Why Does Alcohol Cause Anger?

Why Does Alcohol Cause Anger?

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A lot of people believe a connection between alcohol and anger exists, but may not be aware of just how prevalent the situation is. Many people have grown up with an alcoholic family member and witnessed violent acts they committed. They might have been the victim of a violent crime that involved alcohol. This leaves many wondering about the correlation between alcohol and anger. 

Facts About Alcohol and Anger

A quick look at some of the facts involving the connection between alcoholism and acts involving anger can be startling. Did you know that each year:

  • Approximately 3 million violent crimes are committed. Alcohol factors into 40% of all violent crimes today, including rape, sexual assault, robbery, simple and aggravated assault. 
  • Two-thirds of victims attacked by someone they know report that alcohol use was involved. Approximately one-third of attacks involving a stranger involve alcohol use.
  • During commissions of a violent crime, the attacker is much more likely to have consumed alcohol rather than drugs. The sole exception to this is robbery.
  • 70% of violent incidents involving alcohol occur in the home. 
  • Almost half a million violent incidents between people who know each other involve a person who has been drinking. 

Why Alcohol Causes Anger

Understanding the correlation between alcohol and anger involves taking a look at several factors. Often a person who becomes violent while consuming alcohol does not have any healthy coping skills for expressing difficult and negative emotions. They may have been raised by a parent who struggled with alcohol addiction and did not teach them healthy ways to release their emotions.

The same individual who turns to violence may know better but not act in that manner. Intoxication brings out violent tendencies in those already prone to them. This makes for a perfect storm in some cases. A person may want to use alcohol to deal with feeling anger, then find that the more they drink, the angrier they become. When they have no filter to stop themselves, anger often becomes the focal point of their words and behavior. 

In cases of domestic violence, the victim often has become conditioned to being physically and verbally abused. Once a pattern has been established, the aggressor often believes their anger is an acceptable reaction. They may blame their victim for provoking them or causing their anger. When children are raised in this environment, they often go on to repeat the pattern of angry reactions as part of an addiction to alcohol.

A combination of alcohol and anger has taken hold in the popularity of a new kind of drink. Recent studies suggest the combination of energy drinks mixed with alcohol may escalate hostile situations. A person who becomes inebriated with energy drinks mixed with alcohol may find that their raised energy levels promote their desire to express anger. 

Another contributing factor to alcohol and anger pairing up involves the effects of alcohol on a person. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to reason and anticipate repercussions related to their words or actions. This leads to a person who is inebriated being more likely to stop filtering their words. They may deliver blistering commentary to others, then lose control and act on it. The person they are verbally attacking may become the aggressor. 

Often a person who has had a lot to drink does not remember the specifics of these events. This can lead to a repetition of their anger when using alcohol.

Causes of Alcohol Use Disorder

Researchers continue to investigate data related to the reasons why people develop alcohol use disorder. Results so far show alcohol addiction can come from an individual’s environment, genetics, psychological makeup, and social factors. Many involve a combination of these things. The most common reasons include:

  • A family history of alcohol addiction: Children raised by a parent with an alcohol use disorder show an increased likelihood of developing the same illness. This may owe to shared genetics or the environment in which the child is raised, or a combination of both. 
  • Social and cultural influences: A person raised in a family with members that drank heavily or who spends time with friends or partners who abuse alcohol may end up developing an alcohol use disorder. 
  • Mental Health Conditions: Many people who struggle with alcohol use disorder also have one or more mental health diagnoses. Often a person begins to rely on alcohol to help minimize or mask the symptoms of their mental illness. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder often co-occur with alcohol use disorder.
  • History of Traumatic Events: Individuals who experienced trauma in the past or currently live with it often develop an addiction to alcohol as a coping method. Trauma can include childhood abuse or neglect, physical abuse as an adult, sexual abuse, and other devastating events.

Alcoholism Treatment in Arizona

Continuum Recovery Center offers a world-class treatment program for those suffering from alcohol use disorder. We believe in tailoring our approach to each person as a whole, including holistic treatment modalities. We offer multiple types of treatment to help you or a loved one put alcohol addiction in your past. 


Contact us today here and let us help you get started on the path to recovery.