Drinking Spirits Makes You A More Aggressive Drunk, Study Finds


Christmas is around the corner and most of us have already started stocking our shelves with plenty of booze, ready for the festive season.

It’s always been known alcohol can dramatically change a person, in some cases, seriously affecting their emotions.

However, a team of researchers have now determined what type of alcohol will leave you merry and which ones will leave you miserable.


The international survey which was published in the journal BMJ Open revealed red wine is in fact, the most commonly linked to relaxation and tiredness while spirits are often associated with feeling energetic, confident and sexy… as well as angry and tearful.

30,000 people, from 21 different countries across the world, aged between 18 and 34, answered an anonymous online questionnaire, which demonstrated how certain types of alcohol are linked to particular emotions.

The people surveyed had all consumed both red and white wine as well as beer and spirits in the past year.


Around 53 per cent of the participants said drinking red wine made them feel relaxed whereas, by contrast, 59 per cent said consuming spirits were linked to feelings of confidence.

However the consumption of spirits was also linked to negative feelings, with 30 per cent of the participants saying it led them to aggression and 48 per cent saying drinking these tipples made them feel ill.

On the other hand, 60 per cent said red wine made them feel tired.


Co-author of the study, Mark Bellis, from Public Health Wales NHS Trust, said although the reasons for the links are likely to be complex and need further investigating, he hopes the research will encourage people to think about the alcohol they consume.

As reported by The Guardian, he said:

From a public health perspective a lot of the time we have focused on issues around cancer, heart disease and liver disease – but an important aspect is the balance of emotional outcomes that people are getting from alcohol.

By and large spirits are having a stronger relationship in pretty well all of the outcomes – apart from those associated with red wine, around relaxation and tiredness.

The research also showed women are more likely to report feeling various emotions after drinking alcohol while men are more likely to feel aggressive.


Age, educational background and sex were all considered in the survey but overall, the heavier the drinking, the higher the reporting of emotions.

The study also found feelings of relaxation and tiredness were linked to drinking at home whereas confidence, sexiness, energy and aggression were more likely to be felt when the person was out.

Of course the study has its limitations especially since it drew on a self-selecting group of people and did not take into account whether they mixed their drinks or how much they drank on any one occasion.


However, many in the field believe the results from the study are valuable and agree with the authors how more research needs to be done into what links different drinks with certain emotions.

Matt Field, professor of psychology at the University of Liverpool, who was not involved in the research, said there are still plenty of questions to be answered:

Because it’s a cross-sectional snapshot there are a lot of things that might explain it.

It could be that people who are more prone to aggression after alcohol might favour spirits for reasons that we don’t know.

Please remember to drink alcohol responsibly.