A massive scientific study has lent support to a theory you may have suspected long ago: different types of alcohol really can impact our mood in different ways. And if the idea had never before crossed your mind? Well, maybe that angry outburst outside Wetherspoons in 2009, or all that crying in the club, will now make sense.
The study of nearly 30,000 people aged 18-34 from 21 different countries, published in the journal BMJ Open, links spirits to feeling angry, sexy or tearful; while red wine and beer were more closely linked to feeling relaxed.
All respondents drank beer, wine and spirits and were asked to list the feelings associated with them when at home or when out. There were a range of positive and negative emotions to choose from: energised, relaxed, sexy, confident, tired, aggressive, ill, restless and tearful.
Red wine was found to make people feel more lethargic than white wine and, like beer, was strongly linked to feeling relaxed. Spirits were linked to sexiness, with 40% saying spirits made them feel sexy, and over half saying spirits gave them energy and confidence (hello, pre-night-out G&Ts!).
On the less positive side, a third of people also said they felt aggressive when drinking spirits and spirits were more likely to be linked to illness, restlessness and tearfulness, so it's probably worth working out which side of the spectrum you land.
In general, men were more likely to associate aggression with all types of alcohol and younger people (ages 18-24) had the strongest associations between all alcohol and confidence, energy and sexiness when drinking away from home (which may explain the carnage of university freshers' week).
Depending on your past (bad) experiences, these findings may not be news and they unfortunately don't explain why particular kinds of alcohol are linked to different emotions. Or they may explain a whole lot in your life and make you rethink your tipple of choice – could it be worth swapping a first-date G&T for a glass of red to calm the nerves and reduce the chance of an angry tirade, for instance?
The results could also have some important implications for dealing with problem drinking in society. “Understanding emotions associated with alcohol consumption is imperative to addressing alcohol misuse, providing insight into what emotions influence drink choice between different groups in the population,” they researchers concluded.
Professor Mark Bellis, one of the co-authors, said: “For centuries, the history of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits has been laced with violence. This global study suggests even today consuming spirits is more likely to result in feelings of aggression than other drinks," reported HuffPost UK.
“In the UK, a litre of off-licence spirits can easily be bought for £15 or less, making a double shot only 75p. Such prices can encourage consumption at levels harmful to the health of the drinker and through violence and injuries also represent a risk to the people around them.”
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