7 Behavioral Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol influences your behavior in many ways. The most obvious way is that it changes your reaction to your immediate environment. Heavy drinking is dangerous, especially when you are in an unfamiliar area. Alcohol leads to myopia (short-sightedness) which means your focus and attention to obvious cues and information hinders severely.
Overall, alcohol influences your behavior. Most of us have had moments intoxicated that we look back on in confusion. Moments like these are not always easy to accept, especially if we put ourselves in a jeopardizing situation.
Here are six ways heavy drinking affects your capacity to make sound decisions:
Alcohol limits our ability to process information. Heavy amounts of alcohol consumptions limit a person’s ability to handle even the most simple of information. After heavy drinking, most people’s attention is only allocated to their immediate environment. This explains the attention-related mistakes people make while intoxicated, such as impaired driving. Heavy alcohol consumption affects our concentration and awareness.
Ever made a bad decision intoxicated? Yeah, me too.
Alcohol in high doses limits our capacity to inhibit impulsive behaviors. When a person is intoxicated, they respond only to what will provide them with immediate pleasure. They do not analyze the risk of that behavior because alcohol limits our inhibitions. We feel free and reckless when intoxicated like there are no consequences. However, as we all know, every action has a consequence, regardless of how drunk you were when it happened.
For some people, alcohol can make them very aggressive and angry towards others. We all know these people. They are usually seen getting into some altercation at a bar or yelling angrily over something relatively insignificant. Alcohol itself does not necessarily cause aggression. It increases the amount of aggression a person feels when provoked. Therefore, when a person feels challenged; rather than ignore that behavior, they respond in an aggressive manner. They are limited in their ability to have restraint.
Heavy drinking triggers overeating. If you have ever driven past a pizzeria downtown around 2 a.m., you know this is the case. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to control or regulate their food intake. Even the most chronic dieters tend to overeat after a few drinks. Alcohol already is loaded with calories and eating junk food on top of it is a major no-no for weight loss. Cutting out the alcohol will help in your weight loss goals and make you feel healthier overall.
When intoxicated, a person loses their ability to monitor their behavior successfully. Eventually, the attitude changes from being aware and responsible to “who cares?” However, being aware of yourself and your behavior is important. While you might not care at the moment, you will care when the alcohol wears off.
Alcohol relieves stress and anxiety. Often, people state they are drinking to “take the edge off.” However, did you know that alcohol can make anxiety worse? That’s right. Although the ethanol in alcohol can temporarily reduce anxiety, it does not cure it. In fact, anxiety and alcohol use can worsen drinking behavior and make anxiety worse. It’s a bad cycle. Don’t do it!
Alcohol can cause you to make false commitments. This is because people focus on the desirability of a goal rather than the work required attaining that goal. Therefore, you might make empty goals and commitments at the moment. However, once sober, you fail to follow through on your promises. Consistently committing to things while intoxicated is not a great way of gaining trust with those around you.
Overall, while drinking can seem like a good idea at the moment, remember the effects of alcohol are temporary. At the end of the day, we all have to snap back into reality eventually. Therefore, if you are finally living a life of sobriety, glorifying alcohol use ignores all the negative consequences of drinking. Do not forget the harm alcohol has caused you. If you are struggling with addiction, remember we are here to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.