Emotional Effects of Alcohol

Although legal, alcohol is one of the most highly addictive psychoactive substances in the world. Like other psychoactive substances, alcohol can lead to physical and psychological dependence. The emotional effects of alcohol can also be damaging. Since alcohol lowers your inhibitions, intoxication can cause you to argue and fight with others. In fact, drinking also increases your risk of experiencing or perpetrating acts of domestic violence.

Abusing alcohol can also lead to severe liver and heart damage, which is magnified if you have certain underlying medical conditions. If you have a mental health disorder, the emotional effects of alcohol can destabilize your mental health and worsen your symptoms. Because alcohol carries the risk of addiction, abusing it regularly can ultimately lead to alcoholism.

The Emotional Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is a neurotransmitter inhibitor that causes your brain to release more neurotransmitters than it should. When you drink, the pleasurable effects of intoxication are caused by the sudden increase in GABA. GABA can create feelings of relaxation and happiness. However, drinking too much can lead to mood, personality, and behavioral changes. Alcohol can also intensify feelings of depression and anger. This means that the emotional effects of alcohol can cause you to feel excessively angry or confrontational, which can create a strain on your relationships.

Other emotional effects of alcohol include that it makes you more prone to making risky or dangerous decisions. Because intoxication lowers your inhibitions, it can lead to bad and irrational choices. And since alcohol abuse and alcoholism is a family disease, the emotional effects of alcohol can also hurt your family. If you stay out late to drink or neglect your family obligations because you’re intoxicated, it can make your family, children, and spouse feel neglected.

If you have an underlying mental health disorder, the emotional effects of alcohol can aggravate your symptoms and lead to drastic mood changes. When you abuse alcohol, neurotransmitter imbalances occur which can cause depleted and depressed moods and intense cravings.

Alcoholism and Treatment Options

Alcoholism causes you to lose control of your drinking. When you develop alcoholism, you’ll continue to drink excessively even if drinking damages multiple areas of your life or you want to become sober. Common signs and symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Drinking as soon as you wake up
  • Experiencing detox symptoms when you stop drinking
  • Feeling guilt, shame, or remorse about your drinking
  • Drinking in dangerous or inappropriate situations
  • Showing up to work, school, or social functions drunk
  • Spending the majority of your time drinking or thinking about drinking

Your brain and body both become dependent on alcohol in order to function during alcoholism, which is why early treatment is essential to recovery. When you are exposed to triggers, which are people, places, or things that remind you of alcohol, you can deal with powerful cravings that make it hard to remain sober. Evidence-based and holistic therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy, teach you how to combat cravings and manage triggers.

Another important reason to complete treatment when you are struggling with alcoholism or a drinking problem is that it can take weeks for your body and mind to recover. Your brain has to learn how to properly release neurotransmitters, which is a process. Since nutritional deficiencies are common among those struggling with alcoholism, treatment can ensure that you receive the proper vitamins and minerals needed to heal.

Finding Treatment and Help Today

The emotional effects of alcohol can cause damage to your relationships, mental health, and overall wellbeing. Alcoholism can make you feel isolated, alone and hopeless but recovery is always possible. Contact us today at 1.844.768.1161 to learn more about alcoholism and how to achieve sobriety.


the right step dfw logoThe Right Step Dallas provides mental health treatment and treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction at their center located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. At The Right Step Dallas, each individual receives a care program designed around their needs, so that they can be provided with the skills and tools for lasting recovery. Programs at the Right Step Dallas include the full continuum of care and provide support at any stage of recovery. Learn more here.