Why Is Alcohol Called a Depressant?

Many people use alcohol when they are feeling down, or they are nervous. The alcohol seems to help them feel better for the moment, but many people are surprised when they hear that alcohol is a depressant. The confusion comes because many people believe that depressants make you emotionally depressed. 

So, 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, he or she becomes immediately more vulnerable to many health risks, as well as accidental injury and death.

Do Depressants Make You Feel Depressed?

Mostly 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 relaxes its users and puts 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 extremely addictive, and when abused long-term, the drug can eventually lead to symptoms of depression.

 

Julie’s Story

“The toughest thing about sobriety is taking that first step…into the unknown. Letting go of the thinking, the people, the places and things that hold us hostage. It is important to replace the old stories of who we are with new stories of the people we want to become. It’s all about finding truth and letting ourselves accept that truth. Joseph Campbell said, ‘The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you are.’ We owe it to ourselves.”

Read more of Julie R.’s story and others at HeroesInRecovery.com

Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Even though many people use alcohol as a pick-me-up or to make them feel better, alcohol is indeed 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 with alcohol that they would not have made sober. It also produces many other symptoms that are common in depressants.

 

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

 

What Are the Dangers of Alcohol and Other Depressants?

While intoxicated, alcohol can lead to a number of damaging consequences. Alcohol causes people to lose their inhibitions, which can result 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 injury.

Lack of physical and mental coordination due to alcohol intoxication can cause bodily harm to the person drinking and also people nearby.

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 abuse can destroy families, marriages, friendships and careers.

Alcoholism Help

Sobriety provides an infinite amount of benefits. In sobriety, people are blessed with social, relational, occupational, and financial opportunities each and every day. Unfortunately, many people miss out on these opportunities because of a problem with alcohol or drugs.

If substance abuse 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 760-548-4032 now.

Speak with an Admissions Coordinator 760-548-4032