The concept that alcohol is a depressant may seem counterintuitive. Drinking can greatly alter an individual’s behavior, mood, and neurological functions, and many people enjoy drinking for those reasons. Drinking beer is often depicted in TV shows and commercials almost as a way to guarantee a good time, so what exactly is it that makes alcohol a depressant? Though the term implies something sad, depressants don’t typically make you upset.
What Makes Something A Depressant?
By definition, a depressant is something that reduces function and nervous system activity. Depressants slow down the messages between the brain and the body, causing a variety of side effects. This type of drug can affect coordination, slow down a person’s ability to respond, and cause dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, unconsciousness, and in extreme cases, death. The size of the person, the amount taken and the strength of the depressant all play a factor in how depressants affect us.
What Makes Alcohol a Depressant?
Drinking alcohol can result in slurred speech, lowered response time, and the inability to think clearly. All of these side effects are a result of the way that alcohol depresses the central nervous system. Lowered inhibitions and distorted judgment are caused by the way alcohol slows down brain activity. Though alcohol may have some stimulating qualities, the effect that it has on the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric greatly reduces brain activity and earns it the title of depressant.
How does alcohol affect the body?
Regularly drinking hard liquor or alcohol can disrupt the balance of chemicals in the brain, leading to poor mental health, anxiety, and increased stress levels. Binge drinking, even on a single occasion, increases a person’s risk of heart disease. Cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and stroke are all linked to excessive drinking. Long-term drinking can lead to brain shrinkage, cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and more. The effects of alcohol on the liver are equally devastating. Alcohol changes the chemicals that break down and remove scar tissue, leading to a build-up in the liver. Eventually, the scar tissue replaces the normal healthy cells, leading to liver failure and potentially death.
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