Different Alcohol Types Have Different Effects On Your Mood

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According to new research, different types of alcohol can affect your mood in varying ways.

A study of 30,000 18 to 34-year-olds from 21 countries has found that we do indeed have different emotional responses to different alcohol types.

The study drew on data gathered by the Global Drug Survey, an independent research organisation, which runs annual self-funded surveys. Less than 1 in 5 (19 per cent) beer drinkers reported similar feelings.

According to the researchers, drinks with a higher concentration of alcohol will give a feel of aggression to the consumer.

"For centuries the history of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits has been laced with violence", says study co-author Mark Bellis, from the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.

That heightened feeling of emotion brought on by liquor has a dark side: 30% of respondents said liquor made them feel more aggressive.

Red wine was the most likely to elicit this feeling (just under 53 per cent) followed by beer (around 50 per cent).

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However, while red wine drinkers reported the highest level of tiredness, over half of all respondents associated drinking spirits with emotions of energy and confidence. Almost a third (30 per cent) of spirit drinkers associated the drink with feelings of aggression compared with around 2.5 per cent of red wine drinkers. They answered a series of questions about alcohol, in particular how much they eat, what drinks I prefer, and what do you feel after eating.

The head of the research group made a decision to prove that the behavior of a drunken man changes not at random, but under the influence of a particular drink, which he uses at this moment.

Spirits were, however, the least likely to be associated with feeling relaxed. And 59 per cent of spirit drinkers reported feelings of confidence compared to 45 per cent of beer drinkers and just over a quarter of wine drinkers.

Many drinkers claim to feel teary after a G&T, or unusually aggressive after a dram of whisky - but researchers now say they have found new evidence to suggest different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses. "These expectations and motivations for drinking will influence how people actually behave when they have been drinking, and may in some situations lead people to drink at levels likely to cause them harm".

Advertising "pushes the positive emotions people might look for from drinking, but it is important to understand the negative ones as well", said researcher Mark Bellis. This can result in a quicker stimulating effect as blood alcohol levels increase.

The study is published as the Scottish government announced it will introduce minimum pricing for alcohol on 1 May next year in a bid to combat binge drinking.

Furthermore, the study does point out some of its limitations: We don't know, for example, how much of the effects were due to the drinks themselves versus the contexts in which the drinks were consumed (did social situations change anything?), or whether someone's expectations of what would happen to them when they drank a specific beverage had anything to do with what they felt after drinking it.