Why is it that a pleasant evening with our partner, whether it’s a cosy night in or a romantic meal out, can sometimes end in an argument when we drink?
The effect of alcohol on our mood
Alcohol affects the brain causing lower inhibitions, which makes us feel more confident. But lower inhibitions can also make us say or do something that we may come to regret. And this can lead to arguments.
Also, because alcohol interferes with the brain, reducing our ability to think straight or act rationally, it can cause some people to become angry. Evidence shows that while alcohol may not always be the direct cause of a person’s aggressive behaviour, it is often a contributing factor, and some people even become violent.1,2
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Alcohol and its effect on relationships
Sometimes alcohol can be used as an excuse for bad behaviour, but finding that you frequently argue with your partner when you get drunk, could reveal underlying problems with your relationship.
If alcohol is affecting your relationship, the best time to address it is when you are both sober.
If you both drink, it is helpful to be supportive of each other, and say things like: “Why don't we try to cut down together?” Then you can both motivate one another. You might also want to agree how you will both help each other do this, for example, by making a pact that you will set yourselves a limit.
Remember that others could be affected by your drinking and arguments, such as family members, and particularly children.
If only one of you drinks, then that person needs to accept their drinking is causing a problem in the relationship before you can begin to deal with the issues it’s causing.