Why Do We Get Emotional When We Drink Alcohol?

Alcohol can evoke varied emotions in different people. Some feel elation and euphoria, some become emotional and expressive, and some become rather reckless and uncontrolled. Alcohol affects our brain activity and changes our rational way of thinking. When we are under the influence of alcohol, our emotions, which we normally tend to keep firmly protected in soberness, get let loose and sometimes out of control.

Alcohol takes us away from actuality – for the time being. If you become over emotional after drinking, it is an indication that you have been bottling up a lot of your feelings and that you have now found a sort of vent.

Alcohol gets absorbed in to the blood via the stomach lining. When you drink, alcohol enters the GI tract and goes to the stomach; from the stomach lining it goes in to the bloodstream. When you consume alcohol on an empty stomach, the rate of absorption is more than if you consume alcohol after a meal.

Alcohol then gets dissolved in the water component of blood and circulates through the blood and reaches various organs of the body, before being eliminated by the liver in the form of water and carbon dioxide.

Before it gets sluiced out though, alcohol crosses the blood brain barrier, and directly enters the brain.

What Are The Effects Of Alcohol On The Brain?

The brain gets extraordinarily affected by the circulating alcohol. It acts as a depressant on the brain and slows down the working of the central nervous system – thus causing a loss of motor skills, delay in response time, reduced intellect, and a diminution of the reasoning ability.

The circulating alcohol gets to the blood brain barrier and crosses over. It then settles on the outermost layer of the brain – i.e. the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex processes sensory data, and has control over our thoughts as well as voluntary muscle movements. This is governed by the neurotransmitters which convey messages between the synapses. Alcohol obstructs the normal flow of these electric messages between the synapses, and hence you lose your equilibrium and stability.

When you are under the influence of alcohol you shed all inhibitions. This is the chief reason why pent up emotions flow out effortlessly, making us highly emotional. You also tend to lose control over your speech and become more conversational and chatty. Judgment of space and time and sense of direction go haywire too. Our memory also gets hampered, and we become forgetful. The limbic system – (6 structures situated under the cerebrum), is the emotional center of our brain. Once alcohol affects the limbic system, you are most likely totally drunk.

The limbic system, which typically keeps our emotions in control, now triggers mood swings and exaggerated states. This manifests as misunderstandings or amplifying of feelings or saying something really awkward.

Drinking also affects our memory retaining and recall capacity, and you end up not remembering incidences that happened when you were drunk. The limbic system is also in charge of your memories, thus, in case you go off the deep end, you might not recollect anything that you said or did the following day. Drunken feelings and sentiments are usually a larger than life version of our sober, temperate personality.