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Alcohol Use and Violence

Alcohol consumption is more closely associated with violent behavior than any other substance.[1] In fact, severe alcohol intoxication—by the perpetrator, victim, or both—plays a part in nearly half of all violent crimes and sexual assaults.[2]

As indicated above, intoxication alone does not cause violence, but it may increase the likelihood for violent behavior in some individuals. Researchers have a few theories, including:[3][4][5]

1. The disinhibition hypothesis. Alcohol encourages people to engage in behaviors they would typically suppress, like aggression. This is because alcohol disrupts normal brain function and consequently weakens the areas that control impulses and urges.

2. Alcohol myopia. An intoxicated individual’s focus narrows like a camera lens, only bringing a small frame into focus. For some, this narrowed view leads to misperception. A bump in a bar, for instance, may be perceived as an act of hostility.

3. Cognitive function impairment. Alcohol interrupts cognitive processing, making it difficult to problem-solve, control anger, and make good decisions—all of which influence how an individual responds to a situation.

4. The consideration of future consequences. Research indicates that individuals who ignore future consequences and focus on the here-and-now are more aggressive when intoxicated.

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(c) 2021 Christopher Meyer Law Firm, PLLC All Rights Reserved The information on this video is for general information, entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney client relationship Please call (281) 845-2472 if you have any questions about this disclaimer.

CITATION: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No. 38 October 1997

[1] Ärzteblatt, D. Ä. G., Redaktion Deutsches. Alcohol-Related Aggression (18.10.2013). Deutsches Ärzteblatt. [2]Ärzteblatt, D. Ä. G., Redaktion Deutsches. Alcohol-Related Aggression (18.10.2013). Deutsches Ärzteblatt. [3]Ilgen, Mark, Ph.D., Kleinberg, Felicia, M.S.W. (January 20, 2011). The Link Between Substance Abuse, Violence, and Suicide. Psychiatric Times, 28(1). [4]Topper, Stephen M., Aguilar, Viktoria Y., Elbel, Erin, and Pierce-Shimomura, Jonathan T. (2014). Alcohol Disinhibition of Behaviors in elegans. Plos One. [5]Bushman, Brad J., Ph.D., Giancola, Peter R., Ph.D., Parrott, Dominic J., Ph.D., and Roth, Robert M., Ph.D. (2012). Failure to Consider Future Consequences Increases the Effects of Alcohol on Aggression. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(2), 591-595.

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