Alcohol consumption has been strongly associated with anger and aggressiveness as it can suppress normal cognitive and psychological functioning. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol-related aggression can occur in both acute and chronic alcohol use. Although anger is considered normal human behavior, alcohol-related anger is usually irrational in intensity and quickly escalates toward aggression and violence.
Anger trait also makes people prone to alcohol-related anger outbursts. Anger trait is one of the main risk factors for developing this aggression and uncontrolled anger. Moreover, alcohol misuse can make people assume they’re in power and show angry outbursts more often. Being at the opposite end of someone with alcohol-related anger outbursts can be scary and painful.
If you or your close ones are struggling with alcohol-related anger, Confidant Health provides an opportunity to overcome this issue. This online platform offers Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in which medications and behavioral therapies are used to cope with alcohol use.
Understanding anger and aggression
Anger is an emotion that is very normal to express. Anger is a response to different factors like hurt, frustration, jealousy, feeling helpless, rejection, worry, embarrassment, etc. You may become angry on various occasions, and it varies from person to person how you will express your anger. Some people can easily manage their anger. Anger is not always a big issue unless it causes problems in your relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. However, if anger is not treated and managed appropriately, this may cause harm to your health.
The terms “anger” and “aggression” are usually used interchangeably; however, there is a difference between Anger and aggression. Anger is an emotion experienced when you feel threatened and frustrated, while aggression is a behavior in which you can harm yourself, your family, and others. In short, aggression refers to uncontrolled and unmanaged anger.
Types of anger and aggression
Anger and aggression can be of two types: outward/expressive anger and suppressed anger.
- Outward anger is when someone shouts, curses, breaks things and physically or verbally abuses others. Outward aggression, if uncontrolled, can lead to violence.
- Inward aggression is directed at one’s inner self. However, it also negatively affects one’s psychological and physical entity. Moreover, it can also make one prone to depression, alcohol addiction, and negative thoughts.
Inward anger is also a risk factor for alcohol misuse, while outward anger is often an outcome of alcohol misuse.
How does alcohol affect the brain?
The brain is the human body's main organ that deals with cognition, memory, and emotional responses. To work properly, it has many special chemical-like substances known as neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are responsible for the emotional and cognitive processes of the brain.
Unfortunately, the equilibrium of these particles gets disrupted when the levels of alcohol are high in the blood, causing damage to the brain’s functioning. Similarly, long-term use of alcohol can also result in psychological dependence and withdrawal symptoms upon avoiding alcohol use. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition in which a person taking alcohol struggles with alcohol dependence and has minimal control over the cravings for alcohol despite negative social and economic consequences.
Moreover, alcohol also affects the information-processing pathways present among the brain cells. That is why drinking too much alcohol can cause adverse effects like confusion, impaired motor coordination, and inability to make decisions. In addition to the brain, alcohol also risks health as it can severely damage the liver, heart, digestive system, immune system, mood, and sleep.
How does alcohol influence an individual's behavior?
Although alcohol consumption may produce short-term relaxing and soothing effects, it has many adverse effects on human behavior and emotions in the long run. As mentioned above, alcohol can damage the brain cells and their chemicals; alcohol can lead to aggression, uncontrolled anger, offensive behavior, and violent activities. Moreover, alcohol can also cause dysregulation in the body's stress pathways, resulting in increased anxiety, stress, psychosis, and suicidal tendencies.
Similarly, chronic alcohol dependence makes a person strictly dependent on alcohol for short-term joy. In alcohol dependence, you may not find happiness in normal joyful activities but only after consuming alcohol. Thus, you may feel a low mood, sadness, and anxiety in chronic alcohol misuse.