Published: Thu, November 23, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Bangor University study reveals different emotional responses to alcohol

Bangor University study reveals different emotional responses to alcohol

The researchers from King's College London have conducted this research, which is to understand what are the effects of different types of alcohol on different people. Save the spirits for days you need to boost confidence or need to feel sexy, suggests the largest ever study examining how different alcoholic drinks affect emotions.

Bellis: The final study population was just under 30,000 people aged 18-34 year from 21 different countries.

Findings indicated that spirits, for instance, are most likely to make you feel negative emotions ranging from aggression to sadness. In addition, self-reported data are only as good as a participant's memory, and the survey didn't ask how quickly they were drinking, what their moods were like before they took the first sip, or if there was something like dancing or drugs involved that may have changed the overall experience. Men also said that under the influence of alcohol feel more attractive to women.

For people drinking red wine, more drinkers said they felt relaxed, with 53% of respondents saying they felt this way, and 60% of people saying they felt exhausted after drinking.

Co-author Professor Mark Bellis, who is also Public Health Wales' director of policy, research and worldwide development, said: "For centuries, the history of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits has been laced with violence".

According to research by Public Health Wales, spirits such as vodka, gin, whisky or rum are more likely to draw out negative feelings than all the other types of booze.

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However, spirits are also more likely to elicit happiness in comparison with beer or wine.

Strong spirits (like vodka, gin, or whiskey) made people feel energized (58% of people), confident (59%) and sexy (42%). Red wine (unsurprisingly) made over 60% of respondents feel sleepy, compared to only 39% for beer, the next highest category. And beer followed closely behind in second place. The emotions noted in the study include feeling energised, relaxed, sexy, confident, tired, aggressive, ill, restless, and tearful. "This study highlights the importance of understanding why people choose to drink certain alcoholic drinks and what effect they expect these drinks will have on them", UK charity Drinkaware's John Larsen tells HuffPost UK. But men were significantly more likely to associate feelings of aggression with all types of alcohol, as were those categorised as heavy or dependent drinkers, who were six times more likely to do so than low risk drinkers.

"Young people will often drink spirits on a night out, whereas wine might be drunk more at home, with a meal", he says.

Bellis said that it makes sense that different types of drinks would work differently on the brain and emotions, given how alcohol levels vary. It may be due to the nature of the drink, such as different ingredients, alcohol content, and the amounts consumed. This can result in a quicker stimulating effect as blood alcohol levels increase.

The study's authors ensured that all respondents had reported drinking all types of alcohol included in the analysis over the past 12 months in order to make for a fair comparison.

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