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What Is an Angry Drunk?

Learn why some people are so-called "angry drunks" in this Howcast video featuring addictions specialist Paul J. Rinaldi, Ph.D.


People are often curious about why some people, when they drink, get really angry and people refer to it as the angry drunk.

Well, alcohol doesn't cause anger. Alcohol doesn't cause emotions. What happens for a lot of people who get angry when they get drunk is that they have anger within them that they control when they're not drinking. And then when they get drunk, alcohol lowers inhibitions or removes inhibitions, and alters judgment. So people who are already angry are more likely to express that anger and more likely to act on that anger. So there's really not such an animal as the angry drunk, it is just that those people are people who have anger inside of them that gets unleashed, if you will, by the alcohol use. Because of the lowered inhibitions and impaired judgment.

Alcohol, unlike other drugs, seems to cause more fighting. People do seem to get into more angry encounters. The reason for that is alcohol, more than other substances, does lower inhibitions more quickly than with other substances. And so people, again, will express those extreme emotions more readily.

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