control.

You will also be given prescribed medication, approved by FDA. The medication may include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.

These medications block the reward signal, and people may find drinking less rewarding and finally begin to overcome addiction.

However, besides medications, there are also different types of therapy available. They include trauma-specific therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT4).

Some therapy is also for family or group therapy from support groups of Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) or Women for Sobriety (WFS).

6. Bottom Line

Dealing separately with mental health and alcohol use can be very difficult. If you are suffering from mental health 5problems from taking alcohol, you should look for alcohol withdrawal symptoms and go to treatment centers to peel back the layers of your addiction.

You must look for treatment centers; the treatment facilities are the only ones who can help you with this.

To know if alcohol is a depressant is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about it in detail. However, if you are an addict, you must call support groups, which include Alcoholics Anonymous, certified addiction professionals, and paid advertisers online chat.

Check the treatment plan, call the website’s main phone number, and discuss with the listed treatment providers.

7. Frequently Asked Questions 

7.1. How much alcohol is OK daily?

The quantity consumed by adults is generally less than 2 drinks per day for men and less than a drink per day for women. However, adults can choose to not drink at all.

7.2. Why do I cry when I get drunk?

Alcohol affects our moods and heightens our emotions. Therefore, a person can feel like crying to let out their emotions. 

  1. Asadi-Pooya, Ali A., and Leila Simani. “Central nervous system manifestations of COVID-19: a systematic review.” Journal of the neurological sciences 413 (2020): 116832. ↩︎
  2. Derikvandy, Azam, et al. “Genotoxicity and oxidative damage in zebrafish (Danio rerio) after exposure to effluent from ethyl alcohol industry.” Chemosphere 251 (2020): 126609. ↩︎
  3. Kondziella, Daniel, et al. “European Academy of Neurology guideline on the diagnosis of coma and other disorders of consciousness.” European journal of neurology 27.5 (2020): 741-756. ↩︎
  4. Atwood, Molly E., and Aliza Friedman. “A systematic review of enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT‐E) for eating disorders.” International Journal of Eating Disorders 53.3 (2020): 311-330. ↩︎
  5. Moreno, Carmen, et al. “How mental health care should change as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The lancet psychiatry 7.9 (2020): 813-824. ↩︎

Last Updated on by Suchi


Susanta Biswas

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