By: Alyssa Harbina
Plenty of people believe that what kind of alcohol they drink will dictate how their night is going to go. Tequila is going to result in a wild blur of a night, but if they start drinking gin, they’ll be on the floor in tears before long. This is a long standing belief by most people who’ve ever had alcohol at one point or another during their lives. But how true is this? Do tequila, gin, vodka, etc all produce different effects on drinkers and therefore create different kinds of drunk?
Alcohol and You
The first thing to understand when it comes to alcohol is that in the end, alcohol is alcohol. No matter what form it may take, the underlying ingredient among the various types of liquor is the same: ethyl (or ethanol). That means that you’re not experiencing the effects of a different drug in each type of alcohol that you try.
The main difference among different types of alcohol isn’t the active ingredient, but rather the concentration of ethyl in the drink. For example, different types of alcohol have either a higher or lower percent of alcohol per volume. This refers to the amount of ethanol one can expect to encounter in the alcohol.
Liquor (tequila, vodka, etc) typically has a higher concentration of alcohol than its wine or beer counterparts. Because of this, when you drink liquor instead of wine or beer, you’ll be exposed to a larger amount of ethanol at one time. Basically, you’ll either get more or less drunk with the same volume of drinks depending on the type of alcohol you reach for.
Since the standard drink is a drink that contains 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of alcohol, drinking two glasses of wine is far different than having two straight shots of tequila. A glass of wine breaks down to about 12 percent alcohol whereas your shot of tequila is about 40 percent alcohol. With such a large discrepancy, it’s easy to see why someone would get drunk much quicker drinking straight hard liquor instead of a regular glass of wine.
But is There a Difference?
Sure, there is a massive difference between the alcohol content of a glass of wine versus a shot of tequila. But how about the effects on you? Does the type of alcohol actually dictate what type of drunk you will be experiencing?
The answer is no. The type of alcohol does not actually impact the type of drunk you will experience. You should have the same effects from 80-proof tequila as 80-proof vodka. The type of alcohol has no bearing on how you will be feeling during your state of drunkenness.
But then how or why do people around the world all seem to be of the same opinion that certain types of liquor or alcohol makes them happy, sad, angry, or even violent? While the type of alcohol may not be responsible for your emotions, it’s important to remember that the alcohol concentration is important. An 80-proof shot of tequila will get you drunker, faster, than sipping on a glass of wine due to more percent alcohol per volume, which is what directly impacts your BAC (blood-alcohol concentration).The type of alcohol is not really the problem, it’s the effects of being in the state of drunkenness.
The Truth Behind Being Drunk
Being in an altered state of mind is the result of consuming too much alcohol. During this altered state, one of the side effects of being drunk is experiencing mood swings. These mood swings can be mild or severe. The higher your BAC, the more severe side effects one will encounter from being drunk, that includes mood swings, a decrease in inhibitions (making us take risks like driving drunk), and how we process our emotions.
These severe mood swings can be attributed to what level your BAC is at. By drinking hard liquor, you’ll raise your BAC higher, faster, than if you were sipping wine or beer. This could be the beginning source of the belief that the type of alcohol determines the type of drunk you’ll experience.
Another contributing factor is mind over matter. Experts say that the different kinds of drunk that people believe they encounter based on the type of alcohol they consume is a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” That’s right, you basically think yourself into the type of mood or night you believe you’ll be having. For example, if you believe that whiskey will make you violent, during your drunk state, you’ll inadvertently begin to act violently because you believe you will. The mind is a powerful thing, and when it comes to different kinds of drunk, it’s all in your head.
The severe mood swings combined with the decrease in inhibitions have a direct impact on how we conduct ourselves when under the influence of alcohol. Someone who might normally be a little loud with somewhat of a temper becomes a loud-mouth party animal with a mean streak when they’re drunk. Alcohol exacerbates personality traits we already possess.
Situations preceding a night of drinking also comes into play. If your emotional state was already compromised prior to heading out to the bar or club, chances are you’ll experience some intense emotional influxes when you begin drinking. People will merely attribute whatever kind of night they had to the type of alcohol they consumed rather than realizing it was a reflection of how they were feeling before even leaving the house coupled with their preconceived notions of whatever alcohol they’re drinking.
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