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Here are the feelings you get when drinking wine, beer or hard liquor

By AGGREY OMBOKI December 22nd, 2017 3 min read

Drinking hard alcohol will make you experience the strongest emotions while wine and beer will leave you relaxed.

For those who plan to enjoy drinks over the festive season, you may have realized that a glass of wine puts you to sleep but hard drinks energise you.

Researchers working on the Global Drug Survey reported these findings after interviewing 30,000 young adults, aged between 21 and 34 years, from 21 countries.

The scientists sought to establish how the respondents felt after drinking alcohol.


Each person interviewed had drunk all the types of alcohol studied—including spirits, beer, and red and white wine— in the 12 months before the study.

Data from the survey published in online journal ResearchGate on November 21, 2017 show that respondents reported different reactions depending on the type of alcohol consumed.

“This study allowed us to get a fuller picture of the ups and downs people get from drinking, which drinks are linked with which emotions, and which groups are most at risk from some of the most concerning outcomes, such as feeling aggressive,” says Mark Bellis, lead researcher and director of policy and international development at Wales Public Health, UK.

Study findings showed that spirits were most strongly associated with feelings of being energised, confident, and sexy.

On the flipside, they were also connected with feeling aggressive, ill, restless, and tearful.

Red wine was most strongly associated with feeling relaxed, but also tired.


Beer was associated with feeling relaxed and confident although it was also associated with high levels of feeling tired.

This means the two types are likely to make the consumer feel sleepy.

The survey also found that heavy drinkers more commonly reported energy and confidence from drinking, but the negative emotions were also high in this group.

In the heaviest drinking group, over 60 percent reported feeling aggressive.

Bellis says part of the reason why people take alcohol is an attempt to achieve emotional satisfaction through better moods and emotions.

“For people to make informed choices about how much to drink, they need to understand the negative as well as the positive emotional changes that come with drinking,” he says.

According to the scientist, many factors may link different drinks to different emotional outcomes.

“Spirits are often consumed more quickly and have much higher concentrations of alcohol in them, which can result in a quicker stimulating effect as blood alcohol levels increase,” he says.


“People may also be drinking them deliberately to feel the drunken effect quickly, while other types of drink are more likely to be consumed slowly or with food.”

Bellis points out that there are other compounds apart from alcohol in different drinks.

“Although these compounds are part of the difference in taste between drinks, little consideration has been given to what other effects they may have on the drinker,” the researcher says.

“A person’s expectations about the feelings they will have when drinking may also play a part in what they experience but this can also present a health risk. For instance, our results suggest that people who are heavier drinkers may be relying on certain drinks for energy and confidence, but heavier drinkers are also much more likely to report negative emotions as well.”

Women tended to report higher levels of all emotional responses after drinking, with the exception of feeling aggressive, which was higher in men, according to the survey results.


Bellis says despite intense advertising campaigns that seem to promote the guarantee of good emotional experiences from alcohol consumption, it was important for drinkers to understand the adverse effects of consuming these products.

“There is plenty of promotional material that pushes the positive emotions people might look for from drinking, but it is important to understand the negative ones as well,” he says.

“If people are to make informed decisions about their drinking, they need to know the full picture of how alcohol affects moods and emotions.”

He says the study findings are an important milestone in efforts to understand how alcohol affects the human mind.

“We hope this work will help fill a gap in understanding alcohol’s effects. Health professionals have often focused on links between alcohol and cancer, liver disease, and cardiovascular disease but the emotional side of drinking is another important aspect to consider when trying to tackle alcohol related harms.”