Alcohol Selectively Reduces Anxiety Not Fear

You may be surprised to hear the fact that alcohol consumption does not lessen the emotion of fear, but it does indeed reduce anxiety amongst its consumers. Alcohol has been known to calm ones nerves in a variety of situations, it loosens people up a little and of course when it’s heavily consumed, loosens people up a lot! It is known by most that when people are heavily intoxicated, they tend to take risks they wouldn’t normally take but also seem somewhat fearless. Recently some psychologists from the University of Wisconsin have been conducting some studies and have made the discovery that alcohol does in fact reduce anxiety but not fear itself. This particular study involved a number of young adults who were given a mixture of juice and 100-proof vodka. The subjects then faced a series of both predictable and unpredictable shocks. Overall their anxiety over the unexpected to come lessened but when they were fully aware of the fact pain would be coming, fear was still expressed. With that being said, it is now a known fact that pain and anxiety are distinct neurological emotions. This may be the reasoning behind someone taking a drink when they are unaware of what’s to come rather than that in an emergency situation. Another recent study that had been conducted at the University of Chicago, co-author Emma Childs, has stated that stress and fear feed off of one another; meaning that being intoxicated may actually hinder the way one responds to stress therefore prolonging recovery from a stressful situation. Clearly, alcohol inhibits people’s reactions and should not be the “go to” stress reliever.