The existence of an angry “crazy drunk person” is often featured in TV shows and movies because of the rising drama and action they bring to an entertaining storyline.
But in real life, a person who loses control of their emotions when they drink is anything but entertaining. People spend years in therapy and in treatment for issues of their own that are caused by the consequences of this behavior.
In this piece, we set out to understand why some people change into the worst form of themselves when they drink alcohol, explore how it affects their lives and the lives of the people closest to them and discuss what actions can be taken to limit the damage.
What Makes a “Crazy Drunk Person”?
Anyone who’s lived with an alcoholic parent, partner or other close family member understands all too well what happens when their loved one’s personality changes suddenly as soon as they have a drink or two. Suddenly, the person they know and care for is a much different, angrier person — short-tempered, abusive and often violent.
This has an effect on the life of the person exhibiting this consistent anger. It makes people — even their closest friends — less willing to spend time with them. It can have a major impact on their family members’ quality of life and even be a detriment to the healthy development of any children they have.
There’s definitely a connection between the act of drinking and this destructive behavior, but its explanation hasn’t always been clear. According to Robert O. Pihl, a McGill University professor of psychology and psychiatry, “alcohol is involved in half of all murders, rapes and assaults. But the dynamics of this association are complicated, which is why any research that focuses on explaining this relationship is important for society in general.”
Fortunately, thanks to some recent research, we’re getting a better idea as to what this link actually is.
Angry Drunk Psychology: Why Does Alcohol Make Some People Abusive?
One study published in a journal called Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience sought to explore factors that make some people more aggressive when they drink.
By studying subjects’ responses to various social cues and stimuli with and without the influence of alcohol, researchers found that drinking alcohol made people more sensitive to certain behaviors while also being less likely to follow social norms of politeness. Essentially, drinking makes us less likely to withhold our reactions when we’re angry or annoyed.
Alcohol effects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the region that moderates things like decision-making. Simply put, it lowers our inhibitions. What this means is that people whose personalities make them naturally quicker to become angry than others are even more likely to lose control under the influence of alcohol.
A “crazy drunk person” is one who drinks excessively and frequently due to alcoholism. Because they’re naturally predisposed to be angry when they drink, this becomes a key part of their personality because they can’t control their drinking or their temper.
Consequences of Being a Mean Drunk
When you live with or care for someone who becomes abusive when they’re intoxicated, the consequences may well be more than just hurt feelings.
People known to have anger outbursts on alcohol can end up destroying relationships. Even the people who care about them the most can be unable or unwilling to continue to tolerate the abuse.
Many people with “angry drunk” tendencies also end up on the wrong side of law. The lack of inhibitions that causes them to lose their temper can lead to bar fights, road rage, impulsive violence (even against friends and loved ones) and other events that may cost them a night in jail or worse.
These consequences aren’t limited to the angry drunk, either. Often, when children, spouses and other loved ones spend time close to someone who becomes abusive when they drink, their lives change for the worse. For example, multiple studies have shown that children who are exposed to trauma at a young age — domestic abuse or violence linked to addiction, for example — are more likely to abuse substances or develop mental disorders when they grow up.
If You Live with an Angry Drunk, What Can You Do?
If you live with an alcoholic, it’s important to get them help. When they aren’t under the influence, you can try speaking openly with them about how their actions make you feel, how they’re affecting your family and why something needs to change.
The ultimate goal is to help them get into a treatment program that addresses their substance abuse and the way it causes them to behave. But this is often easier said than done, and mean drunks can turn violent when provoked — meaning that if you share a living space with one, your safety should be your main priority.
For example, some cases of domestic violence have turned fatal because one person refused to leave when their partner was being abusive to them. In some cases, you can’t change an angry drunk, and you need to make the decision that’s right for you and other members of the household, especially children.
If You Know You’re an Angry Drunk, What Can You Do?
Many people who have an alternate personality when they drink look back on it clarity when they sober up. Sometimes the shame of facing the things they did while intoxicated causes them to start drinking again, proliferating a vicious circle of substance use and abuse.
Luckily, that clarity can be beneficial, because it means that you have a chance to put your foot down and stop what you’re doing. If you become a crazy drunk person when you’re drinking, and you drink often, it’s probably safe to say you’re an alcoholic. Unfortunately, quitting something that’s become an addiction isn’t as easy as simply making the decision to stop. Every day, people try to quit cold turkey and fail.
The best decision you can make is often the most difficult because it may involve putting your life, your family and your career on hold. But entering treatment is the best way to show the people you’ve harmed with your anger that you’ve made a commitment to change.
Alcohol Recovery at FHE Health
If your behavior fits the description of an angry drunk, it may be difficult to admit you behaved that way under the influence. Many people whose behavior changes drastically with drinking have a hard time believing it when they’re sober. But the best choice for you and the people around you is to enter treatment and work to become a better person.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, contact FHE Health today and get on the road to recovery.