Does Alcohol Really Lower People's Inhibitions?

Learn if alcohol really lowers people's inhibitions in this Howcast video featuring addictions specialist Paul J. Rinaldi, Ph.D.


A question that's frequently posed is whether alcohol actually lowers people's inhibitions. The answer is yes. When people drink alcohol, it does lower inhibitions, and it changes people's judgment.

Often people will report that they do things that they wouldn't normally do. They may drive when they've been drinking, when they really would not think of ever doing that, and when sober would usually say they'd never do such a thing. They also may act out sexually in a way that they would never do because it does lower their inhibitions and causes people to sometimes just be more impulsive. When people drink a lot, normally it's very normal to have impulses. But normally what happens is we have an impulse, and then we have a thought process that determines whether we act or not.

When people drink, often what happens is that cognitive piece, that thought process, really gets taken away, and people have impulses and then they act without thinking. You often hear people say after they've been drinking that they've done something the next day that they feel terrible about. That they've cheated on their significant other. Again, doing things that they may have an impulse to do normally but would not act on it. So, yes, alcohol absolutely lowers people's inhibitions and changes people's judgments.

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