When Your Partner Gets Drunk and Violent

ABC Health & Wellbeing

When Your Partner Gets Drunk and Violent
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by Dyani Lewis

Subtle differences in brain function, personality and social development can determine whether you're a lion or a pussycat when you drink.

[Image source: iStockPhoto | lofilolo]

Alcohol-related violence has been making headlines with increasing frequency, but not everyone who drinks alcohol, even to excess, becomes aggressive.

In fact it's only a small minority, says psychologist and Stanford University substance abuse researcher, Dr Adrienne Heinz.

«Very few people when they drink actually become aggressive,» says Heinz.

But their behaviour can have far-reaching consequences. Families and friends can be the targets of alcohol-fuelled outbursts, as can other unsuspecting members of the public.

«Alcohol remains clearly the most important drug to be addressed as far as harm is concerned,» says Dr David Caldicott, emergency medicine consultant at the Calvary Hospital in Canberra.

Who's at risk?

For Caldicott, who regularly sees the results of alcohol-related violence, personality is a key element that separates aggressive drunks from everyone else.

«I think the reality is that the sort of people who are going out and hitting other people [when drunk] are the sort of people who would go out and hit other people [when sober],» he says.

Studies of alcohol and aggressive behaviour square well with Caldicott's observations. People who are more irritable, have poorer anger control, and who display lower levels of empathy towards others when sober, are more ly to be aggressive when they have alcohol in their system.

Gender also has an influence: men are more ly than women to be aggressive when drunk.


There is increasing evidence that subtle variations in brain function mean some people behave worse than others when they have a few drinks.

One way in which alcohol's effects on brain functioning have been measured is to look at how people use what's known as the brain's executive system.

Decision-making, problem solving and reasoning are all jobs the executive system takes control of.

As Heinz explains, it is the command centre of the brain, that «tells you when to put on the brakes, think about the consequences, steer yourself towards a better long-term outcome.»

But when we drink alcohol, executive control flags, making it harder to reflect on our behaviour and self-regulate. Instead of taking a few deep breaths when we feel slighted or insulted, we give in to our impulses, which for some are violent.

Importantly, some people naturally have poorer executive control than others, and these people, particularly if they are male, are more ly to be aggressive after drinking alcohol.

A lack of executive control could also help to explain why adolescents and young adults are so frequently the perpetrators of violent behaviour when drunk. It has been shown that our brains continue to develop well into our 20s and that one of the last parts of the brain to develop is the prefrontal lobe, the region responsible for reigning in impulses through executive control.

People who have a dependence on alcohol have a «double whammy» when it comes to executive control, according to Heinz.

Each time they consume alcohol, their executive functioning is impaired due to the alcohol in their system.

But their consistent use of alcohol also leads to poorer executive function even when they aren't drinking, an effect that can last for up to a year after they stop drinking.

Studies on rats have shown that, as in humans, only a small proportion of individuals become aggressive when inebriated. The studies also show that rats with lower levels of the brain signalling chemical serotonin, and higher levels of another called dopamine, are more ly to be aggressive when given alcohol. (Such brain signalling chemicals are known as neurotransmitters.)

Similar changes in both of these neurotransmitters have been found in chronic alcohol drinkers, and it is believed ly they play a role in violence in non-alcoholic binge drinkers too.

People with lower serotonin levels are also known to be more ly to consume alcohol to the point of excess.

Since early life trauma and adversity can alter serotonin signalling, these factors have potential to raise the odds of a person having a short temper when drunk.

Alert and alarmed

When someone accidentally bumps into you in a crowded bar or at a sporting event, most of us are able to quickly shrug it off as a benign interruption to our day. But add alcohol to the equation and an innocuous bump can suddenly be interpreted as a serious threat, or even a deliberate act of aggression.

«[Alcohol] can affect information processing and your ability to determine how much threat is actually present in the environment,» says Heinz.

Caldicott agrees that alcohol «alters our perception of the world,» and explains that any increased sensitivity to perceived threats isn't just about what's going on in the brain.

Alcohol's effects on the heart can also play a role.

«You can get palpitations, or what we call tachyarrhythmias, as a consequence of alcohol,» he says, and a racing heart can often be misinterpreted as a threat.

Expectations matter

For Heinz, one of the most interesting areas of individual difference when it comes to alcohol-related aggression is in what we expect to happen when we get drunk. Expectations about what behaviour is normal and socially acceptable when alcohol is consumed can be set in place long before we take our first sip of beer.

«You actually see these [expectations] in pre-schoolers and young children who've never had any experience with alcohol before,» says Heinz.

How our parents act when they drink can lay down our first impression of alcohol-related behaviour.

As we get older and see how our friends and others in the community behave, associations between alcohol and aggression can become stronger if that's what we see around us.

«In a society where there's a lot of pub-related violence, or violence that's seen when you're drinking at sporting events, it becomes [more] socially condoned,» she says.

The power of expectation can also play a part in influencing how people behave when they consume different alcoholic drinks, quite apart from the physical impact of differing alcohol concentrations, Heinz believes. «People have different expectations for what happens when I drink wine versus when I drink liquor versus when I drink beer,» she says.

Whether certain drinks, such as those with high levels of sugar or caffeine, help to enhance aggression is unclear, although Heinz notes that alcoholic drinks that contain caffeine can lead people to take more risks than they otherwise would.

Curbing violent behaviour

With people who are more ly to be aggressive when they drink, one of the greatest challenges for psychologists Heinz is teaching temper control.

She says that anger management programs are a good start for those who end up seeking help when alcohol gets them into trouble with the law or their families.

«You create safety plans, you learn the internal sensations of anger, how to identify them and then what to do to turn down the volume when things are a bit hot.»

Heinz is also looking into whether therapy to improve people's executive control might help.

But when it comes to reducing the number of people turning up at hospital emergency departments due to alcohol-related violence, Caldicott believes limiting overall community alcohol consumption would be of clear benefit.

«If you have a toxin that's causing harm in the community, it's up to public health to ensure that there are limits on the availability of that toxin,» he says. «It's not rocket science.»

Published 30/01/2014

Источник: https://www.abc.net.au/health/thepulse/stories/2014/01/30/3934877.htm

How to Deal with Angry Drunks & Get Help For Them

When Your Partner Gets Drunk and Violent

It is not uncommon to come across a mean drunk person. Some people get angry after drinking alcohol. This is largely due to excessive drinking, which can cause mental health issues, including anger issues.

Someone with an alcohol addiction may experience angry outbursts with little to no regard for the consequences of their actions. This is because alcohol is a depressant and, when people drink, their decision-making skills are impaired.8 They may have little to no self-control after heavy drinking.

If you or someone you know has a drinking problem (or an anger problem when drinking), know that professional addiction treatment for both alcohol use and substance use is available. While this may be an especially difficult time, you do not need to go down the road to recovery alone.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or violent crimes, reach out for help immediately. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7, and it is free and confidential for your safety.7

What the Research Says 

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), is a huge public health concern in the United States. In fact, in a national study published, 23 percent of Black couples, 17 percent of Hispanic couples, and 11.

5 percent of white couples reported male-to-female partner violence in the 12 months preceding the research.

1 And the rate of female-to-male IPV was also high at 30 percent of Black couples, 21 percent of Hispanic couples, and 15 percent of white couples reporting it.1

Alcohol plays a major role in IPV. Specifically, 30 to 40 percent of the men and 27 to 34 percent of the women who were violent with their partners were drinking.1

Rehabilitation Services To Help You Overcome Your Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol Rehab Help Has Specialized Drug And Alcohol Rehab Facilities Across The U.S.

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The Psychology of an Angry Drunk

Alcohol affects the brain in a number of ways. In short, drinking alcohol directly affects a person’s cognitive and physical functioning.5 This reduces their ability to come to a non-violent resolution if conflicts arise in relationships.

Plus, alcohol depresses the central nervous system (CNS), acting similar to a sedative in slowing down motor coordination and reaction time.8 When someone drinks alcohol, the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine tell them that they feel happier and relaxed.6 But that wears off when they sober up, which can lead to a depression, which is a common hangover symptom.9

The effects of alcohol also take a toll on someone’s judgment, memory, and reasoning — especially if they black out from drinking.2 And alcohol can impact sleep, leading to insomnia.8

If someone is not able to make sound decisions, has trouble remembering what they have done the next day, gets little to no sleep, and wakes up tired with a hangover, this can all be a recipe for disaster. After all, drunken behavior can cause harm to others. And studies show that sleep deprivation only increases anger and aggression.10

Excessive drinking can also cause financial difficulties, get in the way of family obligations childcare duties, and lead to infidelity.5 All of these things can be problematic and make someone act out in anger. 

While alcohol does affect people’s judgment, researchers have suggested that some people may consciously use alcohol as an excuse for their aggressive drinking behavior.1

Connection Between Angry Drunks and Depression

Someone’s drunk behavior may seem angry because alcohol is tied to depression.2 Even if that person’s personality type is not necessarily aggressive when they are sober, they can become aggressive when they are drunk and when they are sobering up after drinking.

You don’t have to overcome your addiction alone. Professional guidance and support is available. Begin a life of recovery by reaching out to a specialist today.

Call now (855) 772-9047

What to Do if You Live with an Angry Drunk

If you live with someone whose drinking behavior is dangerous for you, seek immediate help. Again, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7, free, and confidential.7

Ways to Deal with an Angry Drunk

Here are three ways to deal with an angry drunk.

1. Talk to them when they are sober

Don’t try to engage with an angry drunk person.3 Understand that they are not currently in their right mind, and you will not get a rational response. They may not even be aware of what is happening or remember the situation anyway.

You will have a better chance of de-escalating a situation by removing yourself from it than you would by trying to engage in a discussion that can turn aggressive or violent.

2. Keep yourself safe

If you are worried about your safety, reach out for emergency help. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at any time.7

If you are not worried about your safety, you should still keep cautious around an angry drunk. Do your best to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

If you know that someone has a tendency to be an angry drunk, you may take preventive measures.

These can include not being alone with them in private places, not drinking yourself, and having a method of transportation to get yourself home if necessary, among others.

3. Try to get the person some help

If you are dealing with someone who tends to be an angry drunk, they may have an anger problem, a drinking problem, or both. Help them find professional help. Helping an alcoholic also helps you!

Tips: How to Stop Being an Angry Drunk

If you are someone who gets angry when you drink, be mindful of your alcohol intake. The most obvious step would be to not drink. This is easier said than done, especially if you have an alcohol addiction.

If you are worried that you may have an alcohol addiction, reach out for professional rehab help. You should not try to cut back on alcohol alone, as alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly. If you have an alcohol use disorder and a mental health problem, it is essential to seek help for both conditions. 

How to Tell if Your Loved One is an Alcoholic

Alcoholism refers to a chronic disease in which a person has an addiction to alcohol. It is also known as alcohol use disorder. You may notice that they continue to drink alcohol despite the toll it takes on their life. Or they have trouble controlling or cutting back on their alcohol intake, constantly finding themselves wanting alcohol.

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Symptoms of alcohol use disorder include the following:

  • Cravings for alcohol
  • An increasing tolerance for alcohol
  • Needing to drink more to achieve the same effects
  • Wanting to drink more and more often
  • Continuing to drink despite health complications it causes
  • Continuing to drink despite social, financial, and other personal issues it causes
  • Lying about drinking habits
  • Missing work and family obligations, and letting hobbies and passions fall to the wayside because of alcohol-related issues

Treatment Options: How to Find Help for Them

If you or someone you know, such as family members or another loved one, has a drinking problem, reach out for professional help immediately. Both inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab centers are available with trusted medical and mental health professionals.

Alcohol and drug addiction support groups also exist to help people battle alcohol and substance use problems. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help people get to the real root of their toxic drinking habits and identify triggers. Therapy can also help with anger management. 

Never try to detox from an alcohol addiction alone. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, and cutting your alcohol consumption cold turkey can be deadly. It is always best to recover with the help of a professional support system.

What's Next?

Источник: https://alcoholrehabhelp.org/blog/angry-drunk/

What to do About an Angry Alcoholic Husband

When Your Partner Gets Drunk and Violent

Alcoholism can have terrible effects on a marriage. Spouses who deal with alcohol abuse in the home know how this can harm the marriage. An alcohol problem can impact all aspects of home life. Problems include money problems, feelings of shame, anxiety, stress, neglect of the children, and fear of abuse. In fact, one of the worst effects is the angry alcoholic husband.

A husband who is not able to manage their anger while drinking can do much harm, including angry outbursts or acts of violence. Data from the WHO report that 55% of domestic assaults involved drinking.

Disordered coping skills can emerge as the wife adapts to the husband’s drinking problem. Often the woman feels powerless to the actions of her husband, and relies on less than helpful coping techniques. These can add to the problems that are already present in the home.

Alcoholism and Violence

The link between alcohol abuse and violence is well known. A report by the Department of Justice states that up to 37% of crimes involved alcohol when the offense occurred. Alcohol causes someone to lose control of their emotions when triggered. The alcohol can impair the person’s executive functions. This is the region of the brain that involves impulse control.

When it comes to the spouses, drinking can provoke aggressive or angry behavior toward the spouse. This is true when the person has poor coping skills to begin with. The combo of alcohol abuse and poor emotional control can result in assault against a spouse.

What a Spouse Living With an Alcohol Use Disorder May Experience

Living with a spouse who has a drinking problem can have profound effects on the other spouse. These wives tend to neglect their own health, and suffer with anxiety and depression. They become withdrawn and may even acquire a substance use problem in response.

To cope with the husband, many will resort to enabling behaviors. Hoping to cushion the fallout from their husband’s drinking problem, the spouse may begin to cover for her.

She may make excuses for him, and go to extremes to clean up the messes left in the wake of his substance issue. When she covers for him, the spouse only helps her husband remain in his addiction.

He would have no reason to change his ways.

Effects of Alcoholism on Marriage

It isn’t only increased levels of anger or violence that are the result of an alcoholic spouse. There are many other bad effects caused by a drinking problem that can damage a marriage. Some of these occur when the spouse:

  • Becomes detached and withdrawn, unable to be there for the other partner.
  • Neglects family obligations.
  • Consumes high levels of alcohol, resulting in problems or mental health issues. This can impact the quality of life for both spouses.
  • Becomes unable to function at their job, possibly losing their job. This can hurt family finances.
  • Loses interest in their appearance. They might gain weight or ignore hygiene.
  • Becomes depressed, unpleasant to be around.
  • Loses interest in the things the couple used to enjoy. This is due to decreased energy and vitality, caused by the drinking.
  • Becomes so mired in the drinking problem that the marriage ends in divorce.

Is Anger a Factor in the Husband’s Alcohol Problem?

Certain traits may factor into the alcohol problem when the husband is drunk and angry. The husband might have unprocessed trauma, such as a history of physical or sexual abuse. He may have poorly formed impulse control, or doesn’t know how to manage his anger well. The presence of a mental health disorder may cause him to use alcohol as a means to self-medicate.

If the angry alcoholic husband also has a mental health issue, he will benefit from a dual diagnosis treatment program. These programs provide both treatment as well as mental health care. These therapies work in tandem to address both problems during the course of treatment.

Strategies for Helping the Husband Get Treatment

The excuses alcoholics are used to delay facing the truth about their drinking problem. Spouses of these men walk on eggshells. They try to avoid setting off the next angry outburst, or worse, physical attack.

The husband’s misplaced anger is not easy to navigate. To be able to convince the husband to get treatment without any angry backlash, it helps to have a plan. Consider these tips when wanting to persuade the husband to get help:

  • Do not confront him when he is intoxicated.
  • Do not attempt to discuss treatment during a heated argument.
  • Prepare your thoughts in advance by writing it them down. Prepare to respond to his excuses.
  • Avoid harsh language when discussing his need for treatment.
  • Admit that you do not understand their problem and be kind.
  • Do not judge him; that you know he is doing his best.
  • Consider hiring an interventionist.

Integrated Treatment for Alcoholism

When the alcoholic husband decides to get help it is helpful to have some knowledge of the steps he will take. Alcoholism can be treated and managed when the person is all in, ready to do the work.

First he will decide on whether to use an outpatient or a residential rehab program. The outpatient rehab is more flexible, as it allows him to reside at home during treatment. The residential rehab is best for those with a long history of alcohol abuse, as it involves 24-hour support.

Treatment for alcohol use disorders follows this process:

  • Detox. The detox process is the first step of the rehab program. During alcohol detox, a team of detox pros will help the husband. They will provide the care to help reduce pain and discomfort as must as they can. Detox takes about 5-7 days to complete.
  • Treatment. Treatment entails a blended approach. It uses evidence-based therapy, group therapy, 12-step meetings, holistic therapies, and relapse prevention planning.
  • Aftercare. After treatment is finished, the husband will still attend therapy sessions and group meetings.

Capo by the Sea Provides Alcohol Recovery Interventions

Capo by the Sea is a premier rehab located in a beach community in Southern California. At Capo by the Sea, our expert staff guides clients through a detox program as comfortably as possible.

Our addiction treatment program will provide helpful recovery tools that help ensure clients achieve a sustained recovery. For any questions, please reach out to Capo by the Sea today at 888-529-2114.

Источник: https://capobythesea.com/angry-alcoholic-husband/

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