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It's not uncommon to come across a "mean drunk." This is a term used for someone who becomes prone to anger after drinking alcohol.
Excessive drinking can cause mental health and emotional issues such as excessive anger.
Alcohol is a depressant that impairs your decision-making.8 You may have little to no self-control after heavy drinking.
For this reason, some alcoholics may experience angry outbursts without regard for the consequences of their actions.
If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, professional help is available. While this may be a tough time, you don't need to face recovery alone.
For victims of domestic violence or violent crimes, reach out for help immediately.
A 2018 study looked at MRI scans to see alcohol-related changes in the brain.4 Results showed a decrease in activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is related to inhibition and working memory.
This reflects lower self-awareness and more hostility and is why some men are more aggressive when they drink.
Domestic violence is a major public health concern in the United States.
A national study on domestic violence and alcohol consumption found:
Reported male-to-female partner violence in the 12 months preceding the research.1
And the rate of female-to-male violence was also high at:
Alcohol plays a major role in intimate partner violence (IPV).
30 to 40 percent of the men and 27 to 34 percent of the women who were violent with their partners were drinking.1
Drinking alcohol directly affects a person’s mind and body.5
It increases impulsivity and reduces emotional control. This negatively impacts your ability to come to a non-violent resolution if a conflict arises.
Alcohol also takes a toll on someone’s judgment, memory, and reasoning.2 It can also lead to insomnia.8 Studies show that sleep deprivation increases anger and aggression.10
Excessive drinking can also cause financial difficulties, get in the way of family obligations like childcare duties, and lead to infidelity.5 All of these are problems that can lead to increased anger.
While alcohol affects people’s judgment, researchers have suggested that some people may consciously use alcohol to excuse their aggressive drinking behavior.1
Here are three ways to deal with an angry drunk.
Don’t try to engage with an angry drunk person.3
Understand that they are not currently in their right mind, and you won't get a rational response. They may not even be aware of what is happening or remember the situation anyway.
You will have a better chance of de-escalating a situation by removing yourself from it than you would by trying to engage in a discussion that can turn aggressive or violent.
If you are worried about your safety, reach out for emergency help. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at any time.7
If you're not worried about your safety, you should still be cautious. Do your best to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
If you know that someone has a tendency to become mean when drunk, take preventive measures. These can include not being alone with them in private places, not drinking yourself, and having a method of transportation to get yourself home if necessary.
If you live with someone whose drinking behavior is dangerous for you, seek immediate help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is free, confidential, and available 24/7.7
Help them find professional help. Helping an alcoholic also helps you.
If you get angry when you drink, be mindful of your alcohol intake. The most obvious step would be to refrain from drinking.
This is easier said than done, especially if you have an alcohol addiction.
If you're worried that you may have an alcohol addiction, reach out for professional help. Don't try to cut back on alcohol by yourself - alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and even deadly.
If you have an alcohol use disorder and a mental health problem, it's essential to seek help for both conditions.
Symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD) include the following:
There are many treatment options available for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and addiction, including:
Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center.
These programs provide 24/7 comprehensive, structured care. You'll live in safe, substance-free housing and have access to professional medical monitoring.
The first step of an inpatient program is detoxification. Then behavioral therapy and other services are introduced. These programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days, sometimes longer.
Most programs help set up your aftercare once you complete the inpatient portion of your treatment.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) provide similar services to inpatient programs.
Services include medical care, behavioral therapy, and support groups, along with other customized therapies.
However, in a PHP program, you return home to sleep. Some services provide food and transportation, but services vary by program.
PHPs accept new patients as well as people who have completed an inpatient program and require additional intensive treatment.
Outpatient treatment is less intensive than inpatient treatment or partial hospitalization programs.
These programs organize your treatment session based on your schedule. The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment.
They are best for people who have a high motivation to recover and cannot leave their responsibilities at home, work, or school. Outpatient programs are often part of aftercare programs once you complete an inpatient or PHP program.
It is important for people undergoing treatment to have a stable and supportive home environment. If family members/roommates drink or use drugs in the home environment, it will be extremely difficult for the person to maintain abstinence when they return home after treatment. It is extremely difficult to undergo successful outpatient therapy if you are living in a home environment with ready access to drugs and alcohol.
Sometimes medications may be used in alcohol addiction treatment.
Some medicines can help reduce the negative side effects of detoxification and withdrawal.
When combined with other evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), MAT can help prevent relapse and increase your chance of recovery.
They are peer-led organizations dedicated to helping each other remain sober. Support groups can be the first step towards recovery or part of a long-term aftercare plan.
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