Alcohol Use, Abuse, and Depression: Is There a Connection?

Dealing with physical health problems, debt and housing issues can all affect your mental health. Anger can be part of depression’s diagnostic picture, but not always. It becomes unhealthy when it interferes with daily life and relationships, but it doesn’t always point to depression. An aggressive drunk may make poor decisions that lead to worse scenarios. Since your judgment becomes clouded when you’re intoxicated, a simple misunderstanding can quickly turn into a bar fight. Furthermore, an angry drunk may not feel like consequences matter, making it seem like a good idea from their perspective to create or partake in a dangerous situation.

alcohol depression and anger

As hangover symptoms begin to subside, the emotional effects may follow. “Trait anger” refers to a person’s general tendency to experience chronic anger over time. An angry person tends to seek out stimuli that activate feelings of anger. This may explain why they are angry more often and act more aggressively than someone who does not have this personality trait. Previous trauma is also a risk factor for alcohol misuse and depression.

Anger Management and Alcohol Addiction

According to a review from 2017, alcohol is more likely to cause personality shifts related to negative emotions, but that doesn’t mean anger is the most common emotional experience while drinking. Over time Ryan came to better understand factors that contributed to his drinking, including his anger and increased aggression when drinking. Therapy assisted him in recognizing how past wounds contributed to his vulnerability to both anger and alcohol use. After much consideration, he eventually joined an alcohol treatment program as I helped him grieve his wounds and manage his anger. In addition to potential mental health disorders related to difficulties managing anger, there are several physical side effects of unchecked and chronic anger.

  • Alongside quitting alcohol, you could benefit from attending an anger management support group.
  • When it comes to adults, excessive alcohol use can cause multiple well-defined brain issues ranging from short-term confusion to dementia.
  • For years, our team at Gateway Foundation has provided comprehensive recovery programs for people going through alcohol misuse.

A person may become very tense and have difficulty winding back down. Another study attempted to better identify factors that contributed to the association between anger and depression (Mohammad, Mahin, et. al., 2012). It concluded that challenges in emotional regulation and anger rumination were key to the association of anger with depression. Another study sought to determine the relationships among posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, hostility, anger, and verbal and physical aggression in returning veterans (Bhardwai, Angkaw, et. al. 2019). However, trait anger, a chronic tendency toward anger arousal, explained part of the relationship between PTSD and verbal and physical aggression toward objects and others. Users of psychoactive substances had elevated anger scores compared to non-users, which represents a high risk of relapse.

How alcohol affects your brain

If you think about it, a crucial part of being aggressive when intoxicated is lacking self-awareness. Those who don’t think about the consequences of their actions are more likely to adversely affect themselves and others. Additionally, when you don’t reflect on mistakes you’ve made, you’ll probably repeat them. To combat aggressive behavior when drinking, individuals should consciously seek help. According to research compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, alcohol use is a considerable contributing factor to sexual assault.

If drinking causes a blackout, you may not even remember being aggressive unless someone reminds you about it. By perpetuating such behavior, people can end up damaging meaningful relationships — yet another effect of alcohol-based aggression. No matter the reasons behind feeling anger when drinking alcohol, such behavior can be harmful. By consistently becoming angry or belligerent when you drink, you put yourself and others at risk.

How Does Alcohol Use Interact With Anger?

Individuals with mental health conditions may be more likely to use alcohol as a treatment. Several studies suggest that military veterans are more likely to experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and misuse alcohol. Major alcohol depression and anger depressive disorder involves persistent and prolonged symptoms, but depression, in general, takes on many different forms. Depressive symptoms can result from life stressors, mental health conditions, medical conditions, and other factors.

alcohol depression and anger

This type of anger serves to protect us from experiencing other emotions. For example, we’ve worked with patients who used anger to hide their shame, fear of dying, grief, or terror that a loved one would abandon them. In fact, 23% of people surveyed in a Gallup Poll admitted feeling enraged a lot in 2022. This makes sense since there’s plenty of stress to spark outrage.

How Alcohol Works Affects Your Behavior

This scenario involves losing your sense of perception under the influence. As a result, you may be overly aggressive during a situation where you’d otherwise notice the cues that tell you to think more rationally. There’s also a strong link between serious alcohol use and depression. The question is, does regular drinking lead to depression, or are depressed people more likely to drink too much? Our facilities provide comprehensive care for mental illnesses and substance use disorders through medication and other forms of therapy. We are one of just a few treatment centers that evaluate outcomes and share the results publicly.

  • While this effect may be true for some individuals, after a few drinks, the depressant effects of alcohol start to make their appearance.
  • However, alleviating depression does not resolve the alcohol use disorder.
  • Therapy and medication aren’t the only approaches that can help you cope with feelings of anger and depression.
  • If you begin to notice any unwanted side effects — physical or emotional — while drinking, it may be best to call it a night.

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