, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 53-60

Alcohol, affect, and the disinhibition of verbal behavior

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Abstract

A study was conducted to investigate the effects of acute alcohol administration on affective states and verbal behavior during the ascending and descending limbs of the blood alcohol curve. Sixteen male social drinkers were given alcohol (1.0 g/kg) or placebo in a double-blind crossover research design. Subjects tested while blood alcohol levels (BAL) were ascending close to peak concentration (0.11 g%) described themselves as more elated, friendly, and vigorous than when tested under placebo conditions. As BAL declined, subjects described themselves as more angry, depressed, and fatigued. Cognitive confusion, hostile verbal interaction, and aggressive thematic content were also greater during alcohol intoxication, but these measures were unrelated to direction of change in the BAL curve. It was concluded that (1) the effects of alcohol on affect are biphasic and are closely related to direction of change in the BAL curve, (2) the disinhibition of certain types of verbal behavior is related neither to affective state or to direction of the BAL curve, and (3) the perception of cognitive disorientation may mediate the effects of alcohol on those behaviors normally suppressed by various controlling influences.