There are many mind-altering substances frequently abused today. In fact, just when you think you’ve heard of all of them, something new — and deadly — comes along to completely change convention. However, some of the most problematic of all substances are ones with which we have an extremely long and detailed history, such as alcohol.
It’s been said that alcohol is even the most dangerous mind-altering substance, which is largely due to its legal status and availability. On the other hand, the physiological effects of alcohol make it one of the most difficult diseases to treat and overcome.
Although alcohol is pretty much ubiquitous in today’s culture, many people aren’t familiar with its extensive history or how it’s made. Further, there are many who know little about the specific effects of alcohol beyond the fact that it’s addictive. For these and other reasons, let’s review what could be the most addictive of all chemical substances.
As a powerful depressant, alcohol serves to dampen or dull the central nervous system. In effect, a person who consumes alcohol often becomes much less energetic, but the effects are far more profound than lack of energy. Alcohol acts as a neurotransmitter known as GABA, which is activated during situations of high school. When a person consumes large amounts of alcohol, the brain is essentially experiencing a flood of GABA, which is largely to blame for the delayed reaction and poor motor coordination that individuals exhibit when intoxicated.
A person under the influence often slurs his or her speech, experiences a decrease in body temperature, and potentially some even worse effects, including blackouts (periods during which a period is unable to remember his or her actions), loss of control of bladder, temporary loss of consciousness, and other such negative effects.
Like virtually all other mind-altering substances, alcohol is quite addictive, especially when it’s consumed irresponsibly. In fact, many teens and young adults abuse alcohol on purpose specifically to become intoxicated. Unfortunately, after abusing alcohol frequently over a period of time, the brain comes to rely on the alcohol for GABA functionality while producing and activating far less GABA on its own.
As mentioned previously, GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps an individual feel calmer as a response to stressful situations; therefore, GABA is an extremely important neurochemical. In effect, a brain that’s dependent on alcohol experiences a deficit when there’s no GABA in the body, and this deficit has the potential to be quite dangerous. Those who suffer from alcoholism are at risk of conditions like delirium tremens, seizures, or even death if they stop drinking alcohol too abruptly.
The severity of the danger associated with alcohol may make individuals hesitant to attempt recovery; however, overcoming alcoholism doesn’t have to be dangerous. With supervision and a quality program, anyone can overcome alcoholism safely and effectively. For alcoholism recovery, individuals are usually encouraged to enroll in an initial detox program, which allows a patient to overcome the physical aspects of his or her addiction before moving onto the treatment phase of recovery.
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