Consuming too much alcohol affects people in different ways. For some people, the lack of inhibitions while drinking can make them more boisterous, brave, or exuberant. For others, it can unfortunately lead to increased aggression and anger, also known as being an “angry drunk” or a “mean drunk.”
Understandably, this behavior can be upsetting to those around the angry drunk. It can also be dangerous, especially for those in a relationship with someone who becomes violent while under the influence.
If someone close to you gets mean when they drink, you may be wondering how to deal with an angry drunk. In this guide, we at Northern Illinois Recovery Center will explore the potential factors that trigger aggressiveness in people while drinking and provide tips on how to handle an angry drunk.
If you or a loved one are dealing with alcohol, please feel free to reach out to our Illinois alcohol rehab center. We can help you today!
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Why Do People Get Angry When Drunk?
The effects of alcohol on the brain are complex and can vary from person to person. However, there are some potential factors that may contribute to a person becoming aggressive while intoxicated. These include:
- Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition towards aggression when consuming alcohol. Do they have angry drunks in their family?
- Underlying mental health issues: People with pre-existing conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder may experience increased irritability and anger when drinking.
- Stress or trauma: Alcohol can amplify negative emotions, especially if the person is already under stress or has experienced trauma.
- Environment and social influences: Surroundings, peer pressure, and previous experiences can also play a role in how someone behaves when under the influence of alcohol.
- Alcohol tolerance: As a person becomes more intoxicated, their inhibitions and ability to control their behavior decrease, potentially leading to outbursts of anger.
These potential underlying factors can influence a person’s behavior when drunk and may contribute to them becoming an angry drunk.
The Different Personality Types of Drinkers
A 2015 study in the Journal of Addiction Research and Theory found that there are different personality types when it comes to “types of drunks.” The different types vary in how they act under the influence of alcohol, with some becoming angry or aggressive. These personality types are:
- Hemingways: Named after writer Ernest Hemingway, Hemmingways tend to remain relatively unaffected by alcohol and do not experience drastic changes in their behavior.
- Mary Poppinses: Like the beloved fictional nanny, Mary Poppinses exhibit positive emotions when drinking and tend to be the life of the party.
- Nutty Professors: This type experiences a complete shift in personality, becoming more outgoing and social after consuming alcohol.
- Hydes: Similar to Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego, Mr. Hydes can become more aggressive and angry while drunk.
While some of the personality types associated with drinking are non-threatening, Mr. Hydes can potentially turn violent and pose a risk to themselves and those around them. If you or someone you know identifies as a Mr. Hyde while drunk, it is essential to have strategies in place to deal with angry behavior.
How to Deal With an Angry Drunk
If you find yourself in the presence of an angry drunk, it’s essential to know how to handle the situation safely and effectively. Here are some tips:
- Stay calm: It’s natural to feel upset or threatened when dealing with an angry drunk, but it’s crucial to stay calm. It’s easier to diffuse a situation when both parties are not agitated.
- Remove yourself from the situation: If possible, try to remove yourself and anyone else who may be in danger from the situation. This could mean leaving the room or calling for help if things become violent.
- Avoid confrontations: As tempting as it may be to argue or confront the angry drunk, this will likely only escalate the situation. Instead, try to diffuse the tension by changing the subject or suggesting a different activity.
- Seek professional help: If someone in your life is consistently aggressive when drinking, it may be necessary to seek professional help. A therapist can help identify underlying issues and provide strategies for managing anger while intoxicated.
Despite getting angry when drinking, remember that your loved one may be unable to abstain from alcohol at all. In these cases, a substance use disorder (SUD) may be present. In such cases, seeking treatment at a reputable facility like Northern Illinois Recovery Center can help build the foundation for a sober life.
How Alcohol Abuse Contributes Toward Anger
Drinking alcohol affects not only the body, but also the mind. While it may initially provide a feeling of relaxation, consuming alcohol can also lead to increased irritability, aggression, and even violence. Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to various mental health issues that can contribute to anger, including:
- Depression: Alcohol is a depressant that can worsen symptoms in individuals with depression.
- Anxiety: Consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to increased anxiety symptoms, such as restlessness and agitation.
- Bipolar disorder: Alcohol consumption can trigger manic episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder, leading to heightened emotions and potential aggression.
Moreover, excessive drinking can also cause damage to the brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for controlling impulsive behavior and regulating emotions. This damage can further contribute to a person becoming more aggressive when drinking as their inhibitions are lowered.
Chronic use of alcohol is also connected to a decline in cognitive function, making it hard to make good decisions. As well as a tendency to act impulsively which can lead to a person failing to maintain their anger. Finally, a disregard for consequences and impaired judgment can also contribute to aggressive behavior while intoxicated.
Am I an Angry Drunk? How to Help Yourself
If you’re someone who becomes aggressive after consuming alcohol, it’s essential to recognize and address the issue. Here are some steps you can take:
- Track your drinking: Keep a journal of how many drinks you have and the impact they have on your mood and behavior. This can help identify patterns and triggers.
- Seek help: Reach out to a therapist or support group to address any underlying mental health issues and learn healthier coping mechanisms.
- Find alternative activities: Instead of turning to alcohol, find other ways to relax and unwind. Engage in hobbies, exercise, or spend time with loved ones who support your sobriety.
- Consider treatment options: If your drinking is out of control, consider seeking treatment at a reputable facility like Northern Illinois Recovery Center. We offer evidence-based programs and support to help build the foundation for a sober life.
Remember that you are not alone in this journey, and there is always help available. Don’t let being an angry drunk ruin your relationships and hinder your potential for a happy, healthy life. Contact us today to learn more about our highly effective addiction treatment options. Let us help you on your path toward recovery and a brighter future.
Ending the Cycle of Anger and Alcohol
Whether you or a loved one is dealing with the fallout of being an angry drunk, there is hope. When an alcohol addiction is present, it can be difficult and almost impossible to stop drinking on one’s own. It is also not safe for a chronic drinker to stop drinking cold turkey without the help of medical professionals at a drug or alochol detox center.
To end the cycle of anger and alcohol, an individual with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) will require medical detox and inpatient alcohol rehab. In an inpatient treatment program—also known as residential rehab—the individual will have an opportunity to get away from their normal environment, where they may be triggered and tempted to drink. They will receive the same highly effective treatment options as those in our outpatient program but with the added benefit of 24/7 support and supervision.
If you find yourself questioning whether you are an angry drunk, it’s essential to seek help. At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we offer highly effective treatment options that can support individuals in achieving results in their recovery journey. Our programs range from outpatient options for those who cannot commit to a residential program to specific programs for women and detox programs to help ease withdrawal symptoms. We believe that everyone deserves a chance at a healthy, happy life free from the grips of addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our accessible and affordable treatment options at drug rehab in IL. Take the first step towards sobriety and reclaiming your life. The cycle of anger and alcohol can be
Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Northern Illinois Recovery Center
At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we understand that seeking treatment for alcohol addiction can be overwhelming and scary. That’s why we strive to make our programs accessible, affordable, and highly effective. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to helping individuals achieve long-term recovery and build a life free from the destructive cycle of anger and alcohol.
We utilize evidence-based methods backed by years of experience to guide our clients through the recovery process. Our programs include individual and group therapy, holistic treatments, and a focus on relapse prevention to ensure long-term success. Additionally, we offer specialized treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders that often accompany substance abuse.
Take the first step towards reclaiming your life and breaking free from the cycle of anger and alcohol at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and begin your journey toward a brighter future. Remember, you’re not alone, and we are here to support you every step of the way.
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.