Is Alcohol a Drug?
Alcohol is often forgotten about when we mention drugs as it’s so accepted and widely available nowadays. Though it may be legal and is usually a counterpart of a good night out, it can still pose the same threats as other less common drugs. I’m sure we all know the short-term effects of alcohol, at worst these are: slurred speech, vomiting, headaches, distorted speech and vision, impaired judgement, memory loss and many more. Thankfully most people know their limits and avoid the longer term effects which are listed below.
Long-Term Dangers of Alcohol
Alcohol causes more pain and suffering than all other recreational drugs combined. The dangers of abusing this substance include:
- Alcohol poisoning – Many students have actually died as a result of drinking too much.
- Alcohol abuse that can quickly lead to physical and psychological addiction.
- The behavioural effects means that students can end up doing things they later deeply regret.
- Engaging in deviant behaviour when under the influence.
- Those who commit suicide will often have been drinking beforehand.
- A link has been found between alcohol and domestic violence.
- Blackouts – The individual can’t remember what they were up to the night before.
- Can lead to the break-up families.
- Financial problems.
- Damaging to both physical and mental health.
- Students end up performing badly, harming their career going forward.
- A link between alcohol abuse and depression.
Addiction Fact: The earliest evidence of alcohol drinking is thought to be around 7000BC.
Why Do People Drink Alcohol?
People have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years. Nowadays people drink for many different reasons, some feel they’ll have a better time and more fun when they’ve had a drink, some drink to relax, some drink to help cope with issues they may have and others were simply brought up around a drinking culture. Unlike other European countries like France who have been brought up around alcohol and thus don’t tend to feel the need to binge drink, here in the UK we binge drink which is unhealthy. In Britain, we don’t tend to drink as part of a night out, we drink to get drunk which is bad for our overall health.
What Steps to take when Drinking
- Make sure you know your limits in terms of consumption, if you start to feel that you’re over your limit or if you feel ill, it is absolutely fine to take a break and drink some water instead.
- Avoid drinking spirits and other high-percentage drinks straight, this can lead to all the alcohol hitting you at once instead of gradually and you will be much more intoxicated than you anticipated.
- Make sure you eat something before you start drinking. High-Carb foods like pasta & bread are good at absorbing some of the alcohol which means you won’t get drunk as fast and you’re much less likely to vomit.
- Never accept drinks from people you don’t think you can trust, they could be spiked with drugs like Ketamine which is a common date-rape drug. This could lead to anything happening to you so be careful.
- Try to stay with friends and people you trust when drinking, as if something is wrong with you or any one of your friends, people will be there to help you out and take care of you if need be.
- Lastly, remember that although drinking can lead to some fun nights out and such, alcohol isn’t needed to enjoy yourself!
Interesting Fact: Although alcohol makes it easier to fall into Deep Sleep, the overall quality of sleep is largely diminished and you will probably feel fatigued the next day.
How to Tell if You Have an Alcohol Problem
If alcohol is beginning to cause problems in your life then there will usually be signs. Some of these are:
- Feeling unable to manage life without alcohol.
- Trying to cut down or quit but not managing to do this.
- Others expressing concern about your drinking.
- Regularly drinking more than you intended to.
- Not wanting to go anywhere unless there is going to be alcohol involved.
- Suffering withdrawal symptoms if attempting to quit drinking – this is a sign that you have developed a physical addiction.
- Needing to drink more than before in order to achieve the same effect.
- Preferring to spend your time with others who drink alcohol.
- Experiencing blackouts.
- Experiencing financial problems as a result of drinking alcohol.
- Legal problems because of alcohol.
- Losing friends as a result of alcohol.
- Wanting to drink first thing in the morning.
- Suspecting that you might have some type of alcohol problem.
- Becoming moody if you do not have access to alcohol.
- The thought of not having alcohol in your life makes you feel uncomfortable.
Remember, it is only necessary for someone to have a couple of these symptoms for them to have a drink problem.
How to Get Help for Alcohol Problems
Some individuals are able to cut back on their alcohol use without too much help. Others may need to see an addiction therapist or enter rehab. The longer this problem is allowed to continue, the more the person will suffer. It is therefore vital to get help quickly.