Renaissance Ranch

The Connection Between Anger and Alcohol Use

Feb 19, 2023

Anger can cause us to do many things that may be out of character or seem impulsive. It can damage relationships, ruin opportunities, and even result in physical or emotional harm. In an attempt to manage anger, or temporarily distract from it, many turn to substances such as alcohol. Anger can often encourage more alcohol consumption, which can escalate emotions such as anger. The connection between alcohol and anger can be complicated, and one can often cause the other. 

Signs of Anger

Let’s first discuss the signs and symptoms of anger. Anger can be a progressive thing, or it can be sudden depending on what triggers the emotion. Sometimes it builds up and sometimes it is very reactive and impulsive. A few common signs of anger to look for within yourself or to identify anger in others can include:

  • Chest tightening
  • Stomach upset
  • Feeling hot or overheated
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tense muscles
  • Sweating

Alcohol to Cope With Anger

Some may choose to consume alcohol in order to try to manage anger. Maybe they had an argument with their spouse or loved one. Perhaps you are angry because of a certain situation or sudden disappointment. Turning to alcohol to “take the edge off” or “get your mind off of things” is a common attempt at coping with difficult situations or emotions. 

Unfortunately, alcohol is no cure for distress. In fact, consuming alcohol can often make things worse. It can cause you to neglect responsibilities, act in ways that you would not otherwise, or say things you might regret. Alcohol also causes delayed responses and unconsciousness that can result in danger or harm. 

Anger Fueled by Alcohol

Alcohol can sometimes encourage anger. Depending on the amount consumed, alcohol can enhance emotions and cause exaggerated emotional responses and reactions to things. If this is the case, there is usually an underlying cause of distress or frustration that the alcohol helps uncover. 

Do you find yourself feeling a bit short-tempered when you drink? Maybe your drinking habits have caused tension in your marriage or your relationships as a result of the way you handle things when you are under the influence. It is common for people to become irritable or aggressive when they drink. This can result in long-term problems and conflict, sometimes even legal trouble. 

“Angry Drunks”

Surely you have heard the term “angry drunk” and maybe you have even been called one. This refers to someone who behaves in a more aggressive, irritable, and angry manner when they consume alcohol. This is a problem for many reasons, especially if you know this about yourself yet still struggle to limit your intake. 

If you know that you are using alcohol to cope with anger, or alcohol causes you to become angry, it may be time to seek help. Chances are, you have tried to slow down or refrain from drinking on your own. Unfortunately, the best intentions are not always enough. 

Seeking Help

Anger is not a comfortable emotion or one that typically results in positive outcomes. Coping with anger in healthy ways is an essential skill. If you are someone who tries to cope or manage your anger with alcohol, it is time to try a different approach. 

Treatment can help you refrain from consuming alcohol and learn strategies for managing your mood and reactions to things in calm and healthy ways. Life will always bring stress and adversity; it is unavoidable. However, staying prepared with methods to use when things go awry can be very helpful. 

If you find that alcohol is causing you to behave in ways that are causing harm, yet you are having trouble walking away from it, treatment may be the answer. The detox process will rid your body of alcohol and help you cope with initial withdrawals and symptoms. Next, you will begin your treatment program and learn new healthy habits and routines. 

Here are a few indicators that it may be time to make the call for help:

  • Experiencing irritability and extreme mood swings
  • Blackouts or memory loss
  • Distance or tension among friends and loved ones
  • Feeling the need to justify or excuse drinking
  • Drinking in secrecy or hiding your habit
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms or cravings
  • Risk-taking or poor judgment

Anger is unhealthy for the mind and body, as it takes a toll on both. Similarly, alcohol causes significant damage to crucial organs over time and impacts the way the brain operates and functions. Whether you consume alcohol to cope with anger or alcohol consumption causes anger, the problem needs to be addressed. 

Seeking treatment for your addiction to alcohol will do more than offer sobriety. You will learn ways of navigating life while maintaining balance and happiness through recovery. 

Alcohol and anger often go hand in hand. Anger can cause someone to drink just as alcohol can bring out anger and aggression in even the most even-keel person. Both anger and consuming alcohol cause damage to your overall physical and mental health. At Renaissance Ranch, we conduct a full assessment at intake to ensure we are able to address any underlying issues or challenges that may be contributing to or accompanying your addiction. This allows us to carve out a treatment plan that will address your specific needs and situation. If you or someone you love is struggling to overcome an addiction to alcohol or other substances, call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898.