Is Alcohol A Drug?
When there’s a celebration, people crack open a bottle of champagne. Bars are regular social scenes where friends meet over a beer. However, is alcohol a drug? Not only is the answer, “yes”, but you could also make the point that it’s among the most dangerous out there.
Understanding the Chemistry of Alcohol
Chemically speaking, alcohol is a depressant. It literally slows down the central nervous system. However, it doesn’t do so at first. After consuming the first drink, the effects are similar to taking a stimulant.
After the first drink, people might feel more at ease in social situations or more relaxed after a hard day at work. They become more outgoing and shed some inhibitions. Once they drink more than what their systems can handle, however, the drug’s depressant qualities come into play.
The original pleasant quality of loosening up is the one that keeps drinkers coming back. Nobody wakes up in the morning planning to become an alcoholic. However, like any other drug, consistent use results in forming a physical and psychological dependence. Someone struggling with an addiction no longer has the choice to take the next drink.
Why is Alcohol the MOST Dangerous Drug?
You’d probably take an educated guess and say the one which is most likely to kill you, right? But it turns out this is a question for which the answer isn’t actually as simple as it might appear.
Sure, most people would probably point to class A substances like heroin, crack cocaine or crystal meth as the drugs which are most likely to ruin lives and cause severe health problems or death.
However, despite the high addictive properties of those drugs, not to mention the absolute havoc they’ve wreaked on people and societies, it isn’t any of those narcotics which top the list of the world’s most dangerous drugs.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 15 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder. Of that number, only 1.3 million participated in treatment programs. Experts suggest that alcohol ranks in fourth place for preventable deaths in the United States. The country’s cost associated with alcohol abuse is a staggering $249 billion.
So, is alcohol a drug? Indeed, it is. Nevertheless, because it’s legal and easy to buy, people don’t readily recognize its danger. Additionally, since plenty of drinkers can have just one and then walk away, not everyone believes that addiction could develop.
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