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Updated on September 14, 2023
7 min read

Types of Drunks

How Does Alcohol Change Your Personality?

Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system (CNS). Once metabolized, the alcohol transports to the brain's gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. The GABA is the part of the brain that lets you feel pleasure and euphoria.

When alcohol affects the GABA, you can experience increased confidence, social ease, and libido. The increase in confidence and loss of self-control is how alcohol can change your personality when you get drunk.

Knowing how alcohol changes your personality can help you identify a drinking problem. It can also help you look forward to living and maintaining a sober life. 


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The Four Types of Drunk Personalities

Alcohol affects everyone differently. Because of this, there are different types of alcoholics and drunk personalities.

According to a study, four types of drunk personalities exist.2 These include:

1. Mary Poppins

These people are agreeable when sober and remain agreeable when drunk. Their levels of conscientiousness and intellect reduce only to a small extent when they are intoxicated.

2. The Ernest Hemingway

This category includes those who behave roughly the same when drunk as they do sober. They maintain their average level personality metrics even when intoxicated, with no significant fluctuations in their levels of intellect and self-discipline as compared to other drinkers.

3. Mr. Hyde

These people show drastic changes in their drunken behavior, with significant decreases in agreeableness, intellect, and conscientiousness when intoxicated. 

They’re typically less responsible, less intellectual, and more hostile when drunk compared to when they’re sober. Their personality change is more apparent when compared to others.

4. The Nutty Professor

These people become far less conscientious after drinking. They’re typically introverted when sober but are the life of the party when intoxicated.

The Seven Different Types of Drunks 

Unlike the different drunk personalities, these types refer to how a person reacts to the effects of alcohol. For example, people who are Mary Poppins can also be a happy drunk, and Mr. Hyde can be an angry or reckless drunk.

Here are some of the ways alcohol may affect your personality when you’re drunk.

1. Angry Drunks

A common side effect for some drunks is becoming easily upset and highly reactive to imagined threats or minor inconveniences. Alcohol can affect how you assess emotional or physical threats, increasing aggression.

This side effect explains why an angry drunk quickly enters conflicts when intoxicated—one of the many potential alcohol-related consequences. They may also become paranoid about certain situations. 

People struggling with alcohol addiction are often angry drunks. Once the alcohol wears off, you may regret your actions; this is called hangover anxiety.

2. Happy Drunks 

During the early stages of drinking, many experience euphoria. This state of slight intoxication is sometimes called being ‘tipsy.’ Some people maintain this state of happiness regardless of how much they drink.

Happy drunks may begin to slur their words or become less coordinated, but their joyful mood remains. This reaction is likely due to how alcohol affects anxiety levels, making people forget their concerns.

However, in some cases, happy drunks may feel the opposite the morning after. As long as you don’t regularly rely on alcohol to reduce anxiety, there's nothing wrong with being a ‘happy drunk.’

3. Blackout Drunks

People who down a lot of alcohol or "binge drink" can sometimes experience memory loss. Most people refer to this experience as blacking out.

Those who can't stop or control their drinking may black out more often than others. Intoxication can lead to risky behaviors and poor decision-making; because of this, blackouts can be dangerous. If you’re a blackout drunk, you should avoid excessive drinking.

Blacking out at parties is common among college student parties. It’s also an early sign of an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

4. Sloppy Drunks

A sloppy drunk can engage in risky behavior and become overly sexual after drinking. This type of drunk is also more likely to do drugs, drive under the influence, or cause accidents.

This reaction happens because of how alcohol can lower inhibitions. Even if you don't want to engage in these behaviors, excessive drinking can shift your ability to control your actions and make rational decisions.

5. Affectionate Drunks

Some people may become more expressive and emotive when drunk, even if they're quiet or reserved. Affectionate drunks are typically more loving when drunk.

This change typically happens because alcohol can make you more sensitive or emotional. Although there's nothing wrong with being affectionate with people you know, this can be dangerous around the company of strangers.

6. Reckless Drunks

Some people are prone to recklessness when they’re drunk. These types will act impulsively and dangerously because of intoxication.

Unlike sloppy drunks, who may cause problems accidentally, reckless drunks may do so on purpose. They can act in dangerous ways, like drunk driving or diving off a roof into a swimming pool. 

7. Secret Drunks

Some people never seem to act drunk, no matter how much they drink; this is called a "secret drunk." A secret drunk may have a high tolerance for alcohol. However, this may be due to genetics.

Some genes make some more sensitive to alcohol, while others may make some less vulnerable to alcohol’s effects. However, high tolerance to alcohol isn’t necessarily a positive thing.

People with a high tolerance for alcohol may need to consume more significant amounts to experience the same effects. As a result, they may drink excessively or develop an alcohol addiction.


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Are Drunk Personalities a Sign of Alcohol Abuse? 

If you’re concerned about a loved one’s relationship with alcohol, pay attention to their behavior. If you notice a dramatic change in their mood when they drink, they might have a problem. 

Although they appear more relaxed when they start drinking, their personality changes when they drink too much. Once they get drunk, they may exhibit negative signs of alcoholism


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When Should You Worry About Your Drinking?

Minor personality shifts after drinking on occasion aren’t always a sign of a problem. However, it can be when you drink too much alcohol.

You should worry about your drinking habits if:

  • You continuously find yourself drinking so much that you experience significant personality changes
  • Your ‘drunk alter ego’ creates issues with your personal life, career, or the law
  • You often feel upset or distressed by your behavior when drunk
  • Your drinking is pushing away friends and loved ones
  • You find yourself frequently blacking out
  • You're experiencing alcohol withdrawal

If you find yourself drinking alcohol regularly and struggling to control how much you drink, it may be a sign of a problem. No matter what type of drunk you are, you should consider reducing your alcohol intake if it's negatively affecting your life.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

The symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • A strong desire or craving to drink alcohol
  • An inability to control alcohol cravings
  • An inability to stop drinking
  • Increased tolerance for alcohol
  • Lying about your alcohol consumption
  • Trying to drink without others noticing
  • A failure to get through daily life without drinking

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

There are several evidence-based treatment approaches for alcohol misuse and addiction. However, one type of treatment doesn’t fit all, and what may work for one person may not work for another.

Treatment for alcohol misuse and addiction includes:


Alcohol can affect your central nervous system and change your behavior. Because of this, people may exhibit shifts or changes in their personalities when drinking.

Four types of drunk personalities change how a person acts while drunk. Meanwhile, seven types of drunks are defined by how a person reacts to intoxication.

Minor shifts in your personality are typically not a sign of abuse or addiction. However, it can be a problem if you drink too much frequently.

Updated on September 14, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Winograd et al. “Drunk personality: reports from drinkers and knowledgeable informants.” Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2014.

  2. Winograd et al. “Searching for Mr. Hyde: A Five-Factor Approach to Characterizing "Types of Drunks.” Addiction Research & Theory, 2016.

  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2020.

  4. "How alcohol affects your health." Nidirect Government Services, n.d. 

  5. Littlefield et al. “The Multiple, Distinct Ways that Personality Contributes to Alcohol Use Disorders.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2010.

  6. Cook et al. “Drunk People Are on a Different Level: A Qualitative Study of Reflections From Students About Transitioning and Adapting to United Kingdom University as a Person Who Drinks Little or No Alcohol." Frontiers in Psychology, 2022.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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