Getting drunk and saying hurtful things is an unpleasant experience; however, it may be more common than you think. In this article, we will discuss the relationship between alcohol consumption and the way we behave. We’ll explain how alcohol impacts the brain and our behaviour, the reasons why we might say hurtful things when we’re drunk, and tips on how to manage alcohol consumption.


The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain and Behaviour

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains that alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and makes it more difficult for the brain to control balance, memory, judgement, and speech. The effects that alcohol can have on your brain and your behaviour can vary depending on factors such as the amount of alcohol consumed, individual tolerance, overall health, and whether alcohol is consumed in moderation or in excess. Some of the key effects that alcohol has on the brain include:

  • Depressant: Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down brain function and impairs cognitive and motor skills. It inhibits the release of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals in the brain.
  • Poor Decision-Making: Alcohol can impair judgment and decision-making abilities, leading to risky behaviours and poor choices. This can result in accidents, injuries, and engaging in activities that you wouldn’t normally do while sober.
  • Reduced Inhibitions: Alcohol can lower inhibitions and increase confidence, which may lead to engaging in behaviours that you’d typically avoid. This can include increased talkativeness, impulsivity, and inappropriate social behaviour.
  • Memory Impairment: Alcohol can impair short-term memory and disrupt the ability to form new memories, especially at higher doses. This can lead to blackouts or gaps in memory where you can’t recall events that occurred whilst you were drunk.
  • Coordination: Alcohol affects your coordination, making tasks such as driving or operating machinery dangerous. It can slow reaction times and increase the risk of accidents.
  • Aggression: Some people may become more aggressive or agitated under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol can amplify existing emotions and lead to confrontational or violent behaviour.
  • Mood Swings: Alcohol can impact your mood, causing swings from euphoria to depression. Initially, it might provide a sense of relaxation and euphoria, but excessive consumption can lead to increased irritability and sadness.


Why Do People Say Hurtful Things When Drunk

Getting drunk and saying hurtful things is not considered normal or acceptable behaviour. However, alcohol can impair judgment and inhibitions, leading people to say or do things they wouldn’t otherwise do when sober. However, this does not excuse hurtful behaviour. Passages explain that because alcohol impairs our decision-making skills, we’re much more likely to say hurtful things drunk than when we are sober. Alcohol also makes us more impulsive, resulting in less thought or consideration behind our words and actions; this often leads to many of us regretting what we’ve said when we’re drunk.

Live Science explains that MRI scans of drunk and sober people show that alcohol-related changes in the pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for moderating social behaviour and aggression) may be responsible for alcohol-induced anger, which can result in hurtful words being exchanged.

There are many other factors that could contribute to saying hurtful things under the influence of alcohol, such as underlying emotional or psychological issues. Because alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system, this can result in your inhibitions lowering and a lack of self-control over your behaviour. This is likely to cause you to say things you might not otherwise say when sober, as you’re less able to filter your thoughts and feelings.

Alcohol can amplify your emotions, making you more sensitive or reactive to certain situations or triggers. This can make you express your feelings in an unfiltered and hurtful manner as your emotional sensitivity is increased. Many people also drink alcohol as a release from stress. They use it as a form of escapism. This can mean that they vent their frustrations or feelings in a way that can be very hurtful to others. In a group setting where others are also consuming alcohol, there might be peer pressure to conform to a certain behaviour. This can lead to some people saying hurtful things to fit in or gain approval within the group.

While alcohol can contribute to saying hurtful things, it doesn’t excuse the behaviour. Responsible drinking, understanding your limits, and seeking help for any underlying emotional or psychological issues are essential steps toward preventing hurtful behaviour while under the influence of alcohol.


Tips for Managing Alcohol Consumption and Its Effects

Drinking less can help limit the negative impact it has on our behaviour and lower the risk that alcohol has on our physical and psychological health. Here are some tips on how you can manage your alcohol consumption:

  • Aim for moderate alcohol consumption. This is defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Drink water, non-alcoholic beverages, or mocktails between alcoholic drinks to pace yourself and reduce overall alcohol intake.
  • Opt for alcohol-free days during the week to give your body a break from consuming alcohol.
  • Binge drinking is defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period. Avoid this pattern, as it can have severe health and behavioural consequences.
  • Avoid places or events that may encourage heavy drinking if you’re trying to reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Share your goals with a trusted friend, family member, or support group. Having someone to hold you accountable can help you stay on track.
  • Consider joining a support group or seeking professional help, such as counselling or therapy, to address underlying issues related to alcohol consumption.
  • Find healthier ways to manage stress, anxiety, or negative emotions, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, or talking to a mental health professional.
  • Arrange for a designated driver, use public transportation, or have a ride-sharing app ready if you plan to drink away from home.
  • If you find it challenging to manage your alcohol consumption on your own, consider reaching out to a medical expert, therapist, or alcohol addiction clinic for guidance and support.


Need Help For Alcohol Addiction? Get In Touch Today

If you’re struggling to control your drinking, you may require professional support. At Ocean Recovery, we help people who have struggled with alcohol addiction, providing effective treatment to help them get back on track. Reach out today, and a member of our team will discuss all available options with you.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: September 22, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.