The Angry Drunk: How Alcohol and Aggression Are Linked

Dry drunk syndrome is when you turn to destructive coping habits instead of developing healthy habits. For recovery to be successful, you have to deal with any mental health issues or trauma that contributed to your substance abuse problems. Drinking may also be a method to self-medicate negative emotions, including anger.

Through behavioral therapy and counseling, a person is better able to recognize how their thoughts tie into their actions. They can learn to recognize potential triggers and how to safely manage them. Some of the biological factors that contribute to alcoholism may also play a role in increasing the risk of intimate partner violence. Such factors including head injury, neurochemistry, physiological reactivity, metabolism, and genetics. The study concluded that alcohol increased the odds of physical aggression in those men who had high trait anger and poor anger management skills.

Oar Member Stories: Cutting Back on Alcohol

Alcohol use disorder can include periods of being drunk (alcohol intoxication) and symptoms of withdrawal. To curb alcohol-fueled rage, it helps to know how you respond to drinking. And you may need to take steps to stop or limit alcohol consumption. Those expectations can also arise from what we’ve learned about alcohol from family members and peers. If you had a parent who was frequently enraged while drunk, you may expect that response in yourself when drinking and therefore exhibit it.

alcoholic rage syndrome

Drinking helps someone escape their negative emotion of anger, and feeling angry lets them avoid the fact that drinking has become a problem. The two feed off one another and can be  dangerous to their health and well-being. The first step in dealing with dry drunk syndrome is the same as it was for quitting alcohol. Once you do that, you can look for help and support from those around you. Connecting with other sober people and establishing healthy routines can help as well.

What is considered 1 drink?

Researchers found that participants who had a few drinks were better and faster at creative problem solving than their sober counterparts. The reason may be that alcohol tamps down working memory and therefore sparks people to think outside the box. For more information on symptoms, causes, and treatment of alcohol use disorder see our Diagnosis Dictionary.

alcoholic rage syndrome

Another would be a college student who repeatedly has trouble making it to class because she was drunk the night before. These individuals, sometimes called “almost alcoholics,” may not see the connection at first but would often benefit from help and support. Meditation can help clients to relax physical tension, become more self-aware, and work toward creating a healthy mind-body balance. Other holistic methods are often used during a comprehensive addiction and anger management treatment program as adjunctive, or complementary, treatment methods.

Anger Management and Alcohol Addiction

If you or a loved one has symptoms of WKS, call your healthcare provider or 911 immediately. Now that you’re no longer drinking, you have a chance to embrace your sober life and redefine your passions. Now is the time to pursue those things you’ve always wanted to learn. Instead, the following symptoms can develop slowly over time, especially during the first year of recovery. Alcohol addiction is a disease, but that doesn’t excuse abusive behavior.

Intermittent explosive disorder involves repeated, sudden bouts of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts. Road rage, domestic abuse, throwing or breaking objects, or other temper tantrums may be symptoms of intermittent explosive disorder. A “crazy drunk person” is one who drinks excessively alcoholic rage syndrome 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. Essentially, drinking makes us less likely to withhold our reactions when we’re angry or annoyed.


One study published in a journal called Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience sought to explore factors that make some people more aggressive when they drink. Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death. This is of particular concern when you’re taking certain medications that also depress the brain’s function.

alcoholic rage syndrome

Alcoholics have a “low rejection threshold.” They feel more apart or left out. Incidentally, a drink or two “works wonderfully” to deal with this feeling. Yet, it is known that sensitive people are often especially creative.

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