You’re still you when you’re drunk, science says


X Scalper

Many of us know that feeling of waking up, headache in tow, struggling to remember what we said and did after that extra drink the night before. And then suddenly, the memories vividly resurface.

Alcohol disinhibits us, making us say and do things that we’d otherwise keep under wraps. People will often drink to gain “Dutch courage” in a demanding situation. Many of us can understand the appeal of having a drink before a blind date or a social event – it can help to calm our nerves and cultivate confidence. That’s because alcohol has a depressant effect which makes us feel more relaxed.

Of course, alcohol’s effects aren’t all positive. We’ve all adopted nicknames for the characters that we become after a few drinks. Maybe you’re the “happy drunk”, or perhaps you’ve built a reputation for being the “aggressive drunk” who takes everything the wrong way after a pint.

The relationship between alcohol and antisocial behavior is well documented – both anecdotally and in research. Plenty of arguments and fights stem from someone having had one too many. Scientists believe we behave like this when drunk because we misinterpret social situations and lose our sense of empathy. In essence, once we start slurring words and stumbling, our ability to understand or share the emotions of others goes out the door, too.