In a phrase, anger and alcohol abuse can feed off of each other if they both go unchecked. In fact, letting go of the acknowledging and dealing with anger is a crucial aspect of the Twelve Steps from Alcoholics Anonymous. The program requires that participants take a moral inventory of themselves, and attempt to overcome character defects. These are the issues that we jump into in this deep dive into the link between anger and alcoholism. The good news is, you can find help for both your anger and your alcoholism.

alcoholism anger

This impact can begin to take place after just one drink, depending on the person and other factors, he adds (2). “It can be difficult to be aware of the impact of your emotions due to alcohol’s effect on the brain,” Metcalf explains. Alcohol is known for its ability to amplify emotional expression and inhibition. While it may seem like anger is the most common emotion caused by alcohol, it may not be that straightforward. Fortunately, people who become irrationally mad when drunk can work to prevent and treat their behavior. Overall, exhibiting one or a combination of the above factors can increase your chances of becoming angry when intoxicated.

Anger Management

A more recent study of 249 male and female heavy drinkers with a history of past-year intimate partner violence found that acute alcohol intoxication moderated the impact of problematic alcohol use on an attentional bias toward anger (Massa et al., 2019). Specifically, it found that problematic drinkers may be more likely to attend to aggressogenic stimuli while intoxicated, and that is, they were more likely to experience certain cues as aggressive. Alcohol can provoke different emotional responses for different people. If you have a natural tendency to be angry, drinking alcohol may cause you to become aggressive.

  • In this blog, we will take a look at the connection between the two as well as discuss ways that you or a loved one can get help for both.
  • This type of therapy focuses on learning how a person’s anger and alcoholism started and reprograms the brain so it no longer thinks that it needs alcohol to deal with anger and other emotions.
  • Another study of 249 heavy drinkers similarly found that alcohol intoxication predicted higher levels of IPV in those who reported low psychological flexibility (Grom et al., 2021).
  • Mood stabilizers, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications can all help to regulate and control negative emotions, during both detox and treatment for anger management and alcohol addiction.
  • But in real life, a person who loses control of their emotions when they drink is anything but entertaining.

The effectiveness of the anger management component, however, is not clear. Because the anger intervention was optional, relatively brief and embedded within a larger CBT treatment, it is not possible to tease out its therapeutic effects. Finally, alcoholism anger although beyond the scope of the present paper, consideration of multiple dimensions of affect and affective disorders may lead to a deeper understanding of the role of anger and other negative affect states in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

Alcohol and Aggression: A Neuroscience Perspective

Additionally, repeated drinking may alter GABA receptors and even damage cells, causing reduced sensitivity to the body’s own relaxing neurotransmitter (8). Drinking can have a relaxing or anxiety-relieving effect by mimicking the “chill-out” effects of GABA. At the same time, alcohol hinders the neurotransmitter glutamine, which has a stimulating effect. But once GABA is metabolized, it mostly converts to glutamine, causing excitement (6). Studies have shown that serotonin levels may begin decreasing within 30 minutes of that first drink (4). Plummeting serotonin levels hinder the brain’s ability to regulate anger and are linked to impulsive aggression (5).