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Alcohol and Anger 41

Alcohol and Anger

It’s no secret that society tends to portray desirable, admirable men as tough, rugged individuals who manage their emotions seemingly without much effort, only letting raw feelings out in measured doses under particularly trying circumstances. Romantic though these unrealistic expectations may be, they fail to include healthy outlets or depictions of emotional maturity. 

At the same time, contemporary culture tends to equate alcohol usage with recklessness and impulsivity, ranging from the good-natured mischief of a couple of teenagers trying to get someone to buy them beer at a corner store to cinematic tropes like “the hell with it all, my problems have become too demanding, I’m going to drink a bottle of vodka and feel embarrassed in front of my friends the next day” and “I’ve always been romantically interested in you and now that we’re both drinking I can finally overcome my shyness and shoot my shot.”

You’re probably entirely familiar with these depictions of alcohol use. In real life, however, drinking can release and amplify traits like anger and depression, especially when paired with decades of emotional suppression. If you’re predisposed towards anger or simply find yourself getting more and more worked up as you have to drink more to beat your tolerance, it may be time for you to think about getting professional help in overcoming an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and finding emotional stability.

Alcohol and Emotional Stability  

People often express anger through aggression. While it may be tempting to think of anger as a temporary state that we experience when something provokes us, it has been established that people with the personality trait of anger tend to seek out the feeling of anger by chronically finding stimuli that evoke it. Adding alcohol into the picture can quickly lead a person to experience an inflated sense of aggression in circumstances that they might have otherwise handled more calmly.

Alcohol and anger have such a deeply intertwined history that many professionals view the two as comorbid disorders. People who struggle to control their anger are more susceptible to developing alcohol use disorders and alcohol has been found to significantly predict aggression in men with low levels of anger control. Alcohol can lead to emotional instability, outbursts, and violence, especially when it’s used with consistency.

The Personal Risks of Letting an Alcohol Problem Go Untreated

Alcohol is an addictive substance and people with strong negative emotions may be more likely to fall into a cycle of continuous use. Feeling judged or shamed for your drinking can provoke an angry, defiant reaction, leading to an intensification of the cycle of addiction. The combination of alcohol and anger can make it difficult for a person to see the need to accept help or consider that they may have a problem. Without getting timely assistance, you run the risk of digging yourself into a hole too deep to emerge from without significant struggle.

A 2007 study on “The crossmodal facilitation effect is disrupted in alcoholism: A study with emotional stimuli” published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism states that people who consistently abuse alcohol develop difficulty in correctly interpreting the behaviors and intentions of others. Alcohol lowers your fear of consequences, leading to impulsivity and recklessness. Anger can also negatively impact your physical health. Living with anger puts a person at greater risk for several dangerous conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.

How Drinking and Anger Affect the People in Your Life

If anger and alcohol pose a dangerous combination for your wellbeing, they spell an even greater risk for your loved ones. A 2008 study on “Violence Perpetration and Childhood Abuse Among Men and Women in Substance Abuse Treatment” published in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Treatment found that 72% of men reported engaging in some form of violence before getting help for substance abuse. Violence, and domestic violence in particular, is significantly more likely among people with alcohol use disorders. When combined with anger and emotional instability, alcohol use can lead to destructive behavior that permanently damages people and relationships. Over time, alcohol use can even lead you to develop a less negative view of anger, causing you to become more unstable and irritable as addiction worsens, pushing away the people in your life.

Getting Effective Help

If these sound like problems that are affecting you or a loved one, it’s imperative to reach out to professional help. The right treatment facilities can help you overcome both alcohol dependency and emotional suppression, allowing you to strive for health and well-rounded mental balance in all areas of your life. It can be especially helpful to connect with peers in sobriety through 12-Step programs or other forms of mutual aid, as having the support of people who can relate to your struggles can prove invaluable as you navigate these deep-rooted issues.

While it may seem easy to think that you have everything under control, even small problems can grow under stress until they form deep holes that are hard to get out of without assistance. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or substance use, mental stability, or other forms of personal challenges, there is effective help available to you. Cornerstone Healing Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers a one-of-a-kind approach to addiction, recovery, and growth. We provide individualized support to help you meet every aspect of your wellbeing with intention and confidence. We combine evidence-based treatments with dedicated staff and a thriving support network of peers and sponsor relationships to help get you back on your feet and transition into long-term health and happiness. Don’t wait to get help in achieving emotional clarity. Give yourself a clean slate free of substance abuse and anger issues and move forward into the life you’ve always wanted for yourself. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.

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