There are several explanations offered by experts.
1. Narrowed Judgment
When a person drinks, their ability to sort through input from several directions becomes impaired. Without alcohol most people can take several factors into account when evaluating someone else’s words or actions. However, alcohol narrows a person’s field of view so that they are less able to process
several pieces of information at once. If someone makes a mistake, the person drinking is less apt to conceptualize several explanations for that person’s error and may instead jump to the conclusion that the other person’s behavior was intentionally malicious.
2. Unrestrained Impulses
Not only can a drinker not collate multiple pieces of information, neither can they check impulsive behaviors as they normally might. Sober, the individual might feel tempted to yell at or strike another person who has offended them, but the certainty of negative consequences to follow checks
their anger. After a few drinks, that ability to pause and weigh the outcome of actions is less active.
3. Social Expectations
Studies show that not only are people who drink more aggressive, but even people who mistakenly believe they’ve been drinking behave that way. People given placebo beverages they thought were
alcoholic demonstrated a similar increase in expressed anger to those actually consuming alcohol. Part of the reason for this could be that drinkers expect to be excused for their bad behavior since they would not normally behave poorly without alcohol. In other words, there is an assumption that drinkers get a
pass for aggressive behavior.
If you or someone you know has anger problems when they drink, encourage them to seek
help. And if the person has trouble with anger before they drink, it’s likely alcohol only compounds the problem. The staff at Family Guidance understand the connection between alcohol and anger and they can help. Contact them today.