Don’t Blame Your Bad Behavior on The Alcohol!3 weeks ago | Alcohol
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Let’s talk about ‘alcohol-related crimes.’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. This equates to one death every 50 minutes!
Then there is evidence that an estimated two-thirds of victims suffering from violence by a current or former spouse or partner report that the perpetrator had been drinking, but, of course, not all cases of abuse involve alcohol.
And the term ‘alcohol-related crime’ is used very freely when referring to a variety of crimes, from robbery to sexual assault.
“Data suggests that engaging in prolonged drinking or binge drinking significantly increases your risk of committing violent offenses,” according to this source.
“Alcohol plays a large role in criminal activities and violence. Excessive drinking has the ability to lower inhibitions, impair a person’s judgement and increase the risk of aggressive behaviors. Because of this, alcohol-related violence and crime rates are on the rise throughout the country.”
Statements such as these which may attribute the cause of violence and criminal activity to excessive drinking are usually not meant to excuse criminals or bad behavior. They simply highlight the devastating effect consumption of excessive alcohol can have on people’s lives.
The truth is, we may be giving alcohol way too much credit when it comes to making poor decisions and committing horrible acts.
Take, for example, this recent report, which suggests that the alcohol and domestic violence link is not as strong as some might think.
Many of us may be familiar with behaving badly or not acting like ourselves after having one too many. For example, we may get mad or yell at a friend for no apparent reason when we probably would not have done that sober. If you have experimented with drinking at some point in your life, I’m sure you have embarrassed yourself and woke up the next morning and said: “I’m never drinking again.”
Rapper and singer T-Pain had a hit song in 2008 for this scenario - Blame It (On the Alcohol).
But a recent study says that you are essentially the same person after you have a few cocktails.
“It turns out that while we might believe that alcohol changes our personalities, it doesn't. You're still the same person after a drink—your existing sense of morality left intact. So while alcohol might affect how we interpret and understand the emotions of other people, we can't blame our immoral behaviours on alcohol,” according to this report discussing the study.
You see the difference?
Consuming alcohol might affect our empathy and make us respond inappropriately to other people's emotions and reactions. However, “this doesn't necessarily change our moral standards, or the principles we use to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong.”
Researchers of the study gave the participants shots of vodka and then measured their empathy and moral decisions.
How did they do this?
They showed images to the intoxicated participants of different people expressing different emotions. With a “higher dose of vodka, people began to respond inappropriately to these emotional displays reporting that they felt positively about sad faces and negatively about happy faces.”
The more drunk the participants got, the more impaired their empathy became. But what the researchers really wanted to see is if drinking too much affected the participants’ ability to decide between right and wrong.
So the researchers had the participants tell them what they believed they would do in moral dilemmas. They took this a step further by simulating moral dilemma situations using virtual reality tools.
Here is one of these situations:
"A runaway trolley is heading down some rail tracks towards five construction workers who can't hear it approaching. You're standing on a footbridge in between the approaching trolley and the workers. In front of you, is standing a very large stranger. If you push this stranger onto the tracks below, their large bulk will stop the trolley. This one person will be killed but the five construction workers will be saved. Would you do it?"
Basically, the results revealed that what people decided drunk is what they would have decided sober.
“If someone chose to push the person off the footbridge in order to save more lives while sober, they did the same thing when drunk.”
And if someone decided while sober that it was morally wrong to kill the stranger to save the construction workers, the same decision would be made when drunk.
“Drunken you has the same moral compass. And so you are responsible for your moral and immoral actions, whether you've had a few drinks or not.”
I know many people probably disagree with this study: “Hey, I wouldn’t have punched that guy in the face if I hadn’t been drunk. In fact, I don’t even remember doing it!”
It’s really hard to say. Alcohol does seem to often be responsible for people’s crazy behavior, but to reiterate, this recent study suggests that your actual personality does not change, nor does your morality. So basically, abusing alcohol can just confuse you in reading other people’s emotions and now it looks like you no longer have the excuse of “blame it on the alcohol.”
I’m not much of a drinker. I just don’t have the tolerance for it. Drinking alcohol just makes me want to go to sleep, and I don’t care for the potential health consequences of drinking alcohol such as promoting inflammation throughout the body and depleting the body of essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and more.
But if you drink and are able to do so in moderation (read here to see what’s considered an appropriate amount for both men and women and what’s the proper serving size for a glass of wine or cocktail), then I suppose you can continue to do this as long as you're healthy, not pregnant (obviously) and have clearance from a competent healthcare professional.
Now if you find yourself regretting your behavior after you drink and wake up with painful hangovers, it’s definitely time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. Read here for additional pH Labs blogs about how you can be proactive about addiction.
“Cocktails” I am an advocate of are vitamin therapy cocktails! I utilize these cocktails monthly to address my inevitable nutrient absorption issues. The pH IV Vitamin Drips provide hydration and vitamins directly into the bloodstream to help boost my nutritional status. I believe this has successfully boosted my immunity and good health (both physically and mentally). And if we are in good health, the less likely we will be to turn to alcohol for relief from the stresses of life. (Also check out our nutrient injections and pushes).
Cheers to your health and enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.