Not the Cure for What Ails You: Alcohol and Anger
Your heart starts to race uncomfortably as you see the headlights of your husband’s car as he pulls into the driveway later than usual.
He stumbles into the house, gives you and the kids a quick hello, and makes his way into the living room, where he turns on the ball game.
His ruffled demeanor suggests he had gone to the bar after a hard day at work. He’s gone out for a drink from the office before, and everything was fine. But lately, it’s been more often and slightly more noticeable – the smell of alcohol on his breath and his fluctuating moods.
As you try to make small talk, you can tell he’s uncharacteristically short and inpatient in his responses to you. Even the kids’ happy chatter and playing seem to frustrate him as the evening goes on. Your husband says drinking helps him relax, but it just seems to make him a tense and angry person you don’t recognize.
Everyone has a different response to alcohol. While it relaxes some people, alcohol can make others feel angry. Let’s take a look at why this is.
Why Does Alcohol Make Some People Angry?
Alcohol affects different people in different ways, but lowered inhibitions are a commonly experienced outcome. For some, this may allow repressed anger to bleed through a person’s typical restraint.
Some people use alcohol as a coping mechanism to avoid painful feelings or thoughts. Blaming others for those troubles may follow, as this also helps your loved one avoid accepting responsibility. Anger is often easier to observe than other emotions, so that it might be masking different emotional responses to mental or physical trauma or other issues.
Chemical changes in the brain occur with alcohol consumption that disrupts the normal regulation of feel-good chemicals and pain responses. As a person comes down from the alcohol high, he’s hit with a wave of discomfort that can lead to more alcohol use to deal with the feelings—developing a perpetuating cycle of anger and substance abuse.
When people feel judged for their drinking, they may lash out. It’s often difficult to see when you have a problem with alcohol yourself, so as friends and loved ones start pointing this out, it may come across as nagging or overreacting.
How Should You Approach Someone with Alcoholism and Anger Issues?
There’s no easy way to confront a person about alcoholism, but keeping these guidelines in mind can help you stick to your game plan.
- Talk about it when he is sober.
- Have the discussion shortly after negative consequences of drinking have been experienced.
- Approach the conversation from a non-judgmental place of love and concern. Avoid lecturing.
- If an argument breaks out, don’t take it personally. Denial and anger are common responses. Take a break and resume the conversation once everyone has cooled down.
- Offer to help your loved one find treatment for alcoholism and other issues like anxiety or depression that could be complicating matters.
Don’t Let Someone’s Anger and Alcohol Dependence Consume You.
It’s easy to get caught up in concern over your loved one’s issues. But you need to remember to take care of yourself, too! Make sure you’re appropriately managing your own responses. Anger and resentment can enable further issues with problem drinking.
Take advantage of support systems in your area. Al-Anon for family members can provide educational materials and counseling for those dealing with an alcoholic in their lives.
Treatment for Alcohol and Anger Issues in Palmdale, CA
If you’ve tried addressing the issue with your loved one without success, it might be time to stage an intervention. Cycles of Change Recovery Services in Palmdale, CA, has skilled interventionists that can help.
We expose clients to various therapeutic techniques—including 12-step programs, music therapy, and more—according to the individual’s specific needs. Family therapy is often an integral part of healing both the individual and those around him.
Talk to one of our compassionate, experienced professionals today about how we can help your loved one recover from alcohol addiction.