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  • In the context of drug abuse, any substance that may be habit-forming or that alters consciousness is known as a drug. Therefore, alcohol is indeed a drug

    Understanding Alcohol As A Drug 

    Alcohol is known as a depressant drug that is abused by both young people and adults. The effects of alcohol vary but are known to cause loss of coordination, disruptions in mood, memory problems, and impaired judgment. 

    Over time, people drinking alcohol may develop an alcohol use disorder from abusing the drug. Alcohol dependence and serious alcohol withdrawal can occur in those who consume a large amount of alcohol.

    Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol

    Alcohol affects vital organs of the body. For those who continuously drink alcoholic beverages, your immune system can become compromised or weakened. 

    When it comes to the short-term effects of alcohol, you can expect to experience impairments such as:

    • visual distortions
    • nausea
    • slow reaction times
    • blackouts
    • vomiting
    • slurred speech
    • heart rate fluctuations
    • memory loss
    • drowsiness
    • depression

    In addition to this, you may have reduced inhibitions which can lead to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancies. This can also lead to sexually transmitted diseases. 

    The impaired judgment you may experience can also cause problems such as:

    • vehicle accidents
    • accidental falls
    • drownings
    • fighting
    • homicides
    • suicide

    Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol

    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), some long-term health problems that can occur with alcohol use may include:

    Over time, alcohol can cause problems with your mental health. You may become more agitated and even develop mood disorders, depression, and anxiety. 

    Other Problems That Arise From Drinking Alcohol

    Binge drinking and heavy alcohol consumption are especially dangerous, as they can cause a number of problems. Since the use of alcohol affects the central nervous system (CNS), you may experience numerous side effects.

    Drinking too much at any given time can cause alcohol poisoning and may lead to other health problems as well. In fact, those who drink alcohol excessively and then stop can develop withdrawal symptoms which can lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS).

    Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms are severe and may cause:

    • nightmares
    • tremors
    • seizures
    • delirium tremens
    • rapid breathing
    • fever

    Mixing Opioids & Other Drugs With Alcohol

    It’s important to note that those who drink alcohol and also participate in other types of substance abuse may develop more life-threatening issues such as coma or death. 

    Combining alcohol with Xanax or other benzodiazepines can cause greater intoxication. Consuming alcohol and partaking in drug use is a dangerous combination that can have disastrous effects on your life.

    If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol use, you can receive behavioral health care, addiction treatment, and evidence-based therapy. Learn about our treatment programs by contacting us today. 

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Alcohol and Substance Use
    Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health - Important Facts about Alcohol and drugs
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
    National Institutes of Health - Information about Alcohol
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Alcohol
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Commonly used Drug Charts

    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on August 15, 2022
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