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Why Is Alcohol Called a Depressant?

an adult male sits on the edge of his bed holding an alcoholic drink while thinking about is alcohol a depressant

Many people use alcohol when they are feeling down or they are nervous. Alcohol seems to help them feel better for the moment, but many people are surprised when they hear that it is a depressant. The confusion comes because many people believe that depressants make you emotionally depressed. At Michael’s House, we understand the complexities of alcohol addiction and what it can do to a person’s life. We offer a comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment program that helps individuals identify why they are turning to alcohol in the first place and provides them with the tools they need to move forward in sobriety.

Call us at 760.548.4032 to learn more, and we can help answer your question: “Is alcohol a depressant?” We are here for you every step of the way.

What Is a Depressant?

While there is a common misunderstanding, depressants do not mean that they make you emotionally depressed. Instead, depressants refer to a class of drugs that inhibit or depress the central nervous system (CNS), which means that a depressant impairs and slows the activity of the brain and nervous system.

When using CNS depressants, a reduction in brain activity and awareness occurs by blocking messages from the nerve receptors to the brain. This slow-down and block change a person’s judgments, perceptions, movements, emotions, and senses. When a person consumes a depressant, they become immediately more vulnerable to many health risks, as well as accidental injury and death.

Do Depressants Make You Feel Depressed?

Primarily due to the name, many people believe depressants cause people to feel depressed. While depressants “depress” the central nervous system, they do not make a person become sad while under the influence.

Depressants can initially make a person feel quite pleasant. Alcohol can relax a person and put them at ease. However, depressants are rarely used in limited form. When alcohol is misused, the consequences add up and can become emotionally depressing and even life-threatening. Alcohol is highly addictive, and when abused long-term, the drug can eventually lead to symptoms of depression.

Is Alcohol a Downer?

Is drinking a depressant? Yes, alcohol is a downer. Even though many people use alcohol as a pick-me-up or to make them feel better, it is classified as a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol, like other depressants, impairs and slows both physical and psychological activity. Because of the way that alcohol slows down brain activity, it reduces a person’s ability to make rational decisions.

It also contributes to lessened inhibitions and distorted judgment. For this reason, many people report making decisions while intoxicated that they would not have made sober. It also produces many other symptoms that are common in depressants. These symptoms can include:

  • Slowed reflexes
  • Impaired coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision

At Michael’s House, we understand that it can be difficult to stop drinking alcohol and get on the path to sobriety. We are here to help. Michael’s House offers a variety of addiction treatments and therapies that can help individuals on their journey to recovery.

What Are the Side Effects of Alcohol and Other Depressants?

When used as directed or in limited quantities, alcohol and other depressants can provide feelings of relaxation and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Alcohol and other depressants do lead to intoxication. Common side effects of alcohol and other depressants include the following:

  • Impaired motor skills and coordination
  • Mental cloudiness and confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Cognitive and memory impairment
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Slowed or stopped heart rate
  • Slowed or depressed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Emotional instability and severe mood swings
  • Euphoria
  • Sleepiness, unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

At Michael’s House, we recognize that alcohol can be highly addictive and dangerous. Our alcohol addiction treatment program can help individuals who are struggling with addiction and understand its associated risks.

What Are the Dangers of Alcohol and Other Depressants?

While intoxicated, alcohol can lead to several damaging consequences. It causes people to lose their inhibitions, resulting in greater risk-taking and poor decision-making that a person would never make sober. While intoxicated, people are also vulnerable to unintentional accidents and injuries.

Long-term use of alcohol and other depressants can lead to physical, psychological, and social consequences. It can cause:

  • Organ damage, like liver toxicity or cirrhosis
  • Memory impairment
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Other mental health conditions

Other implications of alcohol and other depressants are overdose and death. Alcohol overdose causes alcohol poisoning, and the results can be deadly. Because alcohol impairs one’s emotions and awareness, people under the influence are known to get into fights and arguments. They may say things they do not mean and will regret them the next day. Alcohol use can destroy families, marriages, friendships, and careers.

Call Michael’s House for Help with Finding an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program

If you are still asking yourself, “Is alcohol a depressant?” it is important to understand that alcohol can be dangerous and damaging if used in excess. At Michael’s House, we offer evidence-based alcohol addiction treatment programs.

Sobriety provides an infinite amount of benefits. In sobriety, people are blessed with daily social, relational, occupational, and financial opportunities. Unfortunately, many people miss out on these opportunities because of a problem with substance use. If substance use has become a problem in your life, decide to get help today. Learning more can make a big difference in your life and the lives of those you love. Call us at 760.548.4032 or contact us online today.