Alcohol as a depressant

A depressant causes the activity of the central nervous system to slow down. This reduces emotions of tension and fear, slows down movements and slows down cognitive processes (thinking). Vital functions can also be inhibited in their work, which can cause vital functions to falter. Alcohol has this effect. This contains the dampening agent ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol. Who is at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and what negative effects does this have on the body and mind?

Alcohol: risk groups

Becoming addicted to alcohol is more common among men. This is therefore a risk group. Most alcohol addictions also arise before the age of forty. Furthermore, family history can have an influence. If people used to drink a lot in the past (or still do), this family member (or members) can be seen as a role model. The attitude that drinking (a lot) is okay and drinking is fun is introduced and reinforced. There may also be a hereditary aspect. Finally, a risk group is in sociodemographic factors, such as lower income, less education and people who live alone.

The effects of alcohol

Alcohol ensures that the sensitivity of receptors (receivers) is enhanced. This reduces the overall activity of the nervous system. This can make people feel freer or looser, making them more daring in social situations. In addition to being more daring, it can also lead to embarrassing situations or situations that someone would normally never have ventured into. Things are done that are later regretted. There is also a strong link between alcohol use and violent behavior, such as domestic violence and sexual assault.

Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to physical damage. This is how brain cells are destroyed. This can manifest itself in, for example, memory problems, reduced problem-solving ability or a reduced attention span. Ultimately, this damage to the brain can lead to Korsakoff’s syndrome and dementia. Organs such as the liver are also affected. In alcoholic cirrhosis, for example, healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue. This can be fatal, especially in the long term. Heart disease can also occur. In addition, there is an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

If a pregnant woman drinks (a lot of) alcohol, the unborn fetus can experience the consequences. The risk of death of the unborn child, a disorder of the central nervous system or later learning disabilities are events that can occur. The child may also develop fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS syndrome).

Other resources

Besides alcohol, there are other depressants. These include barbitures and opiates. In addition to depressants, there are also stimulants such as amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine and nicotine. Other substances can cause hallucinations such as LSD, phencyclidine (PCP) and marijuana.

read more

  • The consequences of alcohol for young people
  • Depressants: Barbiturates and opiates
  • Smoking, tobacco and nicotine