Beer, wine or spirits? Here’s how your choice may affect your emotions

Beer, wine or spirits? Here’s how your choice may affect your emotions

Alcohol consumption over the weekend is an activity in which many of us partake.

You might notice that alcohol can change your mood to be angry, sensitive, relaxed or more spirited, among other reactions. But could your choice in alcohol type cause a certain emotional response?

New research from Public Health Wales National Health System Trust and King’s College London suggests particular drinks are associated with certain emotions for the drinker.

“For centuries, the history of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits has been laced with violence,” says Professor Mark Bellis, one of the lead researchers for the study. “This global study suggests even today, consuming spirits is more likely to result in feelings of aggression than other drinks.”

The findings of the study were based on data from the Global Drug Survey, which is the largest drug survey in the world. Researchers analyzed how nearly 30,000 participants ages 18 through 34 felt after drinking different types of alcohol over the last 12 months.

Overall, people who drank spirits were more likely to have all types of emotional changes, including feeling more energized, relaxed, sexy or confident, or feeling tired, ill, restless, more aggressive or tearful.

Almost 53 percent of participants said red wine was the most relaxing drink for them, and 50 percent said beer was, while only 20 percent of respondents said spirits helped them to relieve tension and 30 percent said they felt more aggressive when they drank it. However, more than 50 percent of participants said spirits improved their energy and confidence levels.

“I agree with the findings that those who are more dependent tend to be more aggressive, as opposed to the low-risk drinkers,” says Dr. Melanie Gordon, an internal medicine doctor at Advocate Christ Medical Center  in Oak Lawn, Ill. “I also agree with the type of emotions elicited by alcohol in general confidence, feeling more secure and attractive or becoming tearful. But I’m hesitant to believe this is based on the type of alcohol as opposed to the amount of alcohol consumed.”

Researchers pointed out these survey results suggest people who excessively drink can be motivated to do so because they believe the consumption of alcohol will have a positive effect on their emotions.

“Understanding emotions associated with alcohol consumption is imperative to addressing alcohol misuse, providing insight into what emotions influence drink choice between different groups in the population,” says Professor Bellis and his colleagues.

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About the Author

Marrison Worthington
Marrison Worthington

Marrison Worthington, health enews contributor, is a public affairs manager for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of Illinois State University and has several years of global corporate communications experience under her belt. Marrison loves spending her free time traveling, reading organizational development blogs, trying new cooking recipes, and playing with her golden retriever, Ari.