Have you ever been in a situation where your friend blurted out their frustrations with you after having a few drinks?

You may have wondered if their drunk opinion of you is indicative of their sober feelings as well. After all, alcohol is commonly thought to give people the confidence to say what they’ve been hiding while sober.

In this article, we aim to help you understand the effects of alcohol on the brain and where the truth fits in.

Additionally, we’ll provide you with tips on how to cope with hurtful words after they’ve been said, as well as how to move forward.

Conversely, if you’re the one who said something unintentionally hurtful, you’ll find tips for overcoming that interaction in a respectful manner. Let’s begin!

Are Drunk Words Sober Thoughts?

Yes — and no.

Alcohol can inhibit the brain from functioning normally. This may be observed in drunk speech patterns, word choice, and behavior.

However, alcohol is also known to reduce or remove intellectual defenses or inhibitions that are hard to maintain while drunk.

It is important to remember nuance and context when discussing whether or not drunk words are sober thoughts.

How Alcohol Affects the Brain

Alcohol is classified as a neurotoxin or a substance that is particularly harmful to the structures of the brain.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health, there is no established amount of alcohol that is considered safe or without risk.

This organization has also developed a “Your Brain on Alcohol” simulation which shows the viewer how alcohol can alter reality.

The brain is made up of cells or neurons that communicate with each other regularly. These cells are always working, so they require a great deal of energy.

Neurons form networks of communication that allow humans to have complex thoughts, emotions, and actions. However, alcohol can interfere with the way these cells communicate — subsequently impairing normal thinking.

Alcohol’s Effect on Behavior: Why People Talk More When Drunk

People talk more when they’re drunk because of how they see themselves.

According to a paper published in 2017, the personality changes were more obvious to the drunk people than to their observers.

However, the drunk people were noted to be more extroverted overall.

Interestingly, drunk people seem to be more creative according to Harvard Business Review — which could have effects on their improved language abilities.

This is either due to a loss of focus which enables other parts of the brain to become more active, or to an increase in confidence caused by a lack of inhibition.

Do People Speak The Truth When They Are Drunk?

Although you may not want to take a drunk person’s words at face value, there may be some truth to it.

The cerebral cortex (the decision-making center of the brain) is significantly disrupted by alcohol. This disruption can be displayed as giggling, funny dance moves, or other innocent quirks.

However, some people display more troubling behaviors such as argumentativeness. These actions should not be counted toward an individual’s personality, but they may indicate deeper feelings.

Alcohol can cause suppressed feelings to resurface and slip past the inhibition parts of the brain.

Once the alcohol has worn off, it may be beneficial to discuss what was said. Whether it is true or not, it’s important to talk about the drunk conversation to clear up any confusion.

Coping with the Aftermath of Drunk Words

Now that the drunk words have been said, what are the next steps? How might you approach a conversation about sobriety and hurting a person that you care for?

You may want to consider incorporating these 8 points into your approach:

Reflect on the situation

If you are the person who said the drunk words, you may want to consider if your words have any truth to them.

However, just because something is the truth does not mean that it can be said without tact. Avoid becoming defensive with the other person even if it is the truth, as sensitive subjects should always be talked about soberly and in a caring way.

If you are a person on the receiving end of the drunk words, consider how they made you feel.

Identify emotions that are revealed as a result of the words and what they could mean for you if they are true. Also, take as much time as you need away from the person who said the hurtful or shocking words.

Apologize if necessary

Sincere apologies put the needs and emotions of the other person before your own.

Identify what you’ve done and how you intend to prevent this from happening again, and listen to the other person. Only apologize if you are certain that you will not do something like this again.

Learn from the experience

An experience with alcohol can tell you a lot about your relationship with substances.

You may also become aware of suppressed feelings during your outburst that may be worth exploring with a therapist or trusted people in your life.

Communicate openly with affected parties

You may want to reach out to those you’ve hurt and let them know that you are ashamed of the drunk interaction. If these individuals do not want to talk to you yet, allow them to have space until they are ready to have a discussion.

Seek forgiveness

Seek forgiveness, but do not expect it. Forgiveness is earned over a series of positive actions that show empathy to those you’ve hurt.

Also, remember that forgiveness should be extended to yourself. People make mistakes, but there is always an opportunity to do better.

Take responsibility for your actions

As mentioned before, do not defend your actions. Instead, clearly state what you did and why it was wrong.

Taking ownership of your actions shows the people that you’ve hurt that you fully understand the situation and intend to make it right.

For example, say, “I hurt you when I said  _____. I should not have acted that way. I need to reevaluate my relationship with alcohol to show you that I will treat you with respect going forward.”

Consider professional help or counseling

If this behavior is habitual and has created social strain in your life, consider professional help or counseling.

There are hundreds of fantastic psychologists who specialize in treating people experiencing a complex relationship with alcohol. Asking for help is very normal and is a terrific step toward healing.

Avoid excessive drinking in the future

Drinking socially can be an enjoyable experience, but it is important to stay within your tolerance at all times. If you find that it is difficult to stop drinking once you have started, it is possible that social drinking does not have a positive effect on your life.

Conclusion

Drunk words can feel more truthful because of the confidence boost that alcohol provides, but that is just one piece of the puzzle that contributes to any drunken behavior.

If you have been hurt by drunk words, you are not alone. It is important to remember that while a person may not act normally while they’re drunk, it is their responsibility to treat you respectfully no matter what.

Additionally, it is your right to walk away at any moment you want.

Overall, drunk words are not necessarily sober thoughts. Alcohol can be fun in social contexts, but it is important to check in with yourself and your loved ones if drinking has increased or become unmanageable.

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