Although drinking is often a social event and can be associated with fun times out with friends, this addictive elixir isn’t always something to smile about. Many people will experience the emotional ups and down of being intoxicated by alcohol, but especially when consumed in excess or when alcoholism is at play, serious alcohol mood changes are not uncommon.
Drinking Alcohol and Mood Swings of Varying Degrees
Alcohol is a finicky substance. While many people are able to have one or two drinks without any problems, several drinks can lead to more complicated effects. Especially when someone starts to become dependent on the substance but refuses to get alcohol abuse treatment, their mood may become uncontrollable.
In the short-term, alcohol can have noticeable effects on a person’s mood and behaviors. Someone under the influence may feel stronger emotions than normal or experience more dramatics highs and lows. It is not uncommon for someone drinking to feel:
- Excited and happy
- Sad and depressed
- More confident
- More trusting
In some cases, a person under the influence of alcohol may experience all of these mood changes from alcohol in the same night.
Although alcohol may lead to some positive mood changes initially, the relationship between alcohol and moodiness usually gets more severe with heavier and more frequent drinking. Alcoholics have often been stereotyped as being violent and aggressive, and one study did find that 42% of violent crimes involved alcohol.1 While alcohol may not be the direct cause of this violence because people more prone to violence may also drink more, this number is still alarming. Not everyone who is an alcoholic will resort to violent crimes, but alcoholic moods swings are not uncommon either. Other research has found that alcohol may lead to more aggressive behavior because it interferes with normal brain functioning and leads to more impulsivity.1
An alcoholic may also experience mood swings after drinking alcohol because of withdrawal. As they begin to detox from alcohol and go through withdrawal, their body struggles to function without the substance in their system. Mood changes are a common symptom of withdrawal, and these alcoholic mood swings may lead to bouts of irritability, depression, and anxiety that can range in severity.
In some cases, the drinker may also suffer from a separate mood disorder and heavy drinking makes their symptoms worse. Alcoholism may even trigger an underlying mood disorder that was once manageable and mostly dormant. The individual may turn to alcohol to self-medicate or numb their pain, but with time, this coping style will likely make their problems worse, and alcohol may lead to more intense changes in mood. It is important that these people get into a rehab center as soon as possible to keep their problems from escalating to a dangerous and unmanageable level.
At Clearbrook, our goal is to help people find lasting sobriety from both drugs and alcohol. Stop letting these substances control your life any longer and take back your life. Call 570-536-9621 to get started.
NIH – Alcohol Alert