How Alcohol May Affect Human Behaviour
4. A young man started behaving in an aggressive and abusive manner after he
had a number of alcoholic drinks at a party. The next day he was behaving quite
normally and was quite concerned when shown a video of his behaviour the
previous night. Explain how alcohol may affect human behaviour.
Australian industry loses more than one billion dollars a year because of
sickness caused by alcohol.
Alcohol plays a part in more than 50% of serious crimes in Australia. In
violent crimes it plays an even bigger part: more than 75% of them are linked to
About half of the people killed in road accidents are killed because
somebody has drunk to much.
Effects of alcohol on human behaviour
From the above facts it is clear that alcohol has a major impact on the lives of
Australians. This is particularly more so because it is not illegal and because
it is so widely used.
The effects of alcohol on a individual’s body vary according to: (2)
with the amount consumed.
the way the alcohol is taken.
the individual’s body (size weight, health).
the individual’s experience.
the individual’s mood.
the circumstance in which alcohol is consumed (with food, in a social
gathering, with other drugs etc.)
The immediate effects of alcohol on an individual varies but can produce a wide
range of effects including: (2)
Loss of inhibitions.
Flushing and dizziness.
General impairment of brain and nervous system functions.
General loss of co-ordination.
Impairment of motor (movement) skills.
Blurred vision and slurred speech.
General impairment of senses (e.g. touch, sight, speech, etc.)
Children and young people are usually more affected by alcohol than adults. This
is because of their lower body weight and lack of tolerance.
The disturbing aspect is that one is not generally aware of these changes.
Instead, the individual think’s he/she is behaving more efficiently than normal.
In fact, performance is much poorer.
In relation to Topic (4) the change in behaviour in the young man at the party
following a number of alcoholic drinks can now be explained. As shown above
young people are generally more affected by alcohol than adults. The loss of
inhibitions and aggressive behaviour can by typical changes after alcohol
It is not surprising that when shown a video of his behaviour the previous night
that he was quite concerned about his aggressive behaviour. Again as mentioned
previously one of the effects of alcohol is that one is unaware of the changes
As the young man was behaving normally the following day he did not have a
hangover. A hangover is a body’s reaction to being poisoned by alcohol and
partly the body’s withdrawal.(1) A hangover does not usually follow the
consumption of small amounts of alcohol.
(1) Drug and Alcohol Services Council, Alcohol’, 1990. Information Sheet
Number 8, October 1990
(2) Commonwealth Department of Health, Alcohol’, 1986. The drug offensive, A
Federal and state initiative, 1986Outlines of sources consulted
Drug and Alcohol Services Council, Alcohol’, 1990. Information Sheet Number 8,
October 1990 This information sheet provides brief general information on
alcohol, its dangers, its effects and use. It also lists problems caused by
alcohol to some key body organs. This an informative handout and as such does
not, and indeed, I believe, should not provide detailed statistics on the
matters raised. It is useful that a further information contact point is
provided for further information on this drug.
Commonwealth Department of Health, Alcohol’, 1986. The drug offensive, A
Federal and state initiative, 1986 This is an information sheet arising from the
The Drug Offensive’, which is a Federal-funded program. This provides general
information about the source of alcohol, some statistics on the drinking habits
of Australians and the interation of this drug with the law and sociaty. The
effects both intermidate and long term are addressed in some detail.
Considerable detail is provided on the definition and calculation of that
perameter. The information sheet concludes with a short Alcohol quiz’. Whilst
some of the statistics provided on the alcohol content of some of the drinks is
useful, this detracts from the main message of this newsletter which is about
that alcohol is a drug and has dependance and bad effects on society. In
addition the quiz at the end is unnecessary and makes it unduly long.
Gibbons, Boyd, 1992Alcohol’. National geographic, Vol 181, No.2 3-35 This
article talks about the effect of alcohol on families, the treatment of
alcoholics, effects of alcohol on the body and mind, the attitudes of alcohol
from different social backgrounds and stories of alcoholic events/experiences.