Many people believe heroin or crystal meth are the most dangerous drugs to use. Fentanyl, heroin, crystal meth, and other drugs involving addiction are hazardous. Still, when asking professionals if they consider alcohol the most dangerous drug, the data backs up their beliefs that it is.

Drinking alcohol is legal, easily accessible, and socially acceptable. This makes choosing alcohol as the drug of choice is straightforward. Age is the only restriction on alcohol, or in some states, the hours stores can sell it.

Is Alcohol the Most Dangerous Substance?

Alcohol touches every aspect of the users’ lives. First, social or recreational use of alcohol can quickly lead to dependency. In addition, drinking alcohol changes the chemistry of the brain, impairing judgment and self-control.

Excessive drinking connects directly to adverse health conditions and damage to organs. Therefore, detoxing from alcohol can be the most dangerous process in treatment centers. Finally, alcohol use shortens the lifespan and destroys relationships. It also touches the unborn by impacting fetal development. Crimes like drunk driving, domestic violence, and violent crimes flourish. 

Legal Status and Ease of Access

Alcohol is simply deception in a bottle, seeming welcoming and non-threatening because it’s legal. Children watch their parents drink alcohol or hear songs about drinking, unlike other substances, which makes it safe or acceptable.

Society almost glorifies alcohol, the most dangerous drug, as a cure for lost love, depression, or a component of having a great time. Of course, there are laws to protect people from drinking at a young age and buying alcohol on Sunday mornings, but the ease of access and legal status of alcohol is deceiving. 

College Drinking Culture

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collects study data about substance use, and alcohol is a primary component of their concerns. Before the college drinking culture occurs, high school drinking numbers are found to be alarming in the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey the CDC points to.

The results show that in the surveying of high school students in the past 30 days, 23% drank alcohol, 11% binge drank, 5% drove after drinking alcohol, and 14% rode with a driver under the effects of alcohol. The rates are beginning to decrease but are still alarming, with female teens drinking more than males. 

Setting up college students for failure all begins with the habits that start in high school, with 44% of drinking high school binge drinkers consuming 8 or more drinks in a row. Furthermore, the college drinking culture creates youth with alcohol-impaired thinking, causing an increase in date rape, driving while under the influence, and death by alcohol overdose.

The truth proving alcohol is the most dangerous drug is apparent in the nightmare many parents experience hearing the news that their college-age child has been found dead from an alcohol overdose. Unfortunately, not only are these dangers involving an alcohol use disorder, but many connect to mental health conditions that increase the severity of the problem. 

Alcohol and The Vital Organs

Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, reported by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol destroys many aspects of individual life, but nothing is more convincing than the deterioration alcohol brings to the liver, heart, and gastrointestinal systems.

Unlike other substances, alcohol takes a slow and steady pathway of destruction through the body, attacking the organs and the brain and causing chronic conditions that include cancer. Yearly, throughout the world, 3 million people die due to excessive alcohol consumption. 

Brain and GABA Changes

GABA is a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps the body and brain relax and is responsible for feeling calm and tired. It prevents the neurotransmitters that cause excitement, like dopamine and noradrenaline, from overstimulating the brain. It plays a part in slowing heart rates, breathing, and muscle relaxation.

In determining the truth of alcohol, the most dangerous drug adversely affecting the brain, it targets the GABA receptors, which can lead to cravings for alcohol. Alcohol alters the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, causing the brain to adapt to a new, dangerous normal. 

Liver Failure

The adverse effects alcohol has on the liver are perhaps the most recognized danger of alcohol abuse. The CDC states that alcohol-induced liver disease is the most frequent cause of alcohol-related death.

The liver processes alcohol to eliminate dangerous waste from the body, but when a person drinks more alcohol than the liver can handle, it causes liver disease. Some of the adverse effects of excessive alcohol intake can be reversed by ending alcohol consumption, but advanced disease and deterioration can be untreatable. 

The 3 stages of alcoholic liver disease include:

  • Steatotic (fatty) liver: The build-up of fat in the liver cells leads to enlargement of the liver and is the most common alcohol-induced liver issue.
  • Acute hepatitis: Alcohol-associated hepatitis leads to acute inflammation of the liver, causing permanent scarring of the liver.
  • Cirrhosis: Alcohol-associated cirrhosis destroys normal liver tissue, leads to scarring, and prevents the liver from functioning normally. 

Alcohol and Depression

In determining alcohol as the most dangerous drug, it is essential to address the effects of alcohol on mental health. It is difficult to determine if a mental health condition leads to an alcohol use disorder or vice versa, but alcohol can worsen existing mental health conditions.

Many people use alcohol to cope with feelings of anxiety, panic, or depression. Alcohol is not an acceptable coping mechanism and can lead to dangerous levels of mental health concerns. 

Cancer and Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is a carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. It is a proven fact that alcohol use can increase the risk of cancer of the breast, liver, colon, rectum, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.

The CDC suggests that reducing alcohol use may reduce the chance of developing cancer. The medical community points to excessive alcohol use as being a threat to physical health because of the link to developing cancer. 

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

An alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe. Determining how severe an AUD is during an assessment involves listing the number of signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse.

A physician or mental health professional can evaluate to make a diagnosis and determine a treatment plan. Treatment can be successful to live a sober lifestyle over a long period. 

The signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include any of the following:

  • An inability to control the amount of alcohol you drink
  • A failure to cut down on alcohol use
  • Spending too much time drinking, getting alcohol, and recovering from excessive alcohol use
  • Intense cravings for alcohol
  • Having an inability to fulfill responsibilities and obligations for work, home, or school because of alcohol use
  • Continuing to drink despite relationship issues and lack of interest in usual activities alcohol causes
  • Using alcohol despite safety concerns
  • Building tolerance and dependence on alcohol, experiencing withdrawal when less or no alcohol is used

Alcohol Withdrawal

This type of withdrawal can occur when alcohol dependence is present. Withdrawal symptoms begin when no alcohol or less alcohol is being used, and the body and brain adversely react. 

Alcohol withdrawal can be the most dangerous type of detox. Severe symptoms, such as delirium tremens, can occur, which need immediate medical care. Medication-assisted treatment is a valuable option when withdrawing from alcohol. 

Find Hopeful Options for Recovery From Addiction to Alcohol in Tennessee

When searching for the ideal treatment center, it is essential to contact the professionals to ask vital questions. Detox West in Tennessee offers a compassionate and understanding professional staff. Hence, you can better secure your first step of alcohol detox. Medically managed detox with medication-assisted treatment can help to make withdrawal from alcohol safe and comfortable.

Contact the center today and see what options will meet your needs.