We tend to drink during special occasions and social gatherings to let go of our inhibitions and enhance the fun experience of the moment. Drinking alcohol intensifies some of our personal traits that help us communicate and socialize better. It can affect how we think, giving us the feeling of escalating emotions.
It’s normal to express feelings from time to time, and many people will need the company of their friends when they release their emotions. But you don’t need to be under the influence of alcohol to healthily express your feelings.
Too much alcohol can also get us all emotional. This explains how women become so uninhibited and end up extremely sensitive, or a guy becomes more aggressive and starts picking up a fight. There is logical step-by-step reasoning why a Saturday night out can suddenly become a brawling incident or a public weeping festival.
Why Do We Get Drunk?
Some people enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or when attending an event. For some, a beer would be great when meeting with high school friends. But some drink to make themselves feel better or to forget the pain of a traumatic experience.
Some who are going through tough times may drink more. It aids in alleviating the negative feelings and temporarily removes stress and anxiety. Another simple reason why people get drunk is that alcoholic drinks are easily accessible. Most cultures consider alcohol drinking a vital part of their celebrations and events.
Having a drink gives us feelings of relaxation and less anxiety when we are nervous during social gatherings. We also generally drink to have fun, and as the night goes on, the fun continues until we get drunk. Being drunk gives us a boost in mood and a temporary feeling of happiness and being carefree..
A hangover is the expected effect of alcohol on the brain. Different amounts of alcohol affect brain activity and the functioning of different neurotransmitters. It can make the neurons respond, which causes excitement and euphoria, or it could also interfere with the response that can cause inhibitions.
The effects of alcohol on the limbic system cause short-term memory loss when we had too much to drink. This is commonly known as “intoxication blackouts” or hangovers.
Alcohol Is a Depressant
Alcohol use can depress the central nervous system as it can affect the natural levels of “happiness chemicals,” such as serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin in the brain. theThis explains the feeling of euphoria during the night of drinking and the gloominess, anxiety, and depression the next day.
When alcohol dampens the central nervous system further, it can cause impairments such as slurring of speech, perception disorder, unsteady gait and movement, and incapability to react faster. You have probably seen a drunk person with one or more of these side effects.
Alcohol use can also aggravate the effects of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or long-term sadness. In most cases, too much use of alcohol may lead to suicidal ideation or tendencies.
Mental Health Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol does affect not only our behavior but also the way we think. Being drunk affects our rational thinking, may influence our judgment, and lessen our inhibition. Drinking too much alcohol may lead to long-term depression and may become worse over time.
Alcohol causes dopamine to flood our brains. This happiness chemical gives us power and too much confidence, which reduces fear. Alcohol makes us less inhibited by our insecurities and uncertainties, making us feel that we have become the person we imagine ourselves to be.
Alcohol is the “liquid courage” that gives us the feeling of self-assurance and helps us forget about our social anxiety. It puts us at ease when talking to other people and keeps us grounded with ourselves.
Drinking alcohol can cause depression and other mental health issues. Those suffering from anxiety tend to be a lot more anxious after drinking. This is no surprise, as having too much to drink causes physiological alterations in the brain.
Having a drink for stress relief can worsen stress in the long run. As the alcohol’s effects leave the body, it can cause panic attacks and anxiety, especially in people with mental disorders.
Drinking alcohol to treat anxiety can lead to a vicious pattern. You tend to drink to get over your anxiety. This is why when you are sober and start to feel anxious again, you will try to look for something to drink until it becomes a habit, trapping yourself in a never-ending loop of intoxication. This may get worse and lead to substance abuse disorder.
Alcohol Use Worsen Emotions
Having a low mood after a night of partying and drinking can leave you feeling dreadful and tired. These feelings worsen when you have underlying mental depression or anxiety since alcohol use intensifies negative emotions. Have you ever woken up the next day with a hangover and still felt crappy or depressed? It happens.
The use of alcohol affects the brain areas that regulate behaviors and emotions. Yes, you might be drinking to clear your mind or forget about your problems, but when the initial euphoria goes down, you might end up drowning with depressing feelings instead.
When drinking alcohol starts to cloud your brain, your problem-solving skills will be affected, preventing you from seeing possible solutions to your problems. It also decreases inhibitions, so when you’re dealing with anger, sadness, or rage, the emotion you want to go away will overpower you instead after you start drinking.
How Alcohol Drinking Causes Sleep Deprivation
Some people who suffer from sleep deprivation and insomnia drink alcohol to help them fall asleep during bedtime, which does no good. Aside from the initial euphoric effect, alcohol also has sedating effects that reduce the time needed to fall asleep.
The effects of alcohol consumption do not end there. Consuming alcohol an hour before bedtime will disturb the second cycle of sleep. This will cause the person to wake up, toss and turn in the middle of the night, and have difficulty going back to the REM stage of sleep.
People who are suffering from alcoholism experience insomnia as part of withdrawal symptoms. Being unable to sleep properly can affect their day-to-day life, including their mood, decision-making, and concentration.
Levels of Alcohol Intoxication
When we ingest alcohol, it disturbs the brain’s pathways of communication and how the brain process information. Here are the levels of alcohol intoxication:
1. Subliminal Intoxication
When your blood alcohol level is between the range 0.01–0.05 gram%, you enter the first level of alcohol intoxication. You might not appear that you have been drinking; some may still look sober, but you will experience a slight impairment in your judgment and behavior. Depending on alcohol tolerance, gender, and weight, most individuals enter this stage with just one drink.
You enter the second level of intoxication when your brain starts to release endorphins. Your blood alcohol content is within the range of 0.03–0.12 gram%. This happens roughly after 1–4 drinks for women and 2–5 drinks for men.
This is the stage when you feel euphoric, relaxed, and talkative. Most people refer to it as feeling “tipsy,” as this is the stage where your inhibitions start to go down.
After drinking more than five drinks, your blood alcohol level increases to 0.09–0.25 gram%, which means you are entering the third stage of intoxication. It is where you begin to experience instability with your emotions, lack of control, slurring of speech, drowsiness, nausea, and looses your critical judgment. It is also the stage when people you are drinking with will notice who’s drunk and who’s not.
You enter this stage when blood alcohol levels increase to 0.18–0.3 gram%. The intoxication will start to impact your cerebellum, the area of the brain that controls coordination.
At this stage, you will experience disorientation, blackouts, and short-term memory loss, and temporary loss of consciousness. People are at higher risk of injury at this level of intoxication since the pain threshold level increases. They will not feel the pain of injury until later when sober.
This level of intoxication is similar to alcohol poisoning. It is when your blood alcohol level reaches 0.25 gram%. At this rate, you will experience severe impairment of your sensory functions as well as your mental and physical capabilities.
You will also lose a significant amount of motor function and slows down stimulus responses. This stage requires medical help and attention. If not properly addressed, this could lead to respiratory arrest, arrhythmia, and seizures.
Why Can’t You Stop Drinking?
Try to determine why you are getting so emotional. Are you getting emotional because of the alcohol? Or is it because you’re going through something that you’re trying to hide the pain? Why can’t you stop drinking in the first place?
Do not use alcohol as an escape to reality. Instead, skip the alcohol to face reality.
Have you thought that you may be facing depression? Do you feel like you can benefit from talking to mental health counselor or therapist?
It will help if you consider the idea of getting professional help because the moment you take action about what’s going on is the day you turn your life around. Schedule an online mental health counseling with Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC) now to get to the bottom of your drinking problems.