Is Alcohol a Drug North Jersey Recovery Center - A woman is struggling with her dependence on alcohol because is alcohol a drug? She is debating seeking treatment for her alcohol addiction

Is Alcohol a Drug?

Understanding Alcoholism and Where to Turn for Help

 
Many of us look forward to a few beers after work or a glass of wine while cooking dinner.

If we were to log how much alcohol we consume every week, we might notice a pattern that repeats itself.

Is it possible we are addicted to alcohol?

Is alcohol a drug?

It turns out that alcohol is a drug because it falls within the class of depressants.

You CAN become addicted to alcohol, which is referred to as “alcoholism.”


What is Alcohol?

 
Alcohol is a drink that is produced through fermentation.

The ingredients often include grains, fruits, sugar, yeast, and water.

We commonly know alcohol as beer, wine, and liquor, but is alcohol a drug?

Origins of Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages go thousands of years back.

A sense of pleasure and relaxation became the basis for drinking alcohol.

  • Evidence of alcohol appeared from the discovery of beer jugs dating back to around 10,000 B.C.
  • Egyptian hieroglyphics from around 4,000 B.C. indicate drinking wine is mentioned throughout the Bible as well.

As the 19th century rolled in, limitations on drinking alcohol were enforced, especially through prohibition.

Since then, alcohol has been regulated by laws restricting certain age groups from buying and drinking.

However, these laws often fail to curb the use of alcohol.

Young people still find ways to drink, and alcohol has become common in most social gatherings and events.

Ingredients in Alcohol

The combination of sugars and yeast, and other ingredients, causes a chemical process that produces ethanol.

It is this ethanol that, when consumed, changes the way our brain and body function.

Different types of alcoholic beverages contain varying amounts of ethanol.

Certain drinks will cause more intense symptoms than others.

The higher the alcohol content, the stronger the symptoms.

Addiction is not affected by the content of alcohol.

It can happen whether you consume beer or the hard stuff.

The main question is: Is alcohol a drug?

Alcohol Content in Different Types of Drinks

High Content:

  • Moonshine 100%
  • Liqueurs up to 60%
  • Vodka up to 50%
  • Whiskey up to 50%
  • Tequila up to 40%
  • Rum up to 40%


Low Content:

  • Wine and Wine Coolers up to 20%
  • Ciders and Ales up to 8%
  • Beer up to 6%

Alcohol is a Drug

Is alcohol a drug? If so, what kind of drug is alcohol?

Alcohol is a type of depressant, similar to many prescription drugs.

Alcohol may not be “prescribed,” but it affects the brain in many of the same ways that other drugs do.

Prescription Depressants:

  • Tranquilizers
  • Antipsychotics
  • Sedatives
  • Sleeping pills

 
Is alcohol a drug that is considered as bad as prescription depressants?

Yes, alcohol is just as addictive as Xanax, Lunesta, Klonopin, or any other depressant.

Effects of Alcohol

The side effects of alcohol are what drives us to seek it out and drink it.

How many of us go to a social gathering and enjoy a beer or glass of wine?

Do those drinks help you to relax and be more sociable?

The marriage of food and alcohol is often enjoyed, especially with BBQs, dinner parties, and cocktail hours.

Why? Because the “side effects” of alcohol can loosen us up to have more fun.

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Short-term Side Effects of Alcohol

The most immediate side effect of alcohol is that it makes us feel drunk.

These are some of the symptoms of drunkenness:
 

  • Sense of calm, relaxation
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impaired thinking
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Feeling tired
  • Lower heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing
  • Overall feeling of sadness
  • Urination difficulty
  • Blackouts

Long-term Side Effects of Alcohol

Is alcohol a drug that can cause serious and lasting side effects?

Yes, alcohol is the root of alcoholism, which is an addiction. 

Long term use of alcohol changes our brains and bodies in ways we may not be aware of.

Mental and Physical Side Effects

  • Addiction (alcoholism)
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Liver damage/disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Blackouts
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Cancer
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Worsening of mental disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts/tendencies
  • Suicide
  • Death
  • Moodiness
  • Abusive behavior
  • Fetal deformities
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Stillbirth
  • Miscarriage
  • Development of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
    • An alarming 80% of alcoholics are deficient in thiamine. This deficiency can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which is a brain disorder causing encephalopathy or psychosis.

Social Side Effects

  • Divorce
  • Relationship strain
  • Self-isolation
  • Indirect harm through accidents
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of friends
  • Loss of home
  • Financial strain
  • Drunk driving that can lead to arrest or imprisonment
  • Loss of driving privileges
  • Arrest and imprisonment
  • Requiring a lifetime of someone caring for you

Mental Illness and Alcoholism

 
Is alcohol a drug that worsens existing mental disorders?

In short, yes, it can.

Alcohol abuse is associated with numerous mental disorders and can exacerbate their severity.
 

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Mental Disorders Associated with Alcoholism

Alcohol Abuse Leads to Addiction

Why is alcohol a drug of choice for so many of us?

Alcohol does not require a prescription and is obtainable by merely going to the store.

Is alcohol a drug that only affects adults? No, it has the same addictive ability for teens, middle-aged adults, as well as the elderly.

When is alcohol abuse a drug problem?

The varying demographics of alcohol abuse and addiction are startling in contrast to what many of us think.

Under-Age Alcohol Abuse Within the U.S. during 2018:

  • Approximately 7.1 million under the age of 20 consumed alcohol, of which 19.5% were females, and 18.2% were males.
  • Approximately 4.3 million under the age of 20 participated in binge drinking.
  • Approximately 861,000 (2.3% of the age-group population) under the age of 20 heavily abused alcohol.

 
Older Adults and Alcohol Abuse Within the U.S. during 2018:

  • 3% of adults admit to drinking alcohol.
  • 45% of adults admit to binge drinking.
  • 6% of adults admit to heavily abusing alcohol.

 
A study done in 2012 indicated that 10% of children in the U.S. had an alcoholic parent.
 
When is alcohol use an addiction?

  • You crave it and cannot go for long periods without it.
  • You drink all throughout the day or night.
  • You cannot enjoy social events without drinking.
  • You spend your last dollar on alcohol.
  • You become violent and abusive towards your loved ones.
  • You prefer to drink alone.

 
If you see yourself in any of the above scenarios, facts, or statistics, you need help.

Many of us with an addiction to alcohol do not view ourselves as alcoholics.

Taking the first step in admitting you are an alcoholic is the hardest part of this recovery journey.

Reaching Out for Help

When you continue to allow alcohol to control you and your life, you stand to lose so much.

Your sense of pride, independence, and your loved ones are far more precious than a drink.

Even worse, can you live with yourself if you drink and drive and end up killing someone?

Did you know that someone dies because of a drunk driver every 50 minutes in the U.S.?

How Do You Get Help?

Admitting you have a drinking problem is the first and hardest step.

Now it is time to get help from professionals who will be by your side the entire time.

The next step to take is to make that call.
 
North Jersey Recovery Center is a leading treatment facility for alcoholism.

We have a professional standing by 24/7 to take your phone call.

The moment you speak with someone, you will be embraced with compassion.

Inpatient

Detox is a necessary step to rid your body of alcohol.

You will be admitted as an inpatient where you have the choice of social or medical detox.

A team of medical professionals will be by your side during the entire process until you have stabilized.

After you are stable, you will then advance to the “inpatient hospitalization” program, where you ease back into life while still residing at the facility.

Outpatient

When you have graduated to the outpatient program, you will visit the facility as scheduled to continue treatment.

For those who need to plan their treatment around work, children, or school, we offer “intensive outpatient therapy.”

Payment and Insurance

Our staff is more than happy to verify your insurance on your behalf to make things easier for you. You also have the option to use our online verification form to do it yourself.


Regaining Control to Live a Full Life

Treatment is a gift to yourself and to those you love.

Do not let alcohol slowly strip you of the most valuable things and pleasures of life.

You have value and worth, and who knows, you may be the one who inspires someone else with the same problem to find help.

Be their inspiration!

Relapse Prevention Triggers and Warning Signs North Jersey Recovery Center - A man relapses with his alcohol addiction because he was unaware of how to handle his prevention triggers and warning signs

Relapse Prevention Triggers and Warning Signs

Relapse – One of the Biggest Fears a Someone Recovering from Addiction

One of the biggest fears of every person that is recovering from addiction is relapsing. Recovery from addiction usually comes with a lot of different challenges.

Sobriety is often described as a journey because of the length of time it takes to get to a safe and healthy place. Addiction is a war that lasts a lifetime. Battling addiction while dealing with the day-to-day challenges that come with life is extremely tasking.

Those in recovery agree that there are so many different triggers that may cause a relapse.

Avoiding these triggers and thriving is very difficult but still possible.

To relapse simple means to slip back into a former state.

In this case, a relapse means moving back into drug use and abuse.

One important thing to note is that a decline can happen at any time.

In some cases, a relapse may be a one-time thing only.

In other cases, a relapse may lead to several other declines and, eventually, back to addiction. What determines whether relapse is a one-time thing or if it is not is how it is managed.

Individuals in recovery need to be able to recognize their possible relapse triggers and have a relapse plan to handle them.

Triggers

In most cases, triggers vary from person to person.

However, some universal triggers have been identified.

These situations make recovering addicts susceptible to relapse.

Better understanding these triggers can help with relapse preventions.

Unrealistic Expectations

A lot of individuals recovering from addiction expect their lives to completely change after overcoming addiction.

It is natural to feel that after such a significant life adjustment, major changes should begin to happen. The disappointment that comes when these expectations are not fulfilled can be a relapse trigger.

Those in recovery should learn to pace themselves. Understanding that recovery is a process that may take some time goes a long way in preventing a relapse. Part of recovery is getting your life back, and this can take some time.

Old/Familiar Friendships

Falling back into old habits with old acquaintances can also be a trigger for relapses.

Friends may remind you of the euphoria of drug use, while leaving out the bad parts.

Those in recovery need to avoid or limit their interactions with old friends. Being around old friends allows you to consider drugs as an option when you are in bad situations.

To ultimately ensure that drugs are not a solution for anything, you must keep old friends, who encourage bad habits, away.

Anger

Even sober people can find themselves doing unnatural things when angry.

For recovering individuals, anger should be monitored closely as a trigger.

Most of these individuals may feel an urge to resort to drug use to deal with anger.

Those who have struggled with addiction must learn how to process anger without drugs.

It is also vital to avoid getting angry as much as they can. Anger management can be treated with Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

Loneliness

A lot of recovering individuals deal with loneliness. This emotion is dangerous because they may use pills or other substances to numb the loneliness.

Whenever you may feel lonely, take some time to join a support group to distract yourself.

As much as possible, recovering persons should avoid being lonely because it is a trigger.

It is important to be surrounded by friends and a network of supporters who can engage you well enough to prevent a relapse.

Hunger

Although it is hardly talked about, being hungry can cloud judgment.

It is important that those in recovery eat healthy and frequently.

Having a good meal makes you less likely to slip-up and relapse.

Regular meals and healthy snacks are important to prevent any potential relapses.

Fatigue

Recovering persons need to pace themselves.

The initial excitement of being drug-free may lead many recovering individuals to take on more than they can handle. It is important to ensure that you expend energy consciously.

Fatigue makes anyone vulnerable, and it is crucial to avoid situations that may cause a recovering person vulnerable.

If you are spread too thin, you may begin to look for other sources of energy, which may lead you back to square one.

Relapse Prevention Warning Signs

Identifying triggers is one of the first steps to preventing relapse.

However, it is just as important to recognize what signs may indicate that a relapse is possible. 

Understanding the warning signs of relapse allows you to take precautionary steps to prevent relapse.

The decline is more of a process than an isolated event. Relapses are usually a three-step process: emotional, mental and physical.

The warning signs of a relapse can also be classified into these three categories:

Emotional Warning Signs

Emotional warning signs are usually part of the process where the person begins to feel negative emotions.

At this point, most people have no intention of relapsing.

Certain emotions must be monitored closely to ensure that they do not lead to a relapse.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a major emotional sign of a relapse.

When a person begins to worry intensely about the future, they are more vulnerable to relapse.

Worrying about things that cannot be controlled usually pushes recovering persons to find escapes. Recurring feelings of anxiety are a warning sign.

Mood Swings

Mood swings are usually indicative of a potential relapse.

In most instances, the highs and lows of mood swings usually leave the recovering individuals vulnerable.

Where you notice a repeated pattern of mood swings, it is essential to seek help.

Anger

Anger can also be indicative of a potential relapse.

Frequent outbursts of anger usually leave people disoriented and vulnerable.

If such episodes become more and more prevalent, it may be a sign of a likely relapse.

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Mental Warning Signs

At this point, the emotional warning signs outlined above may have driven a person to consider using substances again.

Most of the mental warning signs are an internal struggle between relapsing and staying strong.

The person may consider relapsing as a coping mechanism for emotional stress. Some mental stress warning include;

Having Fantasies about Relapsing

Fantasizing about relapsing is a huge mental warning sign and should be taken seriously for relapse prevention.

In most cases, constant consideration of the possibility of relapsing ends with people relapsing.

Lying

If you frequently find yourself lying about things, you may have a problem.

It is essential to be accountable to friends and family.

Dishonesty may create a platform for relapsing. By being honest, it helps with relapse prevention.

Glamorizing your Past

Always reminiscing and glamorizing former drug use can lead to a relapse.

It is important to let go of those memories and focus on making new ones.

Hanging Around Old Spots

If you constantly hang around spots where you used to do drugs, you may have a problem.

There is a higher possibility of a person relapsing in familiar environments.

Staying far away from such places is the best option for relapse prevention.

Treatment

If you have experienced any of these warning signs, you may need professional help to maintain your sobriety.

Although some relapses are one-time events, most relapses lead right back to a full-on addiction.

At North Jersey Recovery Center, our professionals are available to help you manage your triggers and warning signs.

When well managed, these warning signs are only signs.

Our professionals are experienced in dealing with relapses.

The level of experience our professionals at North Jersey Recovery Center provide the skills needed to prevent potential relapses.

To ensure that all of our clients experience the best services, we offer free insurance verification services.

The best therapy and treatment services for relapse prevention will be administered to you.

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Our personnel will contact your insurance providers directly to ensure that you get the necessary coverage for relapse prevention.

Sobriety is a journey.

At North Jersey Recovery Center, we ensure that you continue to move forward on your journey.

You deserve a happy and healthy life, and this is what we aim to give to you.