Drinking alcohol can cause people to exhibit different types of behaviors. Some people feel happy when they’re drunk, some feel sad when they’re under the influence, and others get angry. In fact, the “angry drunk” stereotype is not far from the truth for some.

It’s no secret that drinking alcohol can lead to aggression. A majority of individuals who commit violent crimes or acts are under the influence of alcohol when they unleash their aggressive behavior. More than half of the murders, rapes, and domestic violence cases in the country involve alcohol in some way.

So what is this link between alcohol & violence, and what can we do to break it?

Anger: How It Starts & What It Means

It’s easy for humans to feel angry when something goes wrong or when someone does something bad to us; but since the emotion of anger is so intense, it can be hard to rein it in. This is especially true for people who have “trait anger,” which is a term used to describe individuals who are chronically carrying around some sort of anger. These people tend to seek out situations that will stimulate their anger and allow them to take it out on something else.

When people feel angry, they may begin to display aggressive behavior. This aggression can cause psychical and psychological pain for both the person displaying it and the people on the receiving end. After someone shows their aggressive behavior, violence typically occurs.

Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Violence?

People who have trait anger usually feel more angry and aggressive when they drink. Other factors that may lead to aggression while drinking include being a male in the 18-35 range, regularly binge drinking, having a genetic predisposition to anger or alcoholism, and having family members or friends who display anger while drinking. It is also believed that individuals who struggle with depression and other mental health issues are more likely to be violent when under the influence.

Additionally, alcohol is known to cause changes in the brain that could lead to violent behavior. Drinking is directly connected to acts of disinhibition, impulsivity, and low regard for consequences, which could all inspire someone to start acting violent if prompted.

How to Disconnect Violence From Alcohol

If you experience feelings of anger and aggression while drinking, the key is to get to the root of the problem. Anger usually comes from somewhere, so you just have to determine the cause and figure out how to approach these feelings in a different way. When extreme anger goes untreated, it could eventually lead to acts of self-aggression or even suicide. Those who get aggressive easily, whether while sober or drinking, should see a specialist as soon as possible.

If someone you love gets violent when they drink, it is important to get them help while keeping yourself safe. You should not approach someone who displays violent behavior about their drinking on your own. Instead, seek help from a mental health professional or law enforcement.

Alcohol Abuse & Aggression Treatment

Someone who displays violent behavior while drinking may benefit from substance abuse treatment. Receiving treatment will not only help them get clean, but will address the deep-seeded issues that make anger arise. Some treatment methods for alcohol abuse and extreme anger include counseling, CBT, aggression support groups, anger management, etc.