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!

6 Ways to Know You Have a Drinking Problem North Jersey Recovery Center - A man is thinking about the red flags that may mean a drinking problem is prevalent and he may need treatment for alcohol addiction

6 Ways to Know You Have a Drinking Problem

What is Considered a Drinking Problem?

 
Alcohol drinking is a sensitive subject for those who drink but profess they do not have a drinking problem.

Awareness is the first step in how to know if you have a drinking problem.

Admitting you have a drinking problem is the first step, but we look at the different things that indicate dependence (addiction) on alcohol before we go that far.

If you or a loved one drinks a lot, this article will give you a better understanding of alcohol dependence.

  • Do you drink throughout the day?
  • Do you need alcohol to get through any type of social gathering or event?
  • Have you noticed that you are always holding a beer or drink in photos?
  • Do you lose track of time or have blackouts?
  • Has your loved one left you because of alcohol?

Is Alcohol a Drug?

Alcohol does not have the same chemicals that drugs do.

However, alcohol is a depressant and is classified as such.

You can grow dependent on alcohol.

We want to give you an overview of what alcohol addiction looks like.

Alcohol is classified as a depressant. Although it is a beverage and obtainable by going into a store, it is a drug.

A drug is defined as a substance that has the potential to enhance physical or mental welfare. It is not used medically.

Tranquilizers, sedatives, sleeping pills, and antipsychotics produce the same effect as alcohol.

Anytime a depressant enters the body, our brains tell us to relax and loosen up.

This is why you see alcohol present in almost every kind of social gathering.

It helps us to mingle and socialize.

Light drinking keeps us giddy, happy, and relaxed.

Whereas, heavy drinking is sedating to the point you have impaired function.

6 Red Flag Warnings: How to Know if You Have a Drinking Problem

As you read through the below red flags, you will notice a vicious cycle of cause and effect that never ends.

This is what keeps us trapped in the addiction to alcohol.

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Red Flag #1: You Feel Like You Have No Control Over Your Life

Obsessive thinking about whether you may need help is an indicator of knowing if you have a drinking problem.

If you must ask yourself that question, you may have a problem.

Many of us who do have an alcohol dependence feel as though we are losing control.

This can happen because of losing loved ones, friends, or jobs because of our drinking.

When the bank forecloses on your home, or a recovery truck pulls up and hauls your car off because you no longer have a job that makes you feel very helpless.

The thoughts that race through our mind on what we are doing to ourselves causes us to drink more.

Red Flag #2: You Drink at Inappropriate Times and Places

Alcoholics do not care where or when they drink. The craving and need for alcohol distort all reasoning and rationale.

Such scenarios that will help you with how to know if you have a drinking problem include:

  • Showing up to church with alcohol on your breath or a flask neatly tucked in your pocket
  • Driving while drinking, which is especially dangerous if your loved ones are with you
  • As soon as the alarm clock rings in the morning, you opt for a drink instead of coffee or breakfast
  • You need “chasers” to help a previous binge
  • You drink heavily in front of children, therefore, setting a bad example for them
  • You rush home every day to have that cocktail, which is followed up with dinner, wine, and a bedtime nightcap
  • You show up at an AA meeting drunk or you sneak off to the bathroom to drink during a meeting
  • You must spike your coffee at work, or you have a bottle hidden in your desk that you retreat to when no one is looking

Do you get the picture? Alcohol seemingly finds its way into every activity during the day.

Red Flag #3: You Have a Criminal Record Because of Drinking

You have been pulled over for drinking and driving. As a result, you were arrested. This is a BIG red flag yelling at you: “This is how to know if you have a drinking problem!”

One arrest leads to two or three, and before you know it, you no longer have a driver’s license and must depend on public transportation or someone else to get you to where you need to go each day.

Spending time in jail is not what you had in mind, but it has happened to you. Repeated arrests lead to longer jail sentences as well.

Once you are out of jail, you go home and grab a beer because you have missed having it while in jail and just need to unwind.

Red Flag #4: Your Drinking Drove Away Loved Ones

Have you been in such a drunken rage that you hit your spouse or threw something at the TV and broke it? These are two examples of how to know if you have a drinking problem.

As our husband or wife walks out the door, we know we cannot stop drinking to keep them from leaving.

We will promise and beg to be better, but we do not get better.

Having our children witness their dad or mom lying on the floor in urine-soaked clothing or vomit from drinking is humiliating, to say the least.

Our families lose all respect for us when we allow alcohol to dictate our lives.

Many of us have such violent outbursts after drinking that we have physically and emotionally hurt those we love.

The regret that comes after the alcohol wears off is so painful that we grab another drink.

Red Flag #5: You Have to Drink More as the Effects Wear Off to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms

When we begin to feel sweaty, shaky, and overall sick, we know it is time for another drink.

We do not want to experience the unpleasantries of withdrawal.

As soon as our body begins to quiver, we drink. This is perhaps one of the main reasons we continue to drink.

Feeding the hungry demon within ourselves leaves us feeling completely out of control.

We know we need help but are afraid to admit our problem.

It is more convenient to keep drinking than invest the time to go to rehab.

Red Flag #6: You Have Repeated Loss of Time You Can’t Account for

Have you ever woken up disoriented and confused about how you ended up in a strange place? Not only is it frightening, but you feel vulnerable and afraid. When you are trying to piece things together, you can only assume your drinking landed you where you are.

Blackouts happen because of heavy drinking.

The college days of waking up on someone’s sofa after a night of partying are long gone.

A blackout does not necessarily define unconsciousness. You can get behind the wheel of a vehicle, walk somewhere, or be a part of illicit activities that you do not remember doing.

The fact that you can harm or kill yourself or others during a blackout should be enough to cause you to seek help.

But instead, you drink to numb the fear and sense of helplessness that a blackout causes you. This is a serious red flag on how to know if you have a drinking problem.

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Payment Options

Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it?

We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification.

We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.

How to Get Help

There are so many reasons why you should get help.

We should love ourselves enough to grant ourselves the opportunity to live a clean and sober life.

Now that you have information on how to know if you have a drinking problem, take that step, and get help.

Call North Jersey Recovery Center at 877-786-0572 to schedule your consultation.

You deserve to live a happy life free from alcoholism.