Drinking Alcohol and Bad Behaviors

Intoxicated people have much greater control over their behavior than generally recognized. For example, in those societies in which people don't believe that alcohol causes disinhibition, intoxication never leads to unacceptable behavior. 1

Research in the US has found that when males are falsely led to believe that they have been drinking alcohol, they tend to become more aggressive. And when men and women falsely believe that they have been drinking alcohol, they experience greater sexual arousal when watching erotica.

So it isn't simply a case of "the alcohol made me do it." Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario asked volunteers to press a button when prompted by a computer screen. They were also instructed not to press it if a red light also appeared. Those who were given alcohol were more likely to press the button in spite of the red light, just as a drunk is more likely to punch someone even if told to stop.

However, when drinkers were offered a small reward, they performed as well as sober volunteers. The researchers conclude that people who have been drinking can control their behavior if they want to. 2

People around the world can control their behavior when drunk. The Lepcha people of the Himalayas tend to become sexually promiscuous when intoxicated...that behavior is acceptable when drunk. But violation of the incest taboo(which extends very far and is highly complex) leads to punishment by certain death. No matter how drunk they become and how promiscuous they behave, they never violate that complex taboo. It's simple......they don't want to be executed and suffer a painful death so they control their behavior no matter how drunk they become. 3

Because alcohol doesn't cause bad behavior it isn't a legitimate excuse for such behavior.

In short, bad behavior isn't the fault of the alcohol but of the person.


  • 1. MacAndrew, C., and Edgerton R. Drunken Comportment: A Social Explanation. Chicago, Illinois: Aldine, 1969.
  • 2. Grattan, K. E., and Vogel-Sprott, M. Neurobiological, behavioral, and environmental relations to drinking - maintaining intentional control of behavior under alcohol, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, 2001, 25(2), 192-197.
  • 3. MacAndrew, C., and Edgerton, R. Drunken Comportment: A Social Explanation. Chicago, Illinois: Aldine, 1969.

Filed Under: Alcohol Abuse