[summary/comment] Do emotions related to alcohol consumption differ by alcohol type? | BMJ Open

Among 18-34s in 21 countries

  • Nearly 30% respondents reported a relationship between spirits and aggression, significantly higher than other types of alcoholic drink
  • Dependent drinkers rely on alcohol to obtain the positive emotions they associated with drinking, being five times more likely to feel energised compared with low risk drinkers
  • Heavier drinkers also reported negative emotions more frequently with respondents being just over six times more likely to report feelings of aggression

Source: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/10/e016089

Note: This topic is crucial to understanding why we drink alcohol which is both fascinating and useful to know about. This study is potentially confusing, however, not helped by some misleading media coverage. The study refers to “different types of alcohol” which could be misunderstood, because there is only one type of drinkable alcohol, ethanol (C2H6O). Alcoholic drinks rarely contain other psychoactives of comparable strength, although the hops in beer are a mild sedative and the caffeine in Coke a mild stimulant. Alcohol dosage is likely to underlie some of the associations. Stronger drinks make it easier to drink more alcohol when we might, for instance, be more likely to be aggressive. But we should not ignore the other powerful ingredient in our drinks: imagination. Alcohol is not needed for it to work. We will, for instance, show signs of inebriation when given a placebo drink containing no alcohol. This effect can be both helpful and unhelpful to us. We can experience both positive and negative emotional effects from our imaginative leap, like feeling happy or feeling sad. And the thing we use to trigger our imaginations and moods can be completely harmless, like a sugar pill, our surroundings or a painting, or potentially counterproductive, like alcohol. ■