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Aggression and Mental Health of Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics

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Drinking enough alcohol to become intoxicated is significantly found the people who have one personality trait. On the other hand, the people without that trait are less likely to get more aggressive than they would they are sober. Some people are more likely to become aggressive after the consumption of alcohol. Studies on alcohol use and aggression states that the individual differences in behaviour and bio-chemistry that exists, plays a major role among the subjects, who become aggressive after alcohol consumption.

Individuals who abuse alcohol drink large amounts regularly and depend on it to support them face troublesome circumstances. In the long run, the drinking meddles with their social conduct what’s more, capacity to think and work. Their bodies at that point develop a tolerance for alcohol and they need to drink even greater amounts to feel the same effects each time. They also experience withdrawal responses when they stop drinking. Alcoholism devastates a great many families, social connections and vocations. Inebriated drivers are answerable for some street mishaps. It also has serious effects on the children of the people who are alcoholic. These children have higher rates of mental issues, especially anxiety, depression, phobias and substance-related disorders. Excessive drinking can genuinely harm physical wellbeing.

Alcohol is a well-known disinhibitor, which means it brings down your restraints. Numerous individuals who consume alcohol in a social event enjoy this experience because they feel closer to the people they are around with, they feel more liberated to talk and less compelled by other’s desires.

However, individuals who become aggressive when they consume alcohol may not just experience this emotion more, but they also may be able to express their anger more, which may be disruptive, dangerous and frightening.

Consumption of alcohol and becoming even a little intoxicated can lead to misguided thinking and poor judgements, which means you’re less inclined to be worried about the results of your action. In a situation, where you are battling with resentment at an individual or circumstance, you are more likely to express that feeling in a negative way when you are intoxicated, instead of trying to work through it constructively. Your behaviour may have a negative impact, yet when you’re intoxicated, you are barely able to make the decision to moderate or withhold those behaviours.

Alcohol is known to increase anxiety and stress as well. While drinking a little at the end of a hard day on occasion can help you feel better for a time being. If this behaviour is consistent for a long time, it can change how neurotransmitter are released in an individual’s brain. As the brain becomes accustomed to manage alcohol calming the neurotransmitter, the brain will start to lose its ability to manage these neurotransmitter without help. This can trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety when make stress harder to deal with. This also increases the likelihood of the consumption of alcohol more often to cope with higher levels of stress.

Consumption of alcohol to the point of being drunk has been associated with increased level of aggression towards oneself and others. It is also linked to and increased risk of psychotic symptoms such as delusions, and greater risk of suicide or self-harm. While they don’t directly measure aggressive behaviour, they exhibit signs of greatly increased aggression, which can start with an outburst.

Excessive alcohol consumption is also associated with the higher rates of domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual assault, which can begin with aggressive behaviour as a sign that the situation will escalate. These types of violence are simply not due to being stressed at work or any personal issues that can be resolved. They are indicators of the underlying behavioural or mental condition that is being worsen by drinking too much.

Researches has been done to identify the link, or relationship, between alcohol and aggression. The individual differences have been appeared to be associated with the childhood experiences, encounter with alcohol and stability in an individual’s life. It’s been found out that both the perpetrator and the victims of certain aggressive acts are likely to have consumed alcohol prior to such behaviour. Although, it is also observed that not all alcoholics are violent. They are more likely to have a history with violent behaviour than non-alcoholics.

There is growing concern about the consumption of alcohol and its relation to violent and aggressive behaviour. A comprehensive meta analyses analysed a study, which concluded that aggression increases after the consumption of alcohol under certain conditions and at certain level in individuals.

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Even though it is widely believed, alcohol use and aggression are strongly related yet most people consume alcohol without acting aggressively. Predicting which individual exhibit aggression following the consumption of alcohol is an important yet difficult research problem. Alcohol consumption increases aggression in some people but decreases in others. Researches indicates a strong link between alcohol and aggression is found in individuals with certain traits, such as anti-social personality, alcohol dependency and previous aggressive episodes. To study the relationship between alcohol and aggression in humans has several limitations. One solution to this problem was to use animals model, or subjects. Although studies with animal subjects have helped the researchers to outline alcohol effects on aggressive behaviour and the mechanism that induce these changes. This studies also showed that the effects are nit universal, but they widely vary from individual-to-individual.

To study the effect of alcohol on aggression in humans, experimental approach was used in which a person consume alcohol and was then provoked to compete with some other individual. The method used to measure aggression of the individual was how the person was given the opportunity to verbally threaten another person. Many studies stated that aggression is more likely to occur after the consumption of alcohol. Few studies, also, focused on the differences in individuals and other variables that induce some people to become aggressive.

However, to predict which individual will exhibit aggressive behaviour after consuming alcohol in real world remains elusive. The relationship between alcohol-induced aggression in laboratory and real world may vary. Research like these are difficult to study as the individual differences plays a crucial role which cannot be identified easily at first and difficulties arises while measuring the underlying ethological mechanisms.

The link between alcohol and aggression isn’t merely a correlation. Alcohol has a casual effect on increasing aggression. Dr Parrott and his colleagues conducted an experiment on a group of 136 male individuals to drink an alcoholic beverage or a non-alcoholic control beverage. Individuals who consumed the alcoholic beverage administered greater shocks to those who had consumed the non-alcoholic beverage. There was a clear evidence that alcohol increases aggressive behaviour.

Another experiment, performed by Parrott and his colleagues, was conducted to identify the reasons how aggression increases according to the amount of alcohol people consume at a time. A sample of 24 social drinkers were brought at the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) center. There, they completed an aggression task in the MRI scanner, in which they were repeatedly had to chose how loud the noise had to blast to administer to an opponent while their brain activity was measured. As they has replicated some of their previous research, which showed that aggressive behaviour is associated with greater activity in parts of the brain that promote the experience of reward and pleasure.

The participants were then taken out of the MRI scanner and four, frosty beers were set in front of them, informing them that they would be doing a taste test of the beers. The experimenter told them they could drink as much of the beer as they would like to and not to worry if they got drunk as they had to hang around the lab for a while anyways. The beers were, in fact, non-alcoholic, but the participants didn’t notice the difference until the experiment was over and experimenter told them so. It was found out that the more aggressive participants were in the MRI scanner (the louder they set the volume of the noise that blasted their opponent), the more beer they drank. This result was obtained from a small sample, but it provided a preliminary evidence that aggressive behaviour can be predict excessive alcohol consumption and greater alcohol consumption can predict aggressive behaviour of an individual. Indeed, it is a two-way street that flows between alcohol and aggression and it is paved with the pleasure of both of these acts.

While much debate has taken place about alcohol, we have failed to draw out the reasons why so many people have troubled relationship with it. The reasons we drink, and the consequences of excessive drinking are intimately linked with our mental health, and this holds the key to dealing with growing worries about misuse. The co-existence of mental ill-health and alcohol use is very common. Often people self-medicate their mental ill-health with alcohol, which helps individuals deal with the negative effects of mental health problem by altering the chemicals in the brain and hormonal systems.

The alcohol dependency is very much prevalent among the people suffering from any psychiatric disorder than that an individual in the general population. In addition to the pharmacological effects of alcohol on the functioning of the brain, psycho-social stressors that commonly occur in an alcoholic patient may contribute to ongoing alcohol-related symptoms, such as anxiety, despair and sadness.

Alcoholism is associated with several psychological disorders that develop independently and may lead to alcohol use and abuse. The independent disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, mood disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc., may make certain patient more prone to alcohol dependency. This suggests that an individual use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Regular drinking effects the bio-chemistry of the brain and depletes the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is implicated in depression. The cycle of alcohol consumption to relieve depression results in more depressive emotions as the levels of serotonin depletes even more, thus an individual need more alcohol to medicate the depression.

It is concluded in many studies that socially anxious individuals are more likely to develop a dependency towards alcohol, ‘to cope’ with the social situation. It has been stated that people with high social anxiety who use alcohol regularly to relieve their stress, may come to depend on alcohol as their primary coping mechanism. Bipolar disorder patients are more likely to abuse drugs other than alcohol, which complicate the diagnosis.

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Aggression and Mental Health of Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Aggression and Mental Health of Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
Aggression and Mental Health of Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2023].
Aggression and Mental Health of Alcoholics and Non-Alcoholics [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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