Booze Mythology (part 2)

Different Kinds of Drunks

Remember the old sayings that “Gin makes me angry” and “Rum makes me mellow” and “Tequila makes me wild”.  Is there any truth behind them?  Not really.  It’s simply the amount you drink and in what order you do it (see above).  Of course, there is no scientific way to prove or disapprove except by looking at the field of psychology and the study of sensory and memory.  Our memory and senses are strong forces when it comes to recalling pleasurable or traumatic events in our lives.  Our sense of smell and taste can evoke many memories, good or bad.  Smelling or tasting a cocktail can bring us back to a time and place.  I remember drinking rum punch on a catamaran in Cozumel, Mexico while on vacation, which was a happy time in my life.  That’s why I associate rum with relaxation and sun and fun.  Scotch, on the other hand, makes me physically sick because the last time I drank it I came down with the horrific stomach flu on New Year’s Eve.

Another possibility lies in the byproducts of distilled and fermented beverages called congeners, which include acetone, esters, aldehydes, and other types of alcohol.  These aren’t very good for you, but essential in the distillation process.  The same goes for preservatives in food and drinks which can give people headaches.  Without them, spirits would not have the well rounded and distinctive taste they need.  Different toxins or chemicals affect people differently.  Juniper berries in gin or rye in whiskey or agave in tequila all can affect our physiology.  Our physical makeup cannot be denied and we can all have specific physical reactions to chemical products.

In Vino Veritas

Translated from Latin, it means “In wine, truth”.  This is one of the oldest alcohol legends that originates from Pliny the Elder, born in 23 AD.  The belief was that it was much harder to lie when drunk and that the truth will come out.

Dr. Thomas Kimball, who is the associate managing director of Texas Tech’s Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery, told Forbes Magazine that alcohol certainly lowers people’s inhibitions, and that excessive drinking and/or drug use may increase the risk of violence and engaging in sexual activity that you would otherwise wouldn’t do.

Does that mean we are all violent in our hearts? Dr. Kimball doesn’t think so.  He thinks that it increases your risk to go against your own moral code.  Is that your true self? No.  I would say that’s your drunk self.  The science doesn’t support this assertion, but its common sense.  We all have seen people act terribly or do bad things when drunk.  Does that mean that they are bad people and just mask it by putting on a façade? No.  Alcohol can make you do a lot of stupid things that you usually regret in the morning.  It has been proven that alcohol can affect the brain, including the hippocampus, the part that’s mainly associated with memory.  Have you ever heard people blacking out?  Drinking alcohol causes one to forget their true self and become someone you want to forget, at least from others point of view.

If you’re the type of person who gets aggressive when you had too much to drink, one study says that you shouldn’t blame it on the alcohol.  Chances are, you lack a trait that disallows you the concept of future consequences.  A recent study conducted at the University of Kentucky by professors from the psychology departments of Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, and Georgia State University, and professor of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School in 2012 suggests that aggressive actions some people exhibit while intoxicated are linked to a character trait more than anything else.  The study comprised of 500 participants over the course of a year with the average age being 23.

The study goes on to say that people who tend to focus on the future are not very aggressive.  It doesn’t really matter if they’re drunk or sober.  Whereas people who focus on the present, they’re more aggressive than others, but especially when they’re intoxicated.  The combination of alcohol and the inability to control one’s impulses is a double whammy.  If you’re the kind of person that thinks about the here-and-now, you should avoid drinking alcohol in situations that could lead to fights or aggression, especially if you are in the presence of someone who despise.  If you know someone like that then you should avoid them when you’re drunk.

Both alcohol intoxication and the failure to consider future consequences are related to cognitive functioning, which controls the ability to reason and make good judgments.  Alcohol pretty much disables that functioning.  People who are aggressive will tend to be aggressive when they’re drunk.  In other words, a generally happy person to begin with will be a happy drunk demonstrating that alcohol enhances whatever feeling you have at the time.

Some people say that the way you act when you’re drunk is a reflection of your true personality. Your partially repressed parts of your booze-disabled brain surfacing is inevitable.  Whether that’s totally accurate, or 90% accurate and really hard to admit, one thing is for sure – anyone who drinks has a drunk personality type even after one drink.  Your drunk personality may just be a louder, more naked, and less funny version of sober-you.  Or maybe you’ve got some intense Jekyll and Hyde stuff going on.  Either way – your drunk personality emerges when you’re inebriated and it’s the true part of your drunken self.