Thumbnail photo of Are Your Friends Making You Seem More Drunk Than You Appear?

I’m Not Drunk, You’re Drunk: Blaming It On The Booze

Traditionally, when we think of us drinking and becoming intoxicated with friends, we can imagine our behavior changing as we loosen our inhibitions. For this reason, it is common to associate drinking with changes in behavior. Some people even go as far as adopting an alter ego, or another persona that can give them confidence, or a more fun-loving personality.

Recently, however, some of the myths surrounding alcohol and behavior emerged, proving many to be wrong. Some drinkers go as far as acting in obnoxious ways and testing their own limits, then blaming it on their drinking. Turns out, this may be dependent on certain factors.

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Perception Of Drunkenness Depends On Friends, Study Affirms

A Medical Express study confirmed our judgement of how we act when drunk depends on who we are with at the time of intoxication. The study further mentioned, “when drunk and surrounded by other drinkers”, people’s judgement of their own intoxication and risks depend on who they drink with. This means someone who drank a large amount of alcohol could perceive themselves as “less drunk” than they actually were. Furthermore, the risks involving alcohol could be minimized when they were around drunk people; but when surrounded by sober people, they felt more at risk for alcohol-related injuries or side effects.

This can be challenging. For example, someone could drive under the influence of alcohol, believing they are capable of doing so because their friends were sober. Someone who drank a small amount can have friends who are more drunk telling them they are more intoxicated than they are in reality if the friends are intoxicated.

More Studies Can Be Helpful In Curbing Excess Drinking

There are plans to experiment and test these cases in hopes to reduce unnecessary drinking. Experts are hoping studies will “reduce the number of drunk people or increase the number of people who are sober.” This contrasts previous studies that only received a limited amount of information based on the participants, due to being sober and drinking in “non-drinking” environments. Furthermore, participants believed if they watched people drink, and felt they were more drunk than the observer, the observer felt “less at risk for drinking.”

The test surveyed a sum of 1,862 intoxicated individual’s blood alcohol content in 4 different locations. Both men and women were divided according to gender in order to make the test results more organized. Observers who participated in the study were asked how drunk they felt. Participants were asked other questions resulting in their self-perception, concluding they felt more drunk.

The Importance Of Knowing Your Limit

The impact of perception of drunkenness depending on one’s friend circle can have an interesting impact on drinking. Hence, by people seeing others drink more, or believing people are highly intoxicated, they, in turn may drink less. An article by the Atlantic notes several actions people can take to enjoy alcohol moderately, as well as:

  • Identifying alcohol-related expectations (how do we think people feel when we drink?)
  • Knowing how alcohol truly impacts us
  • Understand how the alcohol’s positive effects can impact your outlook on drinking
  • Enjoy drinking without alcohol (mocktails, sodas)
  • Drink a safe amount of alcohol 

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Understanding your limits can protect you from drinking too much and exposing yourself to risks. If you or a friend struggles with drinking, or has experienced alcohol-related injuries or risks, consider getting treatment for alcohol abuse. Contact a treatment provider.

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